Posts Tagged ‘vitrectomy’

DSCN6784Have you noticed the snow drifting across my words?  It’s a Currier and Ives sort of feature that the happiness folks at WordPress provide; no shoveling needed.

We have, thus far, been spared any real accumulation snow here on the Cutoff and the sun is out today, smiling down upon us as we finish the last morsels of Thanksgiving (today it is turkey vegetable soup).  The last of fall is being swept under the carpets and the beginning of Christmas is starting to show.

I know some of you put up Christmas in one, fell swoop and your lights are already brightly shining. For some, it may take a while; perhaps just a sprig of green to honor the changing season. For my friends “down under”, summer has arrived, and for many I love, Hanukkah with its glowing candles will soon be here. Perhaps you do not celebrate the holidays or holy days of December, but, I think we can all embrace something in the change of the season, like a toasty fire in the hearth or a walk on the beach.

Here on the Cutoff, Christmas comes slowly, with candles aglow during our suppers of Advent and a theme of hope taking up residence. Trinkets and books have begun their appearance, coming out of boxes and drawers, while songs of good cheer are embracing our ears.  A Black Forest spruce magically appeared and is hugging the barn; a little something my Antler Man picked up this weekend and will bring in mid-month. He is being evasive about how tall it really is. The Christmas Room, thus christened by Kezzie two summers past, and magically festooned last November, will eventually host a chorus of angels and our woodland tree will alter the inner landscape of our lives, enveloping us in a sanctuary of hope.


We were filled with much hope last December, as Tom healed from eye surgery, which went well, but whose results were not as good as we had hoped for. Still-in-all, he has been able to resume work and all activities, and does so with strong determination and abiding faith. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of a vitrectomy, epiretinal peel, and all the steroidal shots he has endured can lead to a cataract forming, which is just the case with Tom. The cataract has developed quickly and its aggressiveness is causing increased macular edema. While cataract surgery has become a common procedure these days, it is a bit more complicated for those with Type I Diabetes. Such is the case with my Tom. So, dear friends, I find myself, once again, petitioning for your good thoughts and prayers as Tom undergoes cataract surgery in the wee hours of Wednesday and my Antler Man and I spend our time in that place we have often found sheltering: hope.




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A Giant Pirate

DSCN3887“He’s a giant pirate!” exclaimed the young boy to his mother as they exited the elevator we were entering. The pirate, in good spirits, growled good naturedly  “Aye, Matey” just as the door squeezed shut.

The human body is such a marvelous machine; its motor and gears and ability to reboot and restore a constant amazement to the mortals who wear them. While not perfect, often finicky, increasingly a pain in the whatever, I still like to celebrate its better nature, especially when a loved one is doing better.

You have all been so thoughtful and kind, asking and praying about Tom since his health issues of November and December, and I wanted to take a little time to thank you all and to let you know how he is doing.

Tom’s eye has healed well from the vitrectomy . Tons of medicated drops, with all manner of healing properties, and a well-worn path to the specialist’s office have taken him to the better side of restoration. His “Tom Selleck” looks and Irish wit are intact, and he has slowly (well, not as slowly as I would like, but, you know how that goes) resumed normal activities.

While the eye has healed from the surgery, what vision Tom will retain is still uncertain, and will remain so for many months. He will still need shots to stave off swelling and that well-worn path will continue to be driven, but, for now, we are grateful for good doctors, steady hands, sound judgement, advanced technology, prayers given – and answered.

My giant pirate is still captain of his ship, navigating unchartered waters – and a little boy is probably still talking about his chance encounter with a patched stranger on a wintry day.

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DSCN3728While icy cold still pervades here on the Cutoff, temperatures have climbed a bit above freezing and the sun has shown its face enough to encourage icicles to form. These frozen daggers have sculpted themselves above our entryway; that back door portal of our comings and goings in our daily life.

It was Tuesday morning, long before the sun approached the horizon, that Tom and I bundled up for the short ride to the hospital where Tom was scheduled for eye surgery, and left our warm home through this icy dome. I talked about how preparation for the surgery ended up with Tom needing an angiogram a month ago, which I wrote about here. After long, hectic weeks of doctors’ visits, stress tests, coordination of doctors and medicines and such, the day finally came for this delicate surgery. The surgery went as expected and several hours later Tom walked back through this portal, a patch on his eye, and into our home to recover.


He is doing remarkably well, dear reader, with his eye beginning to heal. I’ve posted a bit more about this on our companion blog, Brittle, which you can read about if you so chose here. Tom is resting comfortably, is able to be up for short periods of time, and has had relatively little pain. The initial healing process will take several weeks. It will be many months, however, before we will know how much vision he will have.

We remain hopeful, in this season of hope, and look at this time as an opportunity to enjoy the holiday decorations surrounding us, the bevy of Christmas programs on television, the songs of the season, the holiday books that abound, and the quiet comfort of home, just inside the portal of icicles.


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Photo from Blue Bloods website

Photo from Blue Bloods website

As the gurney was being rolled out of the cardiac cath prep area, there were enthusiastic encouragements of “good luck, Tom Selleck” and “hope you are out of here soon, Tom Selleck”. These pleasantries were coming from the nurses, technicians, and even, yes, even the anesthesiologist!  I turned around and smiled, then said “Hey you guys, cut it out. I have to live with him!” . . .

. . . and live with him I do, with all the gratitude one can have for the bullet we just dodged, the miracle of medicine, and a remarkable medical team.

Tom Selleck” in this case is my very own Tom. He was the patient on the gurney, being transferred to a regular room at a local hospital this past Wednesday, in good spirits and happy to be alive.

Tom has been dealing with a complicated and serious eye condition for the past several years. The condition is one that has resulted from being a Type I (Juvenile) diabetic for 45 years. We will talk more about this on our companion blog, Brittle, in time. For now, however, I will bring it all forward with how this condition led to Wednesday’s gurney ride.

A vitrectomy was scheduled for November 19th; a delicate operation on the eye. Tom’s retinal specialist required that he get clearance from his internist, who is also his endocrinologist, for the surgery. An appointment was made, blood work-up and EKG performed, an we made plans for the next month’s recuperation period. A blip in the EKG and Tom’s long-term diabetes necessitated a stress test. On Tuesday, the stress test showed abnormalities. He was immediately seen by a cardiologist, and an angiogram was scheduled for the next day.

Any procedure is risky, dear reader. It is more so with a Type I diabetic. Tom is on an insulin pump, which is the means by which insulin in controlled. The pump is attached by a small needle to his abdomen, with a long tube (like an IV connection) and a small device, the pump, attached to a belt or pocket.

Need I tell you how friendly a hospital gown is for anyone, let alone someone with any type of life device? They ended up taping the pump to the palm of his hand.

Then, there is the actual administration of insulin during any surgery or procedure.

Well, my Tom is much craftier that Jesse Stone, much swifter than Magnum, PI, and tougher than New York City police chief Frank Reagan. He set the nurses straight on what he needed done and how often he needed his sugar levels checked. Before long, the cardiologist came in, papers were signed, and off my dear husband went for a look-see into his arteries.

A little more than an hour later, my hospital issued pager went off, alerting me that the procedure was over. Tom was coming back to his room, and was doing great. He had several blockages necessitating the implantation of two stents .

What surprised us all the most that one artery was clogged by 82%, the other 99%!

Tom has always eaten well, is very active, maintains healthy weight, and has near perfect cholesterol, especially LDL. He showed no symptoms associated with these sort of blockages. No pain. It was a miracle that these arterial blockages were found in the way that they were – and a miracle that he had not suffered a heart attack.

We cannot begin to express how grateful we are that preparation for eye surgery brought Tom to a stress test – and a renewed lease on life. Nor can we express our gratitude for good doctors making timely calls. Tom has recovered fabulously, the route the cardiologist took was through a small prick in his wrist, making recovery easier. We’ll talk some more about neuropathy and how we have now learned that it can also impair the chest on Brittle in a day so.  Right now, Tom Selleck and I are going out for a short, brisk walk down the Cutoff.

I feel like saying amen; for this, dear reader, has become a bit of prayer in its writing.


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