"Seeing" things a little differently
One year ago today, March 1st 2011, I underwent surgery that drastically changed my life for the better. I entered the surgical care unit in Mobile, Alabama at 5:30am , checked myself in and took a seat in the waiting room. I was nervous and felt a knot in my chest as I contemplated the events that led me here.
To give you a little background, I was born fifty years ago with a birth defect called congenital coloboma. My right eye was bigger, the pupil was cloudy, there was very little vision and people could tell immediately that something was wrong with it. My left eye (the good one) had a touch of glaucoma and I was near-sighted. I experienced a lot of humiliation and low self-esteem while growing up. I struggled to come to terms with making the most of my life along the way. Even as an adult, everyday, I had to face the strange looks and sometimes comments from others who were curious. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in doctors offices and surgery at the age of nine. There were a few times when doctors would suggest I have my eye removed and I never even discussed it. I wanted to avoid any further surgery and or pain and humiliation.
I am an avid believer in everything happens for a reason. So, when my regular eye doctor suggested I go see a wonderful female surgeon to see what could be done, I decided that I would go, “just to see what she would say”. Two weeks later, I found myself sitting in that waiting room to have my eye “enucleated”. (a term used for eye removal). I trusted this surgeon….. she understood what I had been through, She wanted to help me.
So there I sat in the waiting room thinking to myself “It was my choice to do this”, I had researched everything I could find on the subject and even joined a fantastic website and forum called “Losteye” to discuss with others who had gone through similar surgeries. I was amazed to find so many others that were willing to encourage, support and offer information.
It wasn’t long before I found myself being wheeled into the surgery room. I felt very emotional about having my eye removed even though it had caused me so much turmoil during my lifetime. It was still a part of me. I was unsure of how I would look with a prosthesis (artificial eye) and being a single woman, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was making the right decision. Afterall, I had lived with my bad eye my entire life. “Would it drastically change the way I look” or “would it look worse than it does now”?
As the anesthesia started to take effect on my body I could feel myself drifting off into a deep sleep. My last thoughts were ” I sure hope they remove the right eye”. then…..darkness
I awoke in a dense fog, I was groggy and could hear nurses shuffling about. I opened my eye and knew then it was all over, I felt the bandage that covered half of my face and felt a sense of relief. Now all I had to do was recover. In a months time, I would have the most beautiful artificial acrylic custom eye that matches perfectly with the other. The pain was bearable and the healing was slow but eight weeks later, I was astounded at how wonderful I looked. I couldn’t get used to having two matching eyes!
People didn’t stare at me anymore and I fell in love with cosmetics. It took some time to believe in my mind that I didn’t look weird any longer. I don’t mind meeting strangers anymore and my confidence has blossomed a hundred fold. I look forward to each new day with bounce in my step and a sense of gratitude that cannot be matched. I definitely have a new lease on life as the old saying goes.
Now it has been a year since that fateful day and I feel as though my life has been “reborn”. I am 51 years old and its a whole new world for me. I am the fortunate one…..that little unfortunate shy girl in school that was made fun of, taunted and couldn’t see very well, is past history. It’s a new day, a new year and a new life!!!!! Happy one year anniversary to me!