Cornea Transplant a Big Success

December 2009

Anet’s Cornea operation a success
Dear Friends,
Well, one down and one to go.  Those were the words of Dr. Aldave on Friday, last, as he checked his work.  He was showing a visiting Dr. from India the transplant.  “Hum, it looks excellent” said the Indian Dr.  “It doesn’t get any better than that”.  And so the first transplant is a success. 
Charley and I drove down to LA on Wed night to ready for a call telling us when the surgery would commence.  It was to be at 10 AM on Thursday morning.  We drove to UCLA through the morning traffic and arrived to prepare for the operation.
It was exciting, scary, and unknowable as to how this would turn out, how we would feel and what we would experience.  I asked Charley for regular Prayer Treatments throughout the day on Wednesday.  For a week I had felt as though I were fighting off a cold or virus.  I did everything I could think of.  I did Reiki every hour or so, washed my hands if I came near anything, gargled several times a day and bought a nasal/sinus cleansing device.  It worked!  I stayed healthy throughout the week before the big day.

The surgery itself is quite remarkable to a layman, although the surgery team was very confident that everything would go smoothly with a high chance of total success.  You are “awake” during the surgery although they give you a sedative to relax you.  My eye was open and I could talk to tell Dr. Aldave if I felt pain and they would add medication.
I “watched” through the eye he worked on as he talked to the Fellows (Drs that are studying under him at UCLA) watched and commented.  I “saw” him remove my lens and put in a new one, I “saw” him remove the back of my cornea.  I remember him saying now give me the donor tissue and put her under again.
Then I woke up and was on the way to Recovery.  About two hours later, he appears with yet more young Drs and examines the attachment of the new tissue to my cornea.  Full attachment, said he, and he tells me we might expect even a quicker clearing of the cornea than he had spoken of originally.
we returned on Friday, as I said, and got the good news every thing looked great.  We returned home on Friday and slept in our bed.
Charley, as you know, is a tremendous support and loving husband and caregiver.  He watches me and tries to keep my hand away from my face.  I am sneaky though and have many excuses.
Can I see?  Well, yes, I can.  When my left eye (the new one) is clear, I can see about the same amount as I can with my right eye without glasses.  That means I can count fingers at about a few feet but cannot read or make out faces of people across the room.  It will take up to 6 months to get the hoped for 20-30 vision we expect.  In about 4 weeks, I should see as well with the new left as I see currently with the right with glasses on it.  So, it is simply a matter of waiting (and seeing).
My next surgery is on Dec. 17th.  what a Christmas present.
All of this lying around will be good to put the finishing touches on the healing of my Achilles.  there is no question about the fact that it is healing!!!  So, come New Years, watch out Baby I am going to storm the streets of Atascadero with new eyes, a strong Achilles and much gratitude.
Charley and I did those throughout the day of surgery.  Gratitudes.  For every person who helped us in so many ways.  The entire staff at all levels at UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute
were just wonderful.  We kept being amazed at the fortune we had to be there with this marvelous Dr. Aldave, under such excellent care from all.
but I am most grateful to a 52 year old man who most likely lost his life in an automobile accident five days before my surgery.  He had planned that someone, like me, would receive his gift of sight.  It is humbling.  thank you thank you thank you.
“Vale mas fracasar por intentar un triunfo, que dejar de triunfar por temor a un fracaso”
Arturo Saenz Guerra

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