"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Our sight is precious.....




Four years ago this week, June 6 2006 to be exact, the AMAZING doctor that I see at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary saved my sight! Dr. Pineda (a renowned cornea specialist) and his team removed my problem cornea and replaced it with a healthy cornea from an unselfish angel of a person who made the choice to donate their organs and tissues in the event of their passing.

I have had terrible eyesight pretty much my entire life. I started wearing glasses in the second grade and by 8th grade I started wearing contacts, because at the time I hated glasses. Still, each year that passed my vision worsened. My eyeglass and contact prescriptions got stronger and stronger. Plus I suffered from astigmatisms in both eyes. I have dealt with dry eye and any number of other eye annoyances. Then, in my late 20's sometime, during a routine eye exam with an optometrist to get an updated prescription she noticed something did not look right with my corneas and she suggested I see an opthamalogist, preferably one that specialized in cornea issues. Without hesitation I researched doctors at Mass. Eye and Ear. It was a no-brainer. Being fortunate enough to live close to Boston means I have access to some of the best hospitals in the world. And I planned to take full advantage of that.

Dr. Pineda diagnosed me with a condition called keratoconus. I have it in both eyes but it was progressing rapidly in my right eye. After several years of treatment, different lenses, adjusting prescriptions, etc., my right cornea had deteriorated to a point where a transplant was necessary. So, on June 6 2006, I was wheeled in to an operating room at MEEI, heavily sedated but awake, and had my old crappy cornea sliced off my eye and a new healthy cornea stitched on. Yes, I said stitched. And four years later I still have several sutures in my eye. I can have these indefinitely. (are you squirming just thinking about it?! most people do...) Eventually I will probably have to get my left eye done. Right now, thank God, it is not progressing near as fast as my right eye did.

Now, I know I am a total drama queen and it is not that I was going to outright go blind or anything. But I do truly feel that Dr. Pineda saved my sight. Unless you suffer from vision problems, you can't know the frustration of having everything look fuzzy and distorted even when wearing glasses! You also can't understand how uncomfortable the slightest bit of glare can make you. That is why if I am outdoors I pretty much always have prescription sunglasses on, even if it is the most cloudy of days. It is not because I think I am cool (well...I do think that, but....) ;-) Nope. It is out of neccessity.


So how is my vision now? Better. It will never be great, and I was well aware of that going in to the surgery. I can never wear contact lenses again. My eyes are just far too sensitive. I don't mind, though. I prefer glasses now. Much less hassle than contacts. And there are some fun, funky frames out there. I change them often because my prescription changes. I consider them a fun wardrobe accessory!

my latest pair...

On a serious note, I truly hope that everyone out there is an organ and tissue donor. It is so very important. My procedure was so minor compated to what some people need. Think of people that need a heart or lung to live. I can't even imagine. The person who's cornea I received (that I know a little bit about) made the ultimate unselfish choice in becoming a donor. It is a choice that none of us should hesitate to make.

13 comments:

Christa said...

I am a organ donor...and I think its great that you were able to get what you needed to help you keep your sight! :)

Carol said...

You are gorgeous! Just thought I'd tell ya! ;)

MEEI said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story - we liked it so much that we posted a link to it on our facebook wall. www.Facebook.com/MassEyeAndEarNews. I work in the public affairs office of Mass. Eye and Ear. I'd love to speak to you. Please contact me: Mary_Leach@meei.harvard.edu

Terri Steffes said...

Kristen!! You heard from MEEI! I know that organ donors given the most precious gift they have.. themselves. I signed my driver's license just now. Love you.

Hey, your hair looks GREAT!

blueviolet said...

You bet I am an organ and tissue donor. I support that big time!!!!

Leann said...

I'm right there with you. I was hit in the eye with a baseball when I was 4yrs old. They couldn't get it to stop hemorrhaging and were actually going to remove it. I new surgeon came on the scene and saved my eye. I have a traumatic cataract on it, but can still see!

Leann

Ashley said...

Thanks for reinforcing my decision to be an organ donor. I don't think much about what that means, so it is awesome to hear a personal story like this.

And yes, I did squirm a little. :)But what an amazing thing they can actually do that procedure!

Priscilla said...

Hi Kirsten, I am so happy to hear the doctors could help you with your eyes and sight..And you do look great in the sunglasses!

Priscilla x

Ms Bibi said...

Lookin' good in those cool glasses.

My sister is optometrist technician so I get awesome deals on glasses. There are some really cool and sophisticated frames out there these days.

carma said...

I am so glad you shared your story. You mentioned your eyes in passing before and I was curious the details.

That wonderful doctor essentially gave you your life back. So much of what you do is visual - with the photography and scrapbooking it would have been crushing if there was nothing they could do to help you. Glad it all worked out.

And you are quite the fashionista with those new frames!!

Midday Escapades said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story and for the reminder. Your glasses look great and so do you. It's funny that I read this today because my cousin the eye doctor was telling us the same thing today.

sheila said...

What a great post! (although yes I did squirm about the stitches! Stitches reallY? IN the eyeball? *shudder*)

Great testament to organ donation. Beautiful. Glad you are better!

Cheryl said...

What a story, Kristen! Thanks for sharing. And yes, I totally squirmed with the whole stitches-in-your-eye thing. Can you feel them? *shiver* Organ donation is so important. I'm glad that it gave you the gift of sight.