A Prayer for My Eye

Mar 25

Last week, Jay and I sat in the exam room of the world famous Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA where I have been going for nearly 5 years now.  Before I saw my actual corneal specialist, my vision was tested and to our surprise, my right eye’s vision was a little better than the last time I had been there.  We were on the verge of posting this celebratory collage on Instagram

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However, the doctor came in and began the real examination.  His assessment was not great–basically, my right eye is more dried out and the cornea is more vulnerable and clouded than my last visit.  His conclusion is that more drastic steps should be taken to protect my eye, including a procedure which would make my eye opening smaller by partially sewing my right eyelid closed (called a tarsorraphy–I DON’T recommend googling that one).

* For any of you who don’t “see” the connection b/t my stroke and my eye (pun intended), here goes…

– Due to the facial paralysis resulting from my stroke, my right eyelid doesn’t fully close (despite a surgery which inserted a gold weight in my upper eyelid–posting here) and my right eye is compromised as it cannot stay lubricated on its own. 

- To complicate things, I have no feeling on the right side of my face, including that eye, so I don’t have the natural pain network to tell me that my eye is in dire need of moisture. 

- Oh and since I have double vision and no fine motor coordination in my right hand, putting in my own eye drops throughout the day is nearly impossible for me to do safely, so it falls on Jay.

For some reason, the doctor’s words were particularly painful to hear.  It certainly is not the worse thing I’ve been through in recent years, but it hit my heart in such a way that I was suddenly on the verge of tears as soon as the doctor left the room.  Something else, God?  Will it ever end?  The other day at James’ school a little boy with great concern in his voice asked me why my head was screwed on backwards.  Will insult be added to injury with a permanently half-sewn eye added to my already half-paralyzed face?

As any good husband would do (and should do), Jay offered some thoughts of encouragement and a long hug, but he didn’t try to fix it.  He let the moment, with its disappointment and pain, just sit because sometimes words fail.  Even small griefs need to be fully felt first, rather than brushed under the rug, in order to then confidently move through them to breath in the true experience of hope.

Jay tenderly wheeled me out and loaded me in the car and promptly drove me to Sprinkles Cupcakes.  (Thanks for the bday gift card Alex!)  Actually, it was Sprinkles’ newest iteration, Sprinkles Ice Cream.  It involves ice cream and cupcake tops.  And yes, it’s as good as you can image the combination of those two things to be.

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Sugar helps me to breathe in hope, I suppose.  Apparently lots of my friends know this about me as they offered some sweet treats over the past week.

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{the last shot of the multitude of little cupcakes was actually to celebrate a couple moving to NYC from our small group, but they may as well have been for me considering how many I ate!}

To be clear, I don’t advocate drowning your sorrows to silence pain that only God can heal.  I don’t recommend consuming anything to try and fill empty places in your soul that only the Spirit of God can fill.  It is all too tempting to engage any such counterfeit gods in our lives especially since engaging the true God requires us to feel and to struggle and to trust rather than depending on ourselves.  Nonetheless, I think when our hearts are fully dedicated to and dependent on the Creator, it frees us up to enjoy His creation in the right ways, which certainly includes a Sprinkles cupcake ice cream sandwich!

PLEASE PRAY ~ I have a follow up appointment with the occular plastic surgeon on April 8th.  Please pray that some different options would be made apparent to this doctor, options that would be good for the health and future of my eye without having to be as drastic as the current recommendation. 

Also, I have an infection in my eye, which may also be the source of some of the excess dryness.  Though I can’t feel it, my eye does not seem to be liking the antibiotic drops as it has turned an angry shade of red and my vision is getting a bit cloudy.  So we’re back to the eye doctor tomorrow to see what is going on.  Please pray they can figure out the best next course of action.  

Thanks dear friends!

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