Sometimes living life in a big family does feel like a three-ring circus, but that's my life, and, all-in-all, I LOVE IT!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Laser Dacryocystorhinostomy? No Thank You!

(Warning! Gross photo inserted into this post!)

First let me tell you that I know I'm being a big baby, but that's who I am.  I am also a freak when it comes to my eyes.  I can't even do eyedrops, I am such a baby.  During an eye examination I feel like jumping out of the chair and running right out of the office when they come with the drops, or when they examine my eyes with that awful machine!  I have to do my 'labor and childbirth breathing exercises' in order to stay calm (I do those exercises a LOT at other times too, whenever I am experiencing any kind of pain, or when I am trying to steady my nerves, I use what I learned in Lamaze and it has come in very handy over the years).

Okay, so I went to the eye doctor a few months ago to get a prescription for progressive lenses (to be able to see things far away and also to be able to read without having to change glasses all the time). I just wanted to be able to get up in the morning, put on one pair of glasses and not have to take them off until bedtime.

Armed with my Lamaze I was able to withstand the eye drops the technician put in and the awful machine.  Then she went through the eye test with me (easy, no Lamaze techniques required), and she created a prescription, she had me try it (I was amazed!  I could actually read words from far away!), and everything was fine, or so I thought.  Then she told me that normally they would dilate my eyes with drops but because she saw that I had very narrow tear duct openings she would wait until the doctor examined me (oh good, no more drops in the eye!).  The doctor came in and re-examined me with that awful machine and he agreed with everything she told me, and he added that I should never to let anyone put drops in my eyes to dilate them because there was a chance then that the tear ducts would be completely blocked and that would be big trouble for me, it could cause glaucoma and even blindness.  He also said that it could just be something I was born with, that due to the shape of my eye this was my normal situation, or it could be something that developed recently and he wanted to monitor it so I would have to come back in three months for him to better assess the situation.  He asked me if I had trouble with my eyes tearing all the time.  I don't.  If I go out into the air though, then they start tearing a little, so I wear sunglasses no matter the weather, even if it's raining I have sunglasses on.  He also asked me if I was sensitive to light and I said yes (another reason I am constantly wearing sunglasses), he asked how long my eyes had been sensitive to light and I said for as long as I could remember.  He said that gave him a clue that I was most likely born with these weird eyes (he didn't use the word weird but that was the gist of it).  He asked me if I was prone to infections.  I've never had an eye infection (knock wood!).  He then went on again to say that it's probably just the natural shape (or rather unnatural shape) of my eye, but he said if it turns out to be a degenerative condition that they could do a very simple laser surgery.

Last week I went back to see him again.  The technician put drops in my eyes and did that awful machine again (Lamaze again!),  but she assured me they wouldn't dilate the pupils, then she went over the same exam as last time, and the same questions again.  Then the doctor came in and asked me why I was there to see him.  I told him that he wanted me to make this appointment so he could check my tear ducts to see if they had gotten any worse.  He looked at the chart and said, "Oh, yes!"  He put more drops in my eyes to numb them (MORE Lamaze!), he looked at them, said a bunch of numbers to the technician and then he moved the machine closer and I felt a lot of pressure (as in it HURT) in the corner of my left eye (forget breath in one-two and breath out one-two, I was on to "quick breath, quick breath, quick breath, quick breath, blow and repeat"!).  After the exam he said I better have the laser surgery on the left eye to prevent it from completely closing.  I asked if it was worse than last time and he said no but it was worse than the right eye.  He told me the surgery would be done in his other office by his colleague, and that they had just acquired a new machine, and with this new machine there was much less bleeding.  (BLEEDING???!!)  I think the technician must have seen the horror on my face because she quickly said, "It's very safe, and it doesn't take more than an hour."  (AN HOUR???  What happened to "very simple laser surgery"?  I thought 'very simple laser surgery' meant a little 'zap-zap' and it's over.)  And the last thing I remember him saying was, "This is just preventive surgery."

So I very reluctantly agreed to the laser surgery.  I made the appointment for March 6 before leaving the office and then went home and googled all about it.  YUCK!  It is NOT a little zap-zap very simple laser surgery.  There is anesthesia involved, there is cutting, there is bleeding, it involves nasal passages, there is after-care, there is swelling of eye and nose, there is bruising.  Oh no.  This is not a good thing.  
Then I read studies about how this type of laser surgery may not be as good as traditional surgery.  I also read about the many problems some patients developed after the surgery (nasal problems, dizzy spells, bleeding, bruising, infections, etc.).  No, no, no, no, no.  I am not having any of this.  
I read that most patients who have been suffering with infections or constant tearing from blocked or partially blocked tear ducts are usually very happy after this surgery.  But patients that weren't suffering were very UNhappy once they had surgery to 'correct' the 'problem'.
I am having no problems that I feel need correcting.  Having to wear sunglasses all the time is no big deal to me.  It's definitely not worth taking the risk that things could be much, much worse.

And I have no intention of going through this:

No how!  No way!

I called the office to cancel.  I told the receptionist that I had many social functions coming up over the next few months and I definitely didn't want to show up looking like a prize-fighter.  I told her that I had originally thought this was a little nothing surgery and I just read that it's not.  Her response was that "It is nothing!  You won't feel a thing before, during, or after.  This is so you don't have to wear glasses, right?"  I told her that it was the tear duct surgery and she said, "Oh.  Okay."  She didn't argue or try to convince me otherwise.  Whew!  Oh, a wave of relief flushed over me!

So I'm putting this eye surgery on hold until I really, REALLY NEED to have it done! (God-Willing that will be NEVER)!
Laser Dacryocystorhinostomy?  No thank you!


  1. EILEEN - I am SO with you, 100% - I am a big baby too, so unless you really have to stay away form it. Oh my!
    Love to you

  2. Good for you Eileen. Good for you for checking things out and realizing this is not for you at this time. Perhaps this Dr believes you truly do need this surgery, but on the other hand, he could be just trying to up his paycheck. That's why it's so important to do our homework, like you have.

  3. Im so sorry to hear your having problems with your eyes. Do you think a second opinion might elevate the stress of worrying about it. I'm terrified about any problems with the eye too. Since I was a little girl. I can relate because when I go for my eye appointments I totally freak out until the appointment is over. I had to have bilateral cateracts surg at 47 years old. It's been problem after problem since then. I hope you have a good week. Hug those little grands for me. Please tell Jayden charli says ruff ruff

  4. I've been away TOO long!
    I think I've caught up...
    I cried with you over the family split.
    I agonize with you over your eye situation (sounds like you made a wise decision)...
    I would love to talk to you more about your response to Merton's book.
    I would love to talk to you PERIOD!