I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Heart full to bursting

Some of us walking ladies having coffee and bagels
After yesterday's morning walk, about half of us went to the Bagelry afterwards, and a nice lady at the next table took this picture of us. (She is the thumb in the upper right.) We were so lucky to have a very nice walk, one that Cindy chose so that I might be able to join them, no hills and fairly short, three days post-surgery. And it didn't rain on us, it waited until we got inside and then began to pour.

Four days! How can it be that I hardly remember how poorly I saw out of my left eye? It is the eye that has already lost some vision from the AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and I worried that it would be worse afterwards. No, it's not! In fact, when I put on my glass (the lens was popped out on the left side, hence the singular term) I can see so incredibly well that it's like a miracle. The right compensates for the missing vision and it becomes invisible. Not to mention that everything is bright and new, with colors I haven't seen in years!

I did have some dysphotopsia, which was pretty startling on the first day after the patch was removed. It was like there was something flashing out of my left peripheral vision, and when I would try to read, I could see what seemed like a bouncing flash as my eye would move across the page. It's almost completely gone already, and I suspect that what remains will be filtered out by my brain. That link tells you that almost 20% of patients experience some dysphotopsia after cataract surgery, which was virtually unknown ten years ago when intra-ocular lenses (IOLs) were made of a different material. The acrylic lens used today is the culprit; it is popular because it can be folded and the site for insertion of the lens is much smaller. It is the only problem I've had so far, except for the constant requirement to put eyedrops in the eye to help with the healing process. On Wednesday I hope to get the All Clear from the surgeon to return to my normal activities. The first few days are critical, and those have already passed, which is why I decided to go on the walk yesterday. I knew I would take it easy and was already told that walking is acceptable, so it was simply wonderful to join my friends.

And of course, they knew all about my birthday and surgery, and while we were out walking (I was behind, not wanting to keep up the brisk pace we usually take), they all stopped to wait for me and Lily. Once we reached them, they lined up on both sides of the sidewalk and made an arch with their arms for me to pass under, while they sang happy birthday. Lily ran around to the front so she could join them. I was so touched that I burst into tears, I couldn't help it. I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful friends. And, as you can see in the picture above, most of us went out for coffee and bagels afterwards.

On my actual birthday, my friend Hedi, who lives in the apartment complex, had a small gathering for me to celebrate the big day, my Diamond Jubilee birthday. Lily gave me a beautiful purple vest and a strawberry cake, and Hedi provided snacks (healthy of course) and a long-stemmed red rose in a beautiful vase. There were only five of us, but it was simply a perfect celebration, and I left to walk home feeling like a million dollars, with the gift of fabulous friends and a new eye.

The second surgery will take place on December 19, and it will be a week later on the 27th when I will hopefully get the All Clear for the second eye as well, and I can begin the new year with vision like I haven't had in decades. You don't realize how much colors are muted and how difficult it becomes to see in low light when you have cataracts. I can't help but stop every now and then to admire the view around me, because it's all bright and clear, and that's just with one eye! I opted to have close vision instead of far, so I will need to wear glasses for distance, but what's incredible is how clearly I can see across the room and even across the street. Even though I only have one corrective lens in my glasses, driving is easier and more clear. I am incredibly grateful for the gift of sight. And this is when I thought it would just get worse and worse because of the AMD. Not so, and as I said in the title, my heart is full to bursting!

The other good thing happening right now is that I am successfully losing those pesky five pounds that had made their way around my middle. Other than on my actual birthday, when I had two scoops of ice cream and lots of cake, I've been gradually losing weight rather than gaining, even during the holidays. I did go way over my diet on Friday, and it showed up on the scales yesterday, but there was no way I was going to follow a strict regimen on my Diamond Jubilee! I do have to say, though, I feel better when I eat more healthily, but there's a time and place to loosen up, don't you think?

My friend John picked me up from my apartment on Friday and drove me to Mallard's Ice Cream Shoppe, and even though it was raining and gloomy, I felt bright and joyful as I snarfed down two enormous scoops of the best ice cream in the world. He had some cranberry ice cream, while I had coffee and coconut almond crunch. Mallard's makes many seasonal flavors like cranberry during the winter; John said he would be back in the spring for rhubarb ice cream, his favorite. Then yesterday, my friend Judy treated me to dinner and a movie. The birthday that keeps on giving. (smile)

And now it's time for me to put the laptop away and start my day. Partner is still sleeping, as usual. It looks like we might have a bit of a break from the rain this coming week, and I'll be glad to join my hiking group again on Thursday and head back to the gym for my usual workout. I'll be waiting awhile longer to start yoga again, because inverted postures are a bad idea after recent cataract surgery. But return I will. I hope that all of you, my dear virtual friends, have a wonderful week until we meet again.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward


Marie Smith said...

Such good news about your eye, Jan. My MIL found the same after her surgery and she has AMD as well.

I hope the week goes quickly for you so you can get back on the trail. However, now is a good time to just sit back and enjoy the sights which have been muted for years.

Have a great week.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so thankful for your renewed sight! It sounds like it has given you a wonderful boost in attitude too! It is like a whole new bright world out there! :)

Linda Reeder said...

What a great week you have had! Thanks for sharing all of your good news!

KHenrie said...

Belated Happy Birthday. I’m so glad to hear about your cataract surgery success. Good news is always good news - happy for you.

Tabor said...

What a big turn your life has made. Wonderful. I read such joy in seeing those colors, and I have heard others say the same thing after such surgery!

Rian said...

Belated Happy Birthday from me also, DJan! And I'm so happy your cataract surgery had such good results. I too saw something in my peripheral vision right after surgery... thought it was the edge of the lens I was seeing, but whatever it was, it went away in a short time (whether my brain adjusted or my eye did).

Celia said...

Happy Birthday and so excited for your new vision. The beauty of your hikes will be so amazing.

Red said...

Thanks for giving the details of the effects of cataract surgery. As a birder, I miss color. As a driver, I miss a good look at the road.

Barbara said...

I've mentally booked myself to start the eye surgery after the first of the year. I can really tell the difference in my sight and I don't want to wait any longer. Glad to hear yours has gone smoothly.

The Furry Gnome said...

You are so lucky to be recovering so fast and so well! Bodes well for the future.

peppylady (Dora) said...

Look like all is having joyful time...Coffee is on

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

You're going good girl!

Arkansas Patti said...

What a delightful post as we got to share your blessed week. Now that is how to celebrate a birthday, none of that one day nonsense:)) I am so thrilled that you are having such a wonderful time seeing again. Can't wait to hear how the second one goes. I'm sensing over the moon here.

Hilary said...

Ah, I knew it would be a grand success!!!! I am so glad to hear you say so! My first one was as well, and my second surgery is the 12th......and yes, the colors!!!
They told me that the eye shrinks around that new smaller lens, in about a week, and then the flashing light business will stop.
It's all worth it.
Here's to a new year!!!!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Good news!!

Rita said...

I am just grinning from ear to ear!!
So happy for you I am just wiggly giggly! :)

C-ingspots said...

Oh, I'm so happy that your surgery was a success!!! The gift of sight is definitely not overrated. And what a wonderful celebration of your birthday. What could be better than to be surrounded by people who love and appreciate you? That was the perfect gift. But hey, ice cream and cake isn't so bad either...your flavor of choice sounds absolutely divine! Happy Birthday DJan!!! May you have a beautiful week. :)

p.s. Despite the occasional bout of overeating which I just can't seem to avoid, especially at this time of year; I too, have lost 15 pounds since last summer. I still would dearly love to lose about 30 more pounds, but slowly and surely it's coming off. I notice a big difference in how I feel, and my overall strength.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I knew you would have a good result from your surgery and you did. Happy Birthday and so glad you have such good friends to celebrate you.
I know having eye surgery is scary. My sister is still recuperating from her recent go under the knife, but she sees her surgeon on Thursday and I pray that she will get good news.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I knew you would have a good result from your surgery and you did. Happy Birthday and so glad you have such good friends to celebrate you.
I know having eye surgery is scary. My sister is still recuperating from her recent go under the knife, but she sees her surgeon on Thursday and I pray that she will get good news.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I am so happy for you. Relieved and happy and almost giddy with delight that your eyesight is better and that you are seeing the world anew in all its bright glory. How wonderful. It is perhaps a Christmas miracle. And the gratitude you are feeling as your heart opens to all that is right in your world just opens my heart also to look and see because as the Little Prince says, "What is important is invisible to the eye." So your eyes see and so does your heart. Peace, pressed down and overflowing in this season of hope.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Sorry I’m late leaving a comment on this post. Have been busy getting ready for the holidays and it was about all I could do in the blogosphere to get a post out last weekend to support Maria’s Postcards for the Weekend. Someday I hope to have a cup of coffee with you and talk about blogging. I feel an obligation to support some of these memes, like Maria’s, and SkyWatch Friday, because I end up finding interesting new blogs when someone leaves a comment on mine. You are such a wonderful commenter that I wonder if you feel the same obligation. Now, back to THIS post … I am so delighted to hear that your eye surgery has turned out so well. It is just wonderful to hear about your experience and your gratitude. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers for the second eye! Thanks, as always, for sharing your blog and for your kind comments on mine. John