Monday, January 9, 2012

Points of Light

I just want it on the record that the test said I was NORMAL.
In print.  NORMAL.
Mind you, they were talking about my heartbeat from the pre-op EKG...
Still.  Normal.

Still sneaking in a little JOY
in spite of the chaos all around me.
 Pastor Ron departed for his 3-month sabbatical over in London this week. 
We blessed him and sent him on his way during the services on January 1.

 Catching some time in the sun before crossing the pond.

Service of Remembrance was especially hard this year - so many deaths and people to honor this year:  Blake, Buddy, Allison, Aunt Pat, Liam, Madigan, Roseann, DJ, Norman, Tom.
Good morning, God!

 Even the Castle Rock star wanted to see what it was like 
to live with one eye this week.  The lights split right in half! 

 Sarah took these pics over at Bethany the other evening - WOW!

 My new favorite photo of our church!

 How could one properly celebrate Epiphany with the
Pastor's wife without eating Epiphany star brownies!?   
A light-filled, joyful evening with Sue Ann and Sarah.  And brownies.

My first 1,000 piece puzzle.  That's about 900 pieces too many....
We made incredible progress in one night.
It actually LOOKS like the USA!

Do you see what I see?

Looking for loose coins and found some Faith, Hope and Love in my car.
Works for me.

See the large circle on the roof below?
That would be the plant I chucked over my deck.
I'm rather amused it stares up at me.

What can I say?  Even the Bison from South Dakota 
wanted to see the Baby Jesus in the manger!
I was setting up a separate blog, and testing the comment feature.
Slow down?  That's foreign text to me!

January 8 - Baptism of Our Lord Sunday. Walk wet!

Wrapped in love from the Lutheran Ladies.
A prayer shawl from a parent at school - how sweet is that?
(And it looks like a heart, so double plus.)

 Easy, indeed!  People are coming with meals for the next two weeks!  WOW!

I think my kiddo's shirt says it best. 

 Dot received this angel from a nurse before HER surgery,
and passed along the little singing guardian for mine.

We'll call this photo Brenda's Face Before.  
I think I look pretty calm for facing a major change in my life tomorrow.  

Working on this...
 Peace out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Moment in Time

enucleate:  to surgically remove the eyeball 
intact from its surrounding capsule

Well, there you have it.  And at 11:30am on January 10, 2012, that's what's going to be happening here in Denver.  My doctor is going to remove my painful, already blind right eyeball from its surrounding capsule.  What we thought was a cyst last month turned out to be the little eye collapsing on itself (you can read more about what happened HERE). 

If you think THAT sounds strange, wait until you hear what actually happens during the surgery! Here are some screen shots from a cheesy (yet really short and informative) video you could watch HERE (It's an illustrated video...right up until the final exam at the end, so heads up if you're squeamish!)

There's the eye, still in the socket.
(My actual blind eye isn't this pretty or this big.)

 First, they detach all six eye muscles from the eye.

Normally, the optic nerve would be sliced next. 
I never had an optic nerve in my right eye, 
thus the reason I've been blind in that eye since birth.

Meaning, during my surgery, we can skip this creepy step.
I could have gone my entire life without seeing scissors that close to an eye.

The eye will then be removed.
(This just gets better and better, does it!? Ugh.)

Technically, I've realized that this will be the 
one moment in time  
where I truly will have just one eye.  

Time for the new implant:  it is made out of a 
coral-like material, much like a porous ping-pong ball.  

Here's a close-up.  Crazy, right?   
I'm absolutely transfixed by its surface and texture!  
My own personal moon.

Oh, but wait!  The
You Have Got To Be Kidding Me
part is still coming!

(skip the next part if you don't like graphic details)

 Once the white, coral implant is in place, they will cut a small incision on the top of my head (apparently, I have a "great scalp" just right for this kind of surgery), lift up my hair, and grab a really thin slice of tissue from under my scalp.  It will become the cover on top of the orbital implant - the surface of my new eye.  Because it is already a part of my head, it has the highest chance of not being rejected.  

Then, the eye muscles will be re-attached to the implant.  Eventually, the blood vessels will weave themselves through this implant, accepting this foreign object as a part of my body. 

Um....yeah.    WILD!
Freaky and fascinating, all at the same time.

No, the skin won't have hair.  Yes, it will be paper thin.
No, I have no idea what the cut/scar will look like.
(and quite frankly, I don't really care, as long as it just does its job)

The sutures will need to heal and the swelling in my eye socket will need to decrease before I am fitted with a new glass eye.  Basically, all the bumps need to smooth out.  This is a one-time deal (the implant is supposed to last me a lifetime), so I want to ensure it has enough time to properly heal.  I'm excited to FEEL what the centering and re-attachment of the muscles will be like - my blind little eye has been working so hard for 32 years!

Everything needs time to adjust to their new places inside my eye.  SIX weeks of adjustment time, actually.   A conformer will be put in place to keep the shape of the socket and eyelids.  It's un-detailed and transparent in color, so I'll be sporting an eye patch for the entire 6 week period.  Let the pirate jokes commence. 
The Not So Good News:  the beautiful glass eye I currently wear will become completely obsolete the moment this surgery begins.  Ugh.  This part just makes me terribly sad - it's not even 2 years old and I just love it.  It's a part of me.  (See how it was made HERE.)  But, it will no longer fit the space inside my eye, and it can't be trimmed to fit the socket.  Very sad.  :(  It's a double loss for me:  the loss of an eye that, even though it didn't work as it was supposed to, was still a part of my body and then the loss of the one-of-a-kind shell that matched.  Ugh.

The Good News:  the glass-eye making process has miraculously been trimmed down to a less than a 24 hour period!  This means that on Monday, February 20, 2012, I'll walk into my ocularist with an eye patch, and walk out that evening with my new glass eye in place!  Good news indeed!  You'll hear me singing from the hills that night!

SO!  With the surgery a week away, it's looking
like 2012 is already shaping up to be a remarkable year!  

Everyone keeps asking me what I need.  
It's very kind...but I don't really have an answer.
I need my kids right now, that's for sure.
I need to be singing around a piano with children who will distract and focus me for the next week with their joy and their delight for life. I know being with the children will help me heal exponentially faster, too.  I hope to be back within a week of the surgery - yes, yes, I'll take it one day at a time.  I need the kids to know things like this happen in life, though, and you don't need to hibernate and that's there more to life than being focused on your appearance.  Day by day.  

I need to remember to be full of grace.
People are trying to say the right things (and sometimes missing the mark terribly) and people are trying to do the right thing (and some are only making things worse).  I need to remember that this is a rather unique situation for everyone and no one really knows what to say or do, myself included.  I need to remember people's intent is to comfort and be thankful they are reaching out at all.

I am surrounded by an incredible support team of friends and family.
Lovingly overwhelmed, really.
Rumor has it there are meals being planned by school folks.
My sub plans are almost done for the children I'll dearly miss.

So basically...I be patient.

And let the doctors do their job.
And remember to be calm and pray.
And ask for help when I need it.

And be amazed and grateful that there are people gifted with
the abilities to both remove and replace an eye.  Thanks be to God! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pants and Piers and Friends Bringing Cheer

Needed a little quiet time at the end of a long pier.


I could stay out here all day.


WOOHOO!  Briana, Megan (and baby boy to be born in Spring),
Stuart, and the girls, Hannah and Elizabeth!   
A fantastic catch-up on everything lunch!

She was so overheated that her pants all but 
disappeared by the time we left!  Hysterical!

Adventures in Kohler, WI.
Just for you, Nicola! 

Nic's childhood home.
(Here's hoping the current residents weren't watching.)

He looked like such a sad snowman.  
I just had to go say hello.  :)

Lunch - Mongolian Grill Style!

The PASSION and ENERGY I felt during my visit? 
I mean, it was a delicious meal and all, but passion and energy?
Should have gone back for seconds.

Um...yeah.  That would be my monkey
I mean, my brother, hanging from the pipes 
in the parking garage at the museum.  
Strong little monkey!

Do you see the rat?
Yeah, neither did we.  Even with some assistance from the museum guides.
Scary little dioramas they've got in Milwaukee...

Cleopatra was looking at me.  
I need to try that eye makeup.

My 5th graders will be THRILLED to see these Thai instruments!

Just too cool to pass up - the African exhibit.

My name is Bond.
Statue Bond.

Isn't all hope good?  

Well, there you have it.


HOW did she sneak this into my luggage!?

Hello again, Colorado mountains.

And.....we're back.  Ciao, 2011!