Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Thirteen - 272 - 13 Things About My Eye Surgery Odyssey

1 - As many of you know, almost four years ago I embarked on the Great Acupuncture Adventure, wherein I started down the road to relief from a world of chronic pain and assorted immune system disorders. Last spring my body flipped into detoxification mode, which--as I've discovered as regards all things Chinese medicine--what seems horrible is good.

Sure, all of my joints, and I mean all of my joints--finger joints, ribs, joints I wasn't aware I even had, you name it--all of them flared up and put me into a new level of pain, but that meant that my body was finally getting rid of long-stored toxic material from many decades of allergies and chemical sensitivities.

I'm pretty zen when it comes to all of this. I've lived with this all of my life, so I have a lot of patience when there's an actual light at the end of the tunnel.

However, last year I had my first major solo author event scheduled in Toronto--Fan Expo, and I'd also scheduled a photo session while I was in town with Helen Tansey.

As soon as Fan Expo finished up, my left eye swelled as though I'd been punched, not an unusual allergy reaction for me, and not unexpected as there was a lot of stuff in the air during Fan Expo (inks, plastics, cleaners, beauty/health care products on the 90,000 people who took part in the convention over the four days.)

If you look closely in the picture of me having lunch with my friend Lisa above, my left eye was showing the first signs of a blocked tear gland, likely from my allergic reaction in combination with my overall acupuncture-triggered detox.

Photo by Helen Tansey

2 - As someone who normally doesn't much care about what I look like, the irony of having a swollen eye in time for my professional author photo shoot was not lost on me. I used tea bags every day to keep the redness and swelling down, and by the time my appointment with Helen Tansey came along, her excellent hair and make-up artist had my swollen eye concealed beautifully.

3 - I got back from Toronto in the fall, rejuvenated psychologically from being back in my favorite city, seeing friends and family, and touching base with lots of Toronto spots I miss so much.

I was ready to continue on with the long-haul healing process, at peace with the knowledge that my detox healing crisis or Herxheiner reaction was all good. 

4 - What are these fabulous symptoms, you may ask? The ones I've personally experienced are: extreme fatigue; arthritic joint pain; intense bouts of vertigo/dizziness that lasted for several horrible days; skin eruptions including rashes, boils and my blocked tear gland; the feeling that I'd been punched repeatedly in the stomach and the accompanying loss of appetite; interesting eliminations where I can actually smell the chemicals used in plastics leaving my body; and profuse sweating.

5 - Believe it or not, I was never at risk of wanting to stop my acupuncture treatment, even when all of these magical symptoms appeared. Last year, for the first time in over two decades, I'd managed to make it through the entire summer season without taking my narcotic painkiller for chronic migraine.

Not one of those heavy-dose painkillers passed my lips between May and September. Didn't need one. 

6 - However, my swollen eye became more and more problematic. I was given an antibiotic that really worked beautifully on my rosacea, but didn't make the eyelid lump drain in any way. I had three courses of this antibiotic, but no reaction from the eye--only a bigger and bigger lump.

7 - Eventually, I couldn't even see properly out of that eye. Not only do I use my vision throughout my records management day job, but then I had to see in order to write my books and manage my social media in the evenings.

8 - I was referred to an eye specialist, who only took about five minutes to schedule me for surgery

9 - Unfortunately, it then took two months for the surgery to be performed. During that time my eyelid swelled to really exciting proportions. That's a shot of my husband and me on our way to a film conference a few weeks ago. The eyelid blob got even worse before the long-awaited surgery day.

10 - The day before my surgery, the blob finally started draining as I was on my morning commute to work, on the bus. Good times!

11 - My mom and my husband both came with me to my surgery appointment yesterday. It was a minor procedure where the area was frozen and I was awake for it all. The doctor was the same specialist to whom I'd been referred--he was really, really great. It was completely freaky but quick, and I was on my way home in no time.

12 - I would like to take a moment to thank the many people I work with, ride the bus with, who work in customer service positions where I buy coffee, get groceries, check out library books and so on, and all of those people whom my husband and I met at the film conference a few weeks ago when my eye blob was impossible to miss seeing.

None of you blinked or skipped a beat as you spoke with me. You just carried on as if there wasn't a massive thing weighing down my eye. All of you get the Kindness Award from grateful me.

13 - After an admittedly long afternoon, evening and night that was spent laying quietly with both eyes closed so that my good eye's movements wouldn't make the recovering eye roll around under the bandages, when I listened to 'radio-show-TV' and my husband Brad provided the narration for the visually-impaired--thanks, Honey!--morning arrived and my mom helped me out with the bandage removal and post-surgery eye drops.

She said, "It looks like you've been in a bar fight. But you should see the other guy!"

It's been quite a journey, this healing journey that  I'm still on. But I embrace the opportunity I've been given, and I thank everyone who has helped me get this far.

At this holy season, I wish all of you many blessings.


Mia Celeste said...

Wow, have you been through a lot. You poor kid. I'm so glad to hear you're on the mend now. May you be in good health this Easter.

colleen said...

Glad it's on the mend. I deal with issues of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have never seen the end to the healing crisis so after 35 years of trying stuff I don't go there anymore. I also did acupuncture regularly for a couple of years and have blocked tear duct issues but never as bad as yours.

Kimberly Menozzi said...

Oh, wow... I'm glad to hear you're doing better now - but what a long, strange trip it's been, on the way.

Here's to faster, total healing, and a happy holiday for you, too!

Alice Audrey said...

Even thought it's clearly painful and problematic, I'm seriously thinking I should look into your treatments. I could seriously use some detoxifying.

CountryDew said...

I have found acupuncture very helpful for a variety of things, and sometimes have ill effects from it, too, that are attributed to similiar cleansing issues. It's a tough road. I feel for you.

Shelley Munro said...

Wow, Julia. That's a lot to go through. On the plus side, your author photo is gorgeous.

Travis Cody said...

This is like those late night commercials for drugs with side effects that sound worse than the condition they are designed to treat. But I guess at some point you'll look back on it all from a position of excellent health and call it worth all the discomfort.