Macular Degeneration and Me

Low Vision and High Hope

Ups and Downs

A few weeks back I promised to write more about my experiences mentioned in Twists and Turns.  It’s been somewhat difficult to decide how to keep to my mission of High Hope and still tell about some of the more challenging events of the past 18 months.  So I decided just to do my best to set out what happened and how I responded as truthfully as possibly.

In November 2012 I decided to go ahead with the operation called a vitrectomy to peel the macular pucker in my left eye.  This is simply scar tissue that formed over the macula leaving me looking through an eye with grayish spots in the center of the eye with diminished vision.  I postponed this decision for some time for various reasons; the most important was the poor health of a close family member and the daily care we provided.  However it was time to go ahead with this.

The operation went very smoothly and my recovery was quick.  However the hoped for outcome did not occur.  Because of internal swelling at the back of the eye apparently from the operation, my vision – although the gray spots were gone (that was the scar tissue that was removed) – did not rebound.  In fact now my vision n that eye was completely blurry.

Then began weeks and then months of visits to the retina specialist for injections of Avastin, ocular scans and eye drops.  Felt pretty discouraged some days.  Even my eccentric training wasn’t working.  But I’m not one that entertains negative reactions as a way of life, so eventually I found some middle ground by sharing my story with others.  Comments back from some of you were inspirational and very helpful.

Now I’m really not going to go step-by-step here so suffice it to say, cataracts started developing, first in the left eye, then in the right.  Round about the same time, my arthritis started acting up and I went through an eight month flare-up which left me exhausted and disheartened.  The rheumatologist told me my right hip no longer functioned and that I should consider a hip replacement soon.

Eyes?  Hip? See?  Walk?  Care Giver?  Need Care?  A dilemma for sure.  Somehow all of this made me start to laugh – how bizarre it all was.

A few things kept me going:  a sister who came and helped me with the garden and landscaping I love and convinced me to rest more;  my dog, Salty, who needs exercise and always knows when I’m in pain;  my new walking stick that helped my balance; aquatic therapy; and a husband with patience and grace.

Feeling in better spirits this past autumn, I made arrangements for the two cataract operations.  I scheduled them both two weeks apart and spent October and November getting everything in order so my work, family and community commitments could continue as necessary until I recovered – about 5 weeks after the second operation or the end of January 2014.

Or so I thought!

Second chapter of Ups and Downs to follow soon.



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4 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. Norma Deen Juracsik on said:

    I’ve read a number of times that surgery to remove scar tissue doesn’t work. However, if one is completely blind they can get some kind of contact lense telescope implanted that helps them to see ahead, but not pherfial.
    Heard about this from Pepose in St. Louis, but you can read about it online.

    • Thank you for that information Norma. I have seen reports about this also. It is tremendously good news for people with no vision. Eventually I hope this will be available for everyone that could benefit.

      In my next installment you will hear that the cataract removal actually helped the vision in the left eye so stay tuned, Thanks again

      • Katharine Emsden on said:

        Thanks, Pepi, for keeping us up on your year plus of that left eye. My pucker is in the right, my left has been stable for 6 months at 20:30. Your cataract news is very exciting to me and raises my admiration even further. You deserve the result! Cataracts are not imminent for me but might give long term hope if I go for the vitrectomy. Do you “see” mostly with your right eye? I cover my good eye for 10 min. to force the pucker eye to read.
        Katharine E.

      • Hello Katharine – I have some peripheral vision now in the left eye but essentially ‘see’ only with the right. One of the things I need to be careful of, and urge anyone with vision problems to be careful of, is safety. This is not always something you keep at the forefront. I will need to wear safety glasses when doing yard work, or around anything that might hit me in the eyes.

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