Published June 19, 2012

Shelia Shares
"My Eye Surgery"

So many emails have arrived to tell me that you are praying for me. That is a great encouragement to me and I express my gratitude. If God doesn't remove the storm, He certainly does take us through the storm with peace.

My eye surgery is scheduled for June 22 at 8:30 a.m. So many of you have been guessing what type of surgery I am having, so let me explain...briefly.

My condition is vitreo-macular traction syndrome, which could be called macular hole with macular pucker. There is distortion in sight due to the traction of the eye jelly and membrane formation overlying the macula, responsible for sharp vision. The nerve layer is therefore distorted, resulting in slanting and wavy images, sometimes blocked vision. The surgery is a vitrectomy with membrane peel. (Got all that?)

If you could see the scan of the back of my right eye, you would not see one macular hole, but rather many jagged macular holes. There is a lot of scar tissue, since the damage did not just occur. My retina specialist said he had never seen a case as bad as this one. And, because the damage was not caught when it happened, the optimism for improved vision is limited. (If you think there is something happening with your eye sight, but your eye doctor does not satisfactorily explain it, please, please, please get a second opinion. Caught early, this surgery can have a 90% success rate.)

The added part of the surgery is that the vitreous gel is removed and an air and gas bubble is inserted in the eye. The bubble is to act as an internal, temporary bandage that holds the edge of the macular holes in place as they heal. The eye will gradually reabsorb the bubble and the vitreous gel will regenerate. Since the floating bubble needs to stay in position, the head needs to be kept looking down.

As I think about remaining face down for a couple weeks, it sounds extremely challenging for a hyper, involved person. Aside from neck or back pain from being in an awkward position, one of the side effects of this surgery's recovery can be boredom resulting in depression. How does one keep "looking up" while remaining face down?

When we recognize there could be a problem, we can plan ahead for it. We won't be surprised by discouragement and can work at staying away from self-pity.

There are always others in worse condition than where we are. Without a lot of activity, there should be lots of time for prayer for others, as well as prayers for myself.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus needed to be by Himself for a quiet time with His Father. If Jesus needed quiet time to hear the Father speak, don't we? For me, this can be a time of listening – and with that listening can come refreshing.

Have you ever said, "If only I had the time..." For me, this can be that time. I want to do some writing. I want to do reading. If my left eye cooperates, I might be able to do both of these.

I am a "Martha." I am a doer. Remember the story in Luke 10. Martha was busy serving and Mary sat and listened to Jesus. Finally Martha had had enough and came to Jesus to complain that she had to serve alone. She told Jesus to talk to Mary and "tell her to help me." Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." I can't change my "Martha" personality, but perhaps I can choose that good part of listening to the Lord and relaxing knowing He has the best for me.

So, am I looking forward to surgery? No. However, I know nothing happens in our lives that is out of God's control. Should that give me peace? Yes.

As I go into surgery and then spend some quiet time recovering, I will appreciate your prayers. They mean more than you can know.

- Shelia

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