Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Transplant VERY Successful!

So I thought I'd write a post in detail about my transplant yesterday as I'm sure people are curious and it's easier writing it here rather then telling the same story over and over. So my mom and dad drove me downtown to the Holy Cross Centre in Calgary. We got there at about 7:15am and there were already about 6 other patients and there loved ones there. I go up to the counter where they ask me my name and what I was having done. I said a cornea transplant in my left eye. Then the lady takes the cap off of a blue permanent marker and draws a big blue X on my forehead above my left eye. At this point I feel pretty ridiculous but when I go to sit down, I noticed everyone else had a big X on their foreheads too. I look around the room and notice that everyone else in the room is significantly older then myself except for one lady whose name was Charlene. Charlene was in her early to mid 30's (remember this name!). So we are sitting there in the waiting room when one of my desk ladies opens up 2 sets of eye drops and she literally goes around the waiting room putting eye drops in everyones eyes. I later realized that one set of eye drops were for people getting cataract surgery (majority of the people) and the other set were for people getting cornea transplants (me and Charlene). It was actually pretty funny as the desk lady had to walk around administering eye drops about every 20 minutes. lol. Starting at about 7:45am they took the first two people back to surgery. Of course, I wasn't one of those people. I wasn't in the second round of people either. But at around 10:30am they finally called my name.

I couldn't get back there fast enough! I was taken into a big room with a bunch of patients that were divided my curtains. I was in a curtain room with an older lady who was having cataract surgery with Dr. Al-Ghoul (my doctor too). We were both sitting in dentist chairs. It was so cold back there! Between me being extremely nervous and being cold I started shaking uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist came over and explained he would be putting a needle into my eye and that it was going to be painful but it would freeze it afterwards. He obviously saw how scared I was about this and asked if I wanted a sedative before he did and I said I would definitely feel a lot better if I did. So he said he usually gives people adavan (a pill you swallow) to calm patients but he would give me an IV of something 10 times stronger. However he said I might not remember a few things and I said that would be fine. He came over and put in the IV and he said you should feel this fairly quickly. He was right. All of a sudden- BOOM. It hit me in the head like a ton of bricks. I remember saying to him "Oh yeah, I definitely feel it now". One of the nurses came and took the lady I was sitting beside back to see Dr. Al-Ghoul. Next thing I know, a nurse came to take me back to see Dr.Al-Ghoul. I thought to myself, Oh that was quick. I guess they must have got mixed up and took the other lady back by mistake. I later realized while lying on the operating table that I must have forgot everything from the past hour- including the needle in my eye! Perfect! However I do remember the entire surgery....

I got back to the O.R and they got me to lie on a very uncomfortable table. The room was again FREEZING. However they gave me a really nice warm blanket which helped warm me up right away. On top of the blanket they layed a big piece of plastic over top of me. Then they put oxygen tubes up my nose and then put a piece of plastic over my face (it felt like a garbage bag). Next I was laying there waiting for him to pull the plastic back over my left eye. Well that never happened. Sort of. It was the weirdest thing. I didn't even realize he was doing anything until he said "Ok, can you pass me the donor tissue please". Thats when I realized Oh my goodness! He already cut my cornea out! It honestly felt like both of my eyes were closed. It was the strangest feeling. After a while I could see his shadow when he leaned over me and a couple times I could see the scalpel or knife or whatever he was using going over my eye which was very uncomfortable. But it was virtually pain free! Next part though was not so pain free. When he was sewing the donor cornea onto my eye I could definitely feel it. It was VERY uncomfortable and it hurt. A couple times he would tug on the thread as well which HURT. Thankfully this part only lasted about 20 minutes. Dr. Al-Ghoul was really great though. He kept asking me if I was ok and he would say "only 20 minutes left, only 10 minutes left, 5 more minutes" which really helped. All together the whole surgery was about an hour and 15 minutes. Dr.Al-Ghoul also fixed my Iris (the coloured part of your eye) as the scaring went into my Iris as well. He said he fixed it as best as he could but it wouldn't be 100%. When he was all finished up he put a contact bandage over it which helps keep the stitches protected and also helps my eyelid not be so irritated which is AWESOME. He said the cornea transplant went great and it looked "perfect"! He put an ENORMOUS eye patch on my eye (I swear it was like 5cm thick). Next they took all the plastic off of me and a nurse helped me walk back to the waiting room to see my mom and dad. We were sitting there for probably 2 minutes when one of the desk ladies came over and gave me orange juice, cookies and 2 tylenol 3's. Then she gave me a prescription and told me Dr.Al-Ghoul would see me again later that afternoon. Then we were on our way (literally maybe 10 minutes after my surgery ended!). So we went to the pharmacy and got my prescription for 3 eye drops and went home.

When I got home I went straight to bed and I didn't wake up until it was time to go see Dr.Al-Ghoul again at his office. His office is in Chinook Centre Mall of all places in the professional building. Really first place I want to be with an enormous eye patch after I just had a transplant. So embarrassing. lol. Anyways, we get to his office and it is all the same people that were at the Holy Cross Centre earlier that morning! It was kind of funny because everyone had the same Big Sunglasses on. lol. I got called back and one of the nurses took my eye patch off and Oh-My-God did it ever hurt!!! I immediately put my big sunglasses on too and went back into the waiting room with the other patients. The office was so full that mom and dad had to wait in the hallway, only patients were allowed in the office. So all the patients were just chatting and one of them said Dr.Al-Ghoul had done 16 cataract surgeries and 2 Transplants that day! Crazy! There was also a guy who was probably in his 30's and he said he had just had a transplant 3 weeks prior and that he waited 7 years on the transplant list! Wow, did I ever feel lucky! And just a side note here....he looked AWESOME. You would never know he had had a transplant 3 weeks ago! So I ended up waiting in the waiting room for about an hour then I finally got to see Dr.A again. He looked at my eye and again he said it looked perfect and that he was really pleased with it. He also wrote me a prescription for Tylenol 3's (yay!) as I was in quite a bit of pain at that point. When I got home I took the T3's and after about an hour they finally kicked in. I also put in my 4 eyedrops (he gave me another eye drop for pain) and then put on my eye patch (i need to wear this hard cover eye patch at night for 2 weeks so I don't accidentally rub it or hit it while I sleep). Then I went to bed. I woke up a few times during the night because I have to sleep on my back and i usually sleep on my side which was kind of uncomfortable but i'm sure i'll get used to it. I just listened to my audiobooks on my ipod until I could fall back asleep again.

This morning I woke up fully expecting my eye to be crusted shut (as that is what i've read from other peoples experiences). I was VERY pleased when I took off my eye patch and I could open my eye just fine! No gooey stuff, No crusty stuff- Just Perfect! It doesn't even hurt that bad! Of course that could be because I took 2 Tylenol 3's again this morning but really it feels ok! A little uncomfortable, and when I put my eye drops in it feels like a chemical burn in my eyes but other then that its ok. The light isn't bothering me too bad either! Obviously, i've been typing this out! However my eyes are getting a bit tired now so I think i'll get some rest. I will try take a picture of my eye later for you all to see!

Just a side mom and dad were talking to Charlene's husband and she said that she received her call on thursday (same day as I did) and we figured out that we probably had the same cornea donor which is pretty neat!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jana,
    glad to hear your surgery went well. Dr Al-Ghoul is performing a procedure on my 18 yr old son who has the same condition you had. Did Dr. A ever give you the option of a laser "cross-linking" procedure? This is what he is going to do tomorrow instead of cornea transplant. I was just wondering, if he did, why you chose the transplant option? Just curious.