I’ve really put off writing this post for a long time because as I was writing these posts (The First Day, Diagnosis & Waiting on a Donor), my transplant was in the past and in many ways, I liked the fact I could reflect on events. Unfortunately, the feelings that I am now describing are very much my present. A few weeks ago, I learned that my right eye had deteriorated to such a degree that another cornea transplant is needed. I’m due to go in for another transplant in May/June (my surgeon has never been wrong with the dates so far!) and I’ve found it quite difficult to accept that this is happening all over again.
As you’ll know from My Cornea Transplant Part Three – Waiting on a Donor , it was a really difficult time for me and my emotions were all over the place. I talked about how difficult it was to do simple tasks but one of the hardest things I had to do was stay positive. It’s a strange feeling because I wanted a donor so badly but I was terrified too: the operation, the recovery and would it even be successful? Fear of the unknown terrifies me more than anything else. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I really struggled accepting that this was out of my hands.
And I did what we all do in those situations: I turned to Google. I went against all the advice I was given and I started doing my own research (BIG MISTAKE!). All I discovered were horror stories and I cried myself to sleep most nights. This time around I have refused to turn to Google because I already have my own experience to base things on. My left eye recovery was long, painful and full of complications but I don’t have a single regret. I made the right decision and although I’m terrified (crying right now as I type this) about doing it all again, I have to. There is no other option.
I’m really scared. I sometimes feel mentally exhausted because it took all the strength I had to push myself through the first operation and recovery. I don’t know if I’m ready to do it all over again. Maybe the right eye will heal quicker than the left and not cause as many problems? I jump from being optimistic – almost excited – one minute to ending up in floods of tears the next, worrying about everything that could potentially go wrong. I get angry because worrying myself sick isn’t going to do me any favours.
I knew the right eye had Keratoconus; I just never thought it would deteriorate to such a degree a transplant was the only option. Sometimes I feel like this is a prison sentence hanging over me. This started just before I turned 28 – I’m now 31. I’m determined to keep myself going and I’ve done this once, surely I can do it again? It’s a chapter of my life I will never forget (it has changed me in so many ways) but I’m keen to move onto the next and I just want to know the end result. My left eye has improved so much (there are still some stitches my surgeon is keen to remove when they’re ready) and it’s getting stronger all the time. You know, I sit and think about how I will feel at the very end when I can see facial expressions, read shop signs and not live in a blur. I hold onto that thought (even though I’ll totally break down in floods of tears).
These posts were reflecting on my transplant journey but now, I’m taking you along for the ride! I’m going to blog every single step of the way (and the times that I can’t physically sit and type I have Mr Blues to take care of that). Don’t worry, there won’t be any gory images but I want everyone to know how important cornea donation really is. If my story encourages just one person to sign up to become an organ donor, I can justify to myself why this all happened; that’s how I deal with it now. It might sound dramatic and bit odd, but it gives me a focus.
I’m always keen to chat to others who are facing cornea transplants or just want a little bit more info on my story. If anyone has any questions etc. then please, leave a comment below or tweet me @thingsarahloves. Thank you to everyone for their support – I really appreciate it! One down….one to go!!