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Friday, January 27, 2012

Mixed Feelings

Let me say right out the chute that I can NOWHERE imagine what it's like, nor do I honestly want to EVER know what one feels and even maybe thinks from time to time when their life is LITERALLY in another's hands to live themselves. Because they need a solid organ transplant, and at times, it means that another human being must die and be willing to give of themselves.

I belong to several groups over on FaceBook. Including a few regarding Organ/Eye/Tissue Donation Recipients. And I for the most part enjoy being a part of each and every one of them.

But a situation for one member came up where they maybe were able to FINALLY get the organ that they have tried to receive multiple times. Sadly once again, the person was turned down. But not because there was a fellow recipient in waiting, but because of the potential donor and their status not making the organ viable.

I know that we all have within us the fight or flight. And we have this ultimate need, if not even a "requirement" to survive and defeat death.

But to HOPE that once your potential donor is "just right" after having the plug pulled so that they can give you their organ that you (while I understand, desperately) need, then to be "bummed" and outright say that the heart "waited too long" to expire is pretty damn SICK.

It's disheartening to me *personally* to know that while (like I keep repeating) that YOU as one needing a solid organ to give you that second chance at living to your fullest potential, that one takes an almost seemingly "joy" in another's expiration of life.

I'm ALL for wanting to live (or to see, as was my case) again the way you had used to, or at least as close to your normal as you can get. But to pretty much WISH someone dead? Or at least make light of another's suffering? No wonder there are SO many people in the world who view us RECIPIENTS as vultures.

It's because of people like the person I'd described up above.

Those that have died and willed their organs, eyes and tissues have given us all a GIFT. It's not a right or even a "privilege". They were willing to give us new life, new sight and a better quality of life.

While I know all too well the JOY in knowing that your life or your sight is being saved when you get "the call", it SHOULD also be a time to give thanks to your donor. And to think of THEIR FAMILY and their suffering.

And if it doesn't pan out for you with that potential match? Then I say have a little decorum, heart, compassion, and yes, even some COMMON SENSE, as well as decency. As in don't post about how "bummed" you are about the person not dying quick enough for you to grab their parts.

To be that way, to me PERSONALLY, is morbid, insensitive to the one that died and their family, disgusting (to a point) and just plain disrespectful.

Am I wrong in my thoughts and/or my feelings? Maybe. Maybe not. Again, I have never needed a solid organ. But across the board, no matter the type of transplant we have had, or will need, along with it, comes responsibility in the means of SELF CONTROL, empathy and sympathy.

Because our gifts came at a GREAT price. The price of another's life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Corneal Stitches

Also known as "Corneal Sutures", they are sewn in as to ensure that the newly transplanted cornea stays in place and attaches well to the rest of your eye as it is supposed to do.

After the surgeon carefully and skillfully lays the cornea in to position, he/she will thread a specialized sewing needle as to begin the suturing process.

The following is a picture of one of the types of needles that they will use on the cornea. It is called a Kalt Corneal Needle.

They will use the claw-like needle to thread the corneal stitches through to attach the new cornea in place.

There are a couple of different variations as to how the stitchings are done. And every doctor has his or her preference. Plus it also depends on the patient and their needs as well.

One is called "Interrupted". Which means that instead of a "zig-zag" effect, there is one line stitchings that kind of resemble the lines around the sun from a child's drawing.

The other suture possibility is called "Continuous". That type of suturing looks (to me) something like a drawing (yep, I'm stuck on kid pictures lol) that a child made, using the old drawing toy called a Spirograph.

Then there are some cases where the doctor uses BOTH of the techniques. In the same eye. Again, it's done on a case-by-case basis.

The following is an example drawing of the sutures that I had described above.

Post transplant, over time as healing progresses and all is well, the Corneal Specialist will look over the eye and eventually decide that it's time to start to remove stitches. But not all are out at once. It's a gradual and even a bit of a tedious process.

When it's time, the doctor will ask for his Nurse Assistant to go grab the removal kit. It will have two things in its sterile packaging. A forceps tool and a blade tool.

These are called a "Meyerhoffer Chalazion Curette". They help (as long as I do indeed have the correct blade) to cut the stitch(es) that the doctor wishes to remove.

The above set of "tweezers" are called "Arruga Curved Capsule Forceps". And hopefully, I do have the correct pair. Once the appropriate stitch(es) have been sliced loose, then the tweezers are used to (gently) pull the stitch out from the cornea and eye area.

Anyway you slice it (get it?? lol) they must use a blade and tweezers to cut and remove the sutures. They are not dissolve-able. So removal is indeed a must.

There are VERY rare occasions though, that do warrant stitches to stay in place for the patient's life.

But before that, they will place in some numbing eye drops and use an eye separator. This way, there is no pain and no chance of you closing down the eye as it is being worked on.

The Eyelid Speculum Device is usually metal and looks like the following...

And your eye looks like this after placement....

And no, it does NOT hurt to have it placed under the lids, nor is it painful as it is within the eye area. Cold. That's about it. But then you have the drops placed in and all is well.

One of my awesome pals from Twitter and Facebook (we initially "found" one another through a friend of a friend on Twitter) has recently had a corneal transplant done, due to having Keratoconus (cone shaping of the cornea). Brooklin (ItsBrooklin on Twitter) is also a professional photographer who does great work with picture-taking.

Earlier in the week, while on a shoot, Brooklin had a buddy take a picture of his eye where all of his stitches were in. For Brooklin's case, he had BOTH the Continuous, as well as the Interrupted suturing performed on his transplant eye.

First of all, THANK YOU Brooklin for letting me use your eye as a prime example of explanation for this post. You couldn't have timed posting the picture really any better. And also, dude... You have BEAUTIFUL brown eyes. They are like Amber Brown. My favorite shade of brown.

Well, I hope that this will put your mind at ease, as well as help you to better understand the process of having stitches both placed in, and removed from your eye once you have had a Corneal Transplant. It looks scary to go through. But really, it's not too bad. Personally to me, the worst part is honestly the speculum.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Need Support? Find Some on Twitter.

After all was said and done, I felt very isolated and alone. I knew others had a corneal transplant, but I knew no one that has. It's a very humbling, sobering and lonely experience to go through.

Not many people that have had the procedure done, or are about to have it done, are very open, publicly that is, about having to need someone else's cornea attached to their eye. It is seemingly a taboo subject.

There are many times that the sight-saving operation is filled with myths, half-truths and misconceptions. And for those that have yet to go through it, that can be very damaging and make the person so frightened if they have not had someone speak up that HAS had a corneal transplant to tell them of the REAL experience.

I've been a longtime member of FaceBook. But then, I also added Twitter to my social networking. And it's been a God send. I have met some REALLY awesome people, from all over the globe. Special Needs parents, Stay-At-Home moms, and those that have or are planning on having a Corneal Transplant. As well as well-known sight-based organizations.

Finally, I was no longer alone. I was able to not only GET support post-op, but to GIVE support, too. Finally, someone understood the fear, the unknown future and I was able to ask questions and get some real answers.

If you are on Twitter and you wish to connect with those that have had a Corneal Transplant, or are getting one in the near future, or just wish to know more of what's involved, here is a listing of those you can "follow".







m0m23kidznKatz (ME!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

R.I.P. Sarah Burke

Famed X-Games Half Pipe sports star, Sarah Burke has passed away from head injuries that she had sustained in a bad accident nine days ago, while practicing for an upcoming event.

Thanks to the Canadian X-Gamer, she has made a name for herself and her fellow female gamers in the sport of extreme ski and snowboarding. In 2014, the first-ever Half Pipe competition will be within the Winter Olympics. And Sarah Burke was to be there, representing her country, Canada for the Gold Medal.

She was a hero to those both male and female of the extreme sport, by making it possible to compete in the Winter Olympics. But she is also a hero in another way, too.

Per her wishes, Sarah's organs and tissues were donated. She wanted to help others to live a long life. And now, there are people that are going to do just that. Live longer, better and healthier.

Thank you, Sarah Burke, and her family! You all have given the chance of a lifetime to others. You all are TRUE heroes to those that were helped by your gift of love, life and compassion.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dying Girl Denied A Transplant Based Completely On Mental Disability

There is a little girl in desperate need of a new kidney. Her parents have already been in front of the Transplant Team's Board, only to be denied of her lifesaving surgery through Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The little girl is still in a stroller. She is only three years old. And severely mentally handicapped.

And that is what the Nephrology Department specialists and the Transplant Team are basing her denial of services on. Not on the fact that she has a severe case kidney failure or that the family is ready to be tested as viable matches.

Plus, the doctors had stated apparently, that they fear for the little child where anti-rejection medications are concerned. Mainly due to the fact that they COULD cause mental disability. Um... How much worse can this poor child get with already being as mentally handicapped as she is?!

To read the full story, from the parent's own words of what had happened, CLICK HERE.

I can (sadly) see BOTH sides of that proverbial fence. But on the flip side, to ONLY base the "need" on one specific area, primarily intellectual function is NOT something that I agree with.

As a Transplant Team, they MUST base it on a number of factors. Including not only viability and psychological areas, but on SO many other levels, including the severity of the problem with the kidneys its self.

They did make at least ONE valid point, regarding her age, as well as her need. At her age, and the rate of stability with the new kidney, she is going to need AT LEAST one more, if not two or more kidneys throughout her lifetime. And they will not always be available from family.

And without testing the family NOW, there is NO way of even knowing if ANYONE, including the parents are a match.

But to deny ANYONE, let alone a child of a lifesaving surgery, including a transplant based solely upon a person's mental disability is just complete and utter bullshit.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"I'm A Survivor".... My Cornea Donation PSA Video.

Because of my own stupidity and having probably the world's biggest brain fart, I had to start a new YouTube account. To view it and (hopefully you will) subscribe GO HERE.

It had taken me most of one evening, and a majority of an afternoon to piece together a video that is just over four MINUTES in length. To say I put all of myself in to the project is well, a bit of an understatement. But, here is the finished product.

It's not as good as some people's videos/PSA's . But I think that I got the point across.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Corneal Itch relief.... A Video Tutorial.

Let me first say I HATE my voice lol. And I am not looking my best at the moment, thanks to a stupid Rosacea breakout.

But as I had promised a few weeks ago to a few people, especially @BeaSereneInLife on Twitter, here is the quick tutorial of how to SAFELY relieve ocular itching without compromising your graft.

Well, I hope it helped a bit to know a few new and simple tricks. Let me know what you think of the video and the advice. And if you have ideas for future blog videos, then shoot them my way.

Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The "Founder" of Sight Resorative Services.. A History Lesson

Richard Townley Paton, M.D. was a man with a mission. A mission to retrieve and safely keep cornea tissue at the ready for doctors to use of their patients in need of the Gift of Sight.

In 1944, Dr. Paton had founded the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration in Manhattan, New York, along with his partner, Dr. John McLean of New York Hospital. A place that would help with harvesting, testing, readying, and transporting viable corneas to doctors and the patients in need of help in regaining their sight through corneal transplantation.

Dr. Paton also did some of the earlier works of helping to perfect the surgical procedure, before Founding the wonderful and now American-wide acclaimed, eye bank.

Some of his corneal donations came from those within the prison settings of convicts whom had consented to the donation of their eyes after their death by execution in Ossining, NY.

The Eye Bank, which is on East 64th Street, was the first organ/tissue banking system to accept eye donations. And it was a joint-effort institution between a total of twenty-one New York hospitals.

From that point on, more eye-collective banks were beginning to open throughout the country. Slowly but surely, more banks opened, and more people had their sight saved, and their lives more enriched due to the thanks and ingenuity of two men who forged a path to a positive means to restore sight to those that otherwise had little to zero chance of ever seeing again.

Medical advances of today in the world and works of sight restoration have made them to be THE most successful transplant of all transplants done in the United States and around the world.

At the age of eighty-two, on February 27th, 1984, Dr. Paton sadly passed away. But not before completing his mission of giving the Gift of Sight to as many people as he could. Thanks to him, myself and MILLIONS of people around the world are seeing things that most of us take for granted.

(initially posted to YouTube on April 27, 2011)