Monday, 22 May 2017

Lasered, Cupped and Cracked

I had an eventful 48 hours last week.  Last Thursday I woke up at 530am and couldn't get myself out of bed without Greg's help.  It was brutal.  And driving to my ophthalmologist appointment was pure torture.  I had to drive with  my right arm in the air over the head.  I must have looked completely ridiculous.  And that wasn't even the worst part of my day believe it or not.  So let's start with that.

Well let's start with how I ended up up at the ophthalmologist in the first place.  In February 2016, I went for my regularly scheduled optometrist appointment.  After looking at my eyes, she noticed that my angles in my eyes were more narrow then they should be.  She was concerned about this because narrow angles cause glaucoma.  What???  I was 36 at this time, how could I possibly have glaucoma??  She decided to see me back in one year to check to see if it had gotten worse.  In March 2017, I went in for a follow up and she did even more testing and decided that it would be best for me to see an ophthalmologist  to see what they think of my narrow angles.

On May 10th, I went to Cloudbreak Eye Centre to see Dr Gooi about my angles.  I didn't actually see any doctors today and was just given some eye drops to numb my eyes and do a ton of testing.  There was more testing then you would get at a typical appointment at a optometrist office but it wasn't terrible to blink or anything like that.  It was actually better testing.  The girl doing my testing said that although all 4 of my angles were definitely narrow, none were closed.  That made optimistic that no drastic measures would be needed.  So I never gave it a second thought and wasn't worried when on Thursday May 18th, I went in to see Dr Gooi. I was more worried about the pain in my right shoulder/neck and arm that wasn't going away.  I made an appointment for that afternoon for a massage while I waited to see the dr.

He looked at my eyes and the results from the tests and determined that I would need a laser iridotomy as soon as possible.  Because my angles are so narrow, there is not very much room for fluid to escape and it causes the pressure in my eyes to increase.  This is not good.  If your pressure gets too high, it can reach a breaking point (or something like that, I don't remember what he said exactly) but basically whenever the pressure gets as high as it can possibly go,  it does something and I can go blind in 24 hours.  Crazy stuff, right??  The good news was that there was no damage to my eyes at this point and I didn't have glaucoma and this procedure should prevent it from happening.

Then as I finished up, I went to the front desk and told them what needed to be done and they were like how about tomorrow.  Holy crap, that was not what I had expected but I guess the sooner it gets done the better.  At least I didn't have a month to worry about what could and couldn't go wrong.

A laser iridotomy is the type of surgery used for people with or at a risk for narrow angle glaucoma.  The laser is used to make a small hole in the iris.  The laser burn should let the fluid circulate properly inside the eye.  It will hopefully prevent scar formation between the iris and the cornea, which can lead to progression of the glaucoma. This procedure is done without pain and takes only 5 mins.  This was all from the handout that Dr Gooi gave me on Thursday.

I needed someone to drive me home and luck would have it, Greg was off so it worked out well.  When I got there, I was taken to a room where they administered 3 different drops into my eyes and they did a pressure check.  I then was sent back to the waiting room until it was my turn for the iridotomy.  I think this increased the pressure in my head because I instantly had a headache. When I got into the room, it was Dr Gooi's dad doing the surgery instead of him, he was super nice too so I was not too concerned.  He put in a special contact in each eye to keep my eyes open while they layered my eyes.  He said it would sound like elastic bands snapping and that was exactly like it sounded like.  It felt that each time it "snapped" my eye felt it even though my eyes were numb.  Greg said it was probably my brain thinking it was pain even though it was sound.  This was done 4x in each eye. My vision was definitely blurry and although I wasn't in pain other then the headache, it was definitely a weird feeling.  I then had to wait in the waiting room so they could look at my eyes and test the pressure and when they did that, it was all good.  I was now able to go home.  I was still suffering from the back pain and  the headache so I slept for a few hours when i got home and when I woke up I felt much better.

Greg noticed my pupils were really tiny Friday night when we were having supper.  I immediately went and looked and couldn't believe how small they were.  I texted my sister who works for an ophthalmologist in Saskatoon and said they would return to normal the next day.  They were a little bigger on Saturday and as I write this on Sunday afternoon, they still haven't returned to normal size.  

I have to take eye drops 4x a day for four full days and I have to go back on June 19 to make sure that  the laser has worked and that I don't need additional laser surgery.  I have no idea if this laser iridotomy is permanent or if it is something that I will have to monitor going forward and possibly have again.  

Ok so now that we have the laser out of the way, lets move on to the cupping and the cracking since they deal with the same thing. 

So as I said earlier, I woke up Thursday morning and was in so much pain on my right side that i needed to lean on greg and use him to pull myself out of bed.  The pain was so bad in my shoulder/back and it protruded into my neck and my arm.  My arm basically felt numb and tingling from the shoulder to my elbow.  And driving was almost impossible and the only way it didn't hurt was if I had it elevated up over my head.  It was a hot mess.  As I had said earlier, I made an appointment at SouthWest Massage in Midnapore because I thought the massage would help and seeing as how i was just over a week away from the calgary marathon, i needed to bite this in the ass quickly.  I always get a massage 4 or 5 days before my races but they always focus on my lower body and never ever on my upper body.  My upper body was all kinds of tightness, like it was so intense at some points that I was unable to breathe.  She spent the full 60 minutes massaging and cupping my back and I hope and prayed that I would wake up Friday morning before my surgery a changed girl.

Sadly I woke up Friday morning in the same amount of pain as the day before.  The massage did not work.  Greg suggested that I try a chiropractor and I was really hesitant to do this because I hate the sound of bones cracking, I figured the pain would be intense and I remembered when I was a kid when a lady died at the chiropractor in Saskatoon and I still think of it any time I think about chiropractor.  I realized that I desperately needed the pain gone not just because of my race but because it was getting impossible to function being in so much pain.  I knew it would be difficult finding a chiropractor open on a saturday, let alone the saturday of the long weekend but  I did after a few tries.  Before my chiropractor appointment, I went for a run and it wasn't so bad while running but walk breaks were intense pain and the pain after my run was through the roof.  I went to SouthCentre Health and Wellness and they were great.  He told me that this clinic had been in the same spot since the mall opened in 1974 but with various chiropractors over the years.  I thought that was kinda cool.

So I thought I had a pinched nerve but it turns out that I have a rib displaced.  He did a bunch of cracking which didn't bother me at all.  It only hurt a tiny amount and I barely even heard any of the cracklings.  I was happy to not die or end up paralyzed because I kid you not, those were real fears that I had.  He said when people have their backs cracked, they feel relief almost instantaneously but with rib things like mine, it can take up to 24  hours.  He gave me some biofreeze to put on it before I use a lacrosse ball and my foam roller on it and to have hot baths to get the heat on it.   I have to do all of that every 2 - 3 hours which I admit I have not done.  I made an appointment for Monday just in case and although I am feeling better as I write this on Sunday after, I still am in a lot of pain.  He figured it would take a second visit, hopefully I will be good after that.  I will keep you posted. 

So my eyes are doing much better and my pain in the right part of my upper body is still there but it is slowly making progress.  The chiropractor said I would be fine by Calgary Marathon day so lets hope  he is right. 

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