Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blind Man's Vision

For the many who wanted to know if Tyler was able to play golf... I figured I had better post a quick update.

Tyler had an eye appointment on Friday morning and the doctor continued to be pleased with the progress made.  Unfortunately, Tyler isn't quite as happy.  He still feels like something is scraping the inside of his eye and finds that he is most comfortable with his left eye closed.  He is unable to enjoy this stretch of beautiful weather because he is also very sensitive to bright light.

Despite all of that, he did travel to Bellingham for the annual Ballapalooza golf outing.  And after much begging by his wife, he decided to give the golf a try (rather than just acting as a caddy).  According to all reports, he was quite blind on the course and started off the day with a quadruple bogey.  Somehow he turned it around and had the best score of the group! 

Despite the cart to move him around, he was REALLY sore by the end of the round.  I am hoping that he can get out again soon and begin building up his strength and endurance again.  But first, we have to get over this eye thing.
Thanks to everyone for their encouragement, their prayers, and their e-mails!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tyler says "Eye" am Better!

Sorry that my "punny" husband got to pick today's title, but the news is finally good news!  At our Tuesday afternoon appointment, the doctor was very pleased with what he saw in Tyler's left eye.  Although he was hoping to see this level of improvement last Friday, we really didn't want to complain too much. No More Shots in the eye was enough for us to celebrate!  Tyler REALLY splurged and ordered his drink of choice (Vanilla Latte with Light Ice) in the Venti size, instead of his normal Grande.

The doctor actually told us that Tyler's eye looked "less fluffy" on Tuesday (my pick for the title of this post), so I guess that is a good thing?!  The ophthalmologist has been really good to work with, so we can't complain too much...

In addition, Tyler says that today (Wednesday) was the first day in which he has noticed any improvement in his eye in the last month that he has been fighting shingles.  I am still pulling for golf to be possible on Friday, so we want to see more and more improvements on Thursday.

He is dealing with severe itching and some pain from the rest of his head.  If you remember fighting chicken pox, then you probably know how strong the urge to scratch can be!  Shingles is actually the reactivation of the chicken pox virus, although it doesn't manifest itself in the same way.

Thanks for the encouragement and well wishes.  Tyler and I both appreciate the support that we receive from coworkers, friends, and family members.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Eye of the Storm

After our ER visit, we were scheduled for a follow up visit with an opthamologist to be certain that the shingles infection did not move into his eye.  Unfortunately, at our appointment on Tuesday, the doctors did see signs of infection inside Tyler's eye.  What I thought would be a quick 1 hour visit turned into a 6 hour appointment with both the corneal specialist and a retinal specialist.

They took pictures of his eye to identify the location of the infection and monitor the progress over time.  The retinal specialist told u that we would get to know each other REALLY well, as we will be seeing him quite a bit for the next 3-4 months.  Right now, the infection is just around the outer edges of his eye.  If the infection progresses into the center of the eye, that is very dangerous.  We also have to watch out for retinal detachment right now, so they are monitoring his eye pressure along with the inflammation.

The worst part of the appointment was the antiviral shot that Tyler had to get.  They winched his eye open and shot medicine into the back of the eye to attack the infection.  They also extracted some fluid from the eye to make sure the infection they see was actually shingles.  Tyler says this was the most painful thing he has ever experienced, which made my heart hurt, as I have seen how much pain he has endured in the past 3 years.

The eye doctor upped Tyler's dosage of Valacyclovir from 3 pills a day to 6 pills today, so I got to spend most of a day on the phone with the doctor's office, the pharmacy, and the insurance company trying to make that happen.  We are exceedingly frustrated that it is so difficult to get medicine that is medically necessary.  Tyler is at risk of going blind if we can't get this infection under control, but the insurance company doesn't want to pay for the dosage the doctor has prescribed because the medicine is expensive.  Grrr...  I HATE dealing with insurance issues!

We had a follow up appointment with the eye doctor at the end of the week.  Upon inspection they thought the infection had stayed the same, but the pictures showed a small increase in infected areas.  If he had stayed the same or improved, they would have sent us home.  Since it got worse, Tyler had to endure another shot in the eye.  The doctor considered admitting him to the hospital, to treat the eye with IV medicines, but decided that he would see if the shot was sufficient for now.  We have another appointment on Tuesday to see if any progress has been made.

Tyler has been invited to go golfing on Friday, so I am REALLY hoping that his eye improves enough that 1) we don't have to see the doctor that day and 2) his light sensitivity has improved enough to allow him to go outside again.  Despite the beautiful weather here, we have been living in a cave trying to keep the light to a minimum in the house.

Please wish us luck for all of our events on Tuesday!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Janell's Battle

My friend and coworker had her transplant on Friday, July 2nd.  We remember how painful those first few weeks were and wish her strength to get through it and a very quick (and healthy) engraftment!

If you are curious to see more about Janell's journey, you can click on the link to Janell's Reflections on our website.

Overdue Health Updates

When Tyler was diagnosed with shingles, just after Father's Day, he was given a 7-day course of an antiviral medicine called Valacyclovir.  After a couple days of sleeping with pain pills, Tyler finally started to improve.  Unfortunately, once the medicine ran out, he gradually got worse again.  While the pain was bad, we were actually more concerned about his sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and the feeling that something was scraping inside his eye.

So...  We ended up in the ER on July 3rd, waiting to see an opthalmologist who could evaluate the permanent risks to Tyler's vision.  Thankfully, the eye doctors thought that his eye was only minimally infected.  The ER doctor prescribed another 7 day course of Valacyclovir and the opthalmologists prescribed some eye drops to relieve the swelling in his eye.

Interestingly (and somewhat sad), the eye doctors indicated that this was a REALLY big weekend in their field.  When we continued to look at them blankly, they explained that eyes and hands are the most frequent injuries of fireworks escapades.  One doctor even said "it was the Superbowl of their field."  Oops!  Hopefully all of you were safe for Independence Day!

After fighting with our insurance company Sunday through Wednesday, we were finally able to fill the prescription and get Tyler on the right path again.  He still has pain and sensitivity to light, but actually noticed some improvement yesterday.  I am worried that this 7 day course will not be enough to get him OVER this bout with shingles and am not looking forward to yet another fight with the insurance company to get them to pay for the medicine he needs.