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Stella's Eye News 26/10/13

Hello Everyone
This is not a normal FMS eNews.  It isn't even about FM!  It is about my recent journey from binocular to monocular vision.  If that is of no interest to you, then don't bother to read it.  I felt this was a good way to pass on my experiences.

Firstly, I would like to thank all those of you who have sent cards, e-cards, messages and gifts and who have been praying for me. I have been very conscious of your love and concern.   It is now nine days since I was discharged from St Bart's Hospital. This is the first time that I have switched on my computer and writing this message is the first task I have undertaken. I have not even looked at emails yet.

But let's revert to the beginning! My problem was ocular melanoma/eye cancer. It was too large to treat and the only option was to remove the eye.  I went to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London on 4th October for a PET scan to determine whether the cancer had spread to other parts of my body. Fortunately it had not, but further scans were deemed necessary. On 15th October I returned to St Bart' where I was given ultrasound scans on my neck and liver and a chest xray, then admitted for surgery the following day. I had a spacious fifth floor, single, en suite room with a great view over the city.

I was first on the theatre list on Wednesday and when I awoke after the operation, at midday there was no pain and I had a large plaster over where my eye had been. On Thursday morning the surgeon came to see me, changed the dressing and discharged me. But I could not leave until the pharmacy produced the antibiotics I needed and transport could not be ordered until the antibiotics were in my possession. But the transport was worth waiting for and we left at 4pm. It was an ambulance, complete with flashing lights and siren which were used to full advantage throughout the journey which lasted an hour and twenty minutes. It normally takes from two to two and a half hours! Need I say more??

On arrival home the dressing was removed – mission accomplished. Eye drops have to be administered 4 times day and a District Nurse has been visiting me. Chris attached a flower picture to my left spectacle lens – better than a black patch. So far the eyelid remains closed, but I am hoping I will eventually regain muscular control.

The eye was replaced by an orbital implant to which my eye muscles have been attached. I will eventually get a prosthetic eye, like a large contact lens which should, if all goes according to plan, move with the 'good' eye and look quite natural.

Ocular melanoma is one of the rare cancers and there are only three centres in England that deal with it, the other two being Liverpool and Sheffield. There are only around 500 cases per year as opposed to 50,000 cases of breast cancer.

I was somewhat apprehensive as to how much I would be able to do with monocular vision, but so far, so good. During my recuperation time I have knitted a further 40 hats for the AgeUK/innocents drinks Christmas campaign. I am trying to be positive and remain useful but I think I shall have to limit my computer usage for the foreseeable future. The screen is beginning to dance!  So no promises as to when eNews will return.

The biblical text – 'If your eye offend you, pluck it out' has been realised!

Best of wishes to all