Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Eye

***CAUTION -- this story may not be for the weak in stomach***
So now that my eye is finally getting better, let me tell you the complete story. You may need to grab a drink and a comfortable chair, because it's a long one. I'll tell it in journal form to give you an idea of how long this problem has lasted!

February 14/15 - Well, we tried to leave for Hawaii on the 14th, but because of the snow, yada yada yada, we didn't fly out until the 15th, but it was a long couple days because the flights were really early and of course, we are always up late packing. Thus began the eye rubbing. While in Hawaii, my eyes were getting more and more itchy, as was my elbows and legs, as it usually does when I experience super warm, humid weather after being in the cold for so long. This time, though, my eyes were non stop itchy, starting to get flaky eyelids. I thought, well, just put some ointment on it and it'll be fine. Should go away by the time we get home.

March 16/17 (I think) - Eyes were getting considerably worse, now it seemed to be getting rather red and puffy. But only in my left eye. So put some Burts Bees Ointment on it and felt okay, drove up to NYC with Jerin, Wami, and Taisei, and felt fine for the most part. Just kept putting that stuff on, and felt like it was going to get better.

End of March - Saw the eye doctor, since I needed a new contact lens prescription anyway, and she recommended using Vigamox, an antibiotic eye drop usually used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, or pink eye, and also Erithromycin on the eyelid to heal/prevent infection. The eyelid doesn't get any better, now it looks like a cyst of some sort has developed, almost looking like an open sore. But not bad just yet, I just thought it gets worse before it gets better. Little did I know.

April 7 - Eye doctor says the pink eye is gone, but now the 'secondary infection' of the eyelid was getting uncontrollable. She recommends that I see a dermatologist, but I was leaving for Japan the next day so was unable to do so. Gives me Bacitracin, a more stronger and general antibiotic, for my eyelid and sent me on my way.

April 8-16 - Eyelid gets significantly worse, since in Japan, I am out and about the whole time, and unable to clean around the eyelid, so it gets more and more infected, and the little open sore begins to overtake the eye.

End of April - Tried Neosporin, thought it looked like it was getting better, but it actually wasn't. Flew out to Jacksonville to see Jason & Michelle & Elias, and the heat and humidity there made the eyes worse, and actually started to spread to the other eye. Rest of my body starts to get itchy as well - elbows, legs, chin, neck.

Early May - Realizing that I didn't want a gimpy eye for my birthday, I finally call to see a dermatologist, and he recommends taking Doxycycline (a tetracycline) antibiotic and then using Bactroban ointment on the eye. Takes a viral and bacterial sample for testing to see if it was positive for any of those. Sends me on my way within few minutes. Efficient, I thought, typical of a former Navy O-6. Also told me I have eczema, which is why my eyes, elbows, legs, were rashing up whenever I go from dry to humid weather. This was the cause of all my problems.

May 10 - Early morning, I thought, hmm, should my face be feeling fat everytime I take the antibiotic? I look up symptoms for allergic reaction, and face swelling is a symptom, but I'm not getting anaphylactic shock or tongue swelling, etc etc. This is eight days into taking the ten day prescription. I've been home all week. Call the doctor, he calls back and tells me to stop immediately, that it could've gotten worse. Also says that both tests came back negative for bacteria and virus. So I realized that everytime I took an antibiotic, I took an allergy pill at the same time, so as my allergic reaction began, the allergy pill would also kick in; that morning, I guess it was just slower to kick in, and I was in a world of hurt.

May 12-14 - Thought hmm, should my eye be dried under a fan and allowed to crust up/scab so it can heal, or should it be moist all the time? Tried both. This weekend we tried the crust up thing, but then I couldn't open my eye at all. So was at home all weekend in bed. Right eye keeps getting worse. Getting rashes around it, and the eye doctor yet again gave me Vigamox because it looks like I have pink eye in that eye as well. Did it for both eyes. Eek. Oh and by the way, Evan got us all sick with the cold over the weekend.

May 15 - Realized hmm, maybe since there's no bacteria, no virus, that maybe the Bactroban wouldn't be effective since there's no bacteria to kill! Tried going without anything, and seemed to be healing better. Sat under a fan all day (been doing this fan thing for a few weeks now, so lame), so it was nice and dry. Seemed to be getting better. Tried sleeping without a fan at night, couldn't sleep at all, so tried with.

May 16 - Woke up with the eyelids bleeding and oozing. It didn't work. I'm guessing I wasn't supposed to keep it dry, but when it was wet, it never stopped oozing! My supervisor at work had given me a name of another dermatologist a few days back, called them and got an appointment with the Physicians Assistant there that afternoon. Went there, and she instantly gave me a handful of new prescriptions to take. Told me that with eczema, can't have the skin too dry (so no fan), and needs to be well moisturized. Prescribed some Keflex antibiotics, Desonide topical ointment for the eyes, Predisone to cool the eczema, and another allergy antihistimine to let me sleep at night without scratching too much. She also noted that this should go away by Sunday, if not a marked improvement. I'll see it when I believe it.

May 18 - Right eye is pretty much all better. Left eye is still a little pink, but much, much better than before. Went into work for a good five hours or so. Eyes still get a little dry, but as long as I keep it cool and wet, it feels pretty good.

May 20 - So now you're up to date. The problem with the Desonide is the side effect - itching. So I would rub my eyes while sleeping, so it hasn't been the most effective, but I can't complain. It's much better than it was back in April! Still itchy, but at least I can go back to Seattle looking semi-decent. It was a tough time for me in April/May, because anything we did to try and make the eye better, it seemed to work one day, and get worse the other. It was depressing, because on the internet, it said if I had something like flaky eyelids, I would have it for the rest of my life, and would be treating these types of problems all the time. Good thing it's just eczema, and I can treat it easier. But through those times, it was hard because physically I felt fine, I felt I didn't need to take a "sick day", but in doing so--in going to work, I was exposing my wound to germs, etc etc, the environment that made the eye worse. Was home for two weeks. Some nights I couldn't take it anymore and would go into work late in the night for a few hours just to catch up on e-mails, etc. After the PA prescribed the new stuff, and it started working instantly after that, it was a new beginning. Things became more optimistic. I didn't have to sleep all day, and didn't have to wipe the ooze dripping off my eye all the time anymore!

FYI May 20 is also the day I went into the Missionary Training Center...NINE years ago. Wow, how time flies. Ohhh yeah it's time for church. Better hop in the shower. Will beef up the story later when I have more time, but wanted to give you the skinny up front!

I have some pictures as well, if you'd like to see some. I don't have any of when it was super bad, when it was all crusty that I couldn't open my eyes. That was the worst.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jacksonville, FL

Sorry for the delay. I don't know why we had SO much trouble uploading these pics to picasa. But here's pics from our trip to FL. Jason managed to get Mark to be a guest speaker at his training meeting, and so Evan and I tagged along for some fun in the sun. It was nice to get away from the killer amounts of tree pollen in DC.
Thanks so much to Michelle for being such a great hostess and taking such great care of us and for introducing us to mochiko chicken. We're hooked. Mark's gotten pretty good at making it at home now. Thanks Michelle for getting my husband into the kitchen! ;)


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Apologize for the Slight Delay

So we're a little behind on our blogging. But rest assured, once we battle through each of our 'little' health issues, we will be up and running once again! If only Evan could blog. We've given up on Lucy. -- Mark