Heather R. Breaux BLOG

Heather R. Breaux
October 11, 2007 at 10:59 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The countdown has begun - five ... four ... three ... two ... one - blast off, right through the swinging double doors and on to the operating table.

That's right, the time has finally come for me to go under the knife for my second eye operation - and I am SO ready.

When I sit back and reflect on the events that have occurred in my life this year, it's hard to grasp the concept that it's been over seven months since the retina in my right eye detached.

I was first told the the disturbing news in March. In June and after a major struggle with the state's health care system, my first surgery was performed.

Four weeks later, at the LSU Eye Clinic in Baton Rouge, I was told that the surgery didn't work and that my retina once again was out of place.

My doctors blamed it on scar tissue that built up in my eye after the surgery, but in my heart I placed the blame on the student that performed the surgery.

You see, I didn't have medical insurance. I'm 25 years old and never thought that something so serious could happen to me at such a young age.

I was denied for assistance by the state's department of health and hospitals because my condition didn't qualify me for permanent disability and I didn't meet the system's pay scale requirements.

Because I was single, had no children and made a decent living, I was ultimately forced to use the charity health system.

I got so tired of being asked if I had any kids or if I was pregnant, that I began to feel like asking for any help was a lost cause.

But I sucked it up and agreed to have the surgery performed at the Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge.

I was informed of the risks of surgery - loss of my eye, death and all the other complications that could arise while under anesthesia, but What I wasn't told was that a student, still working through her residency, was elected to perform my surgery.

My recovery from the first surgery was dreadful. Both of my eyes were extremely sensitive to light and the right eye watered constantly and I still can barely open it.

My days were planned out based on how my eye was feeling, and I have to admit that my condition has caused me to miss out on so much.

I've missed vacations, family gatherings and simple things like barbeques and other social events.

In August I was eligible to sign up for insurance through my employer, and by the grace of God was told that there was no pre-existing clause. My insurance would pay for my next operation.

I practically fell to my knees when I heard the news, thanking my higher power for answering my prayers.

By this time next week, the surgery will have been performed and I will be looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

I am a people person and love my job. I've spent so many days scared and so many nights thinking that I just don't have the time to be sick.

My self confidence has plummeted. I've gained weight and I can't stand to meet people face to face because of my partially opened eye.

One result of having a detached retina is having the eye shrink. My right eye is now half the size of the left one and it looks as though, even after the surgery, I will have to wear a partial artificial eye just to look normal.

My grandmother, in her sweet and comforting voice, tells me that I could be worse off. I could be paralyzed and I could be facing death.

And as devastating as all those things seem, I believe that it's different when you are faced, personally, with a life-changing event.

To me, my condition is unbearable. I will have to live the rest of my life with one good eye.

I worry if the prosthetic eye will be noticeable to those who don't know me. I worry about what my life will be like if something goes wrong with my good eye. I worry about one day becoming completely blind.

I have dreams that still need to be fulfilled. I want to write a best-selling novel. I want to own a mainstream magazine. I want to travel the world and see things that people dream of seeing. I want to live my life to the fullest, and I'm afraid that those things won't happen.

I've been on an airplane one time when I flew two years ago to San Diego to visit my fiance when he was working out of state.

I stood on a cliff that overlooked the Pacific Ocean and never felt more at home, and I am forever grateful for that experience.

These are the things in life that I want to accomplish. These are the things that I fantasize about experiencing.

I want to see the pyramids of Egypt and the Eiffel Tower in France. I want to feel the world at my fingertips. I want to live life to its fullest.

Maybe I am over exaggerating. Maybe all of these things are possible, but my mind overtakes my heart and all I can focus on is what could go wrong.

Tonight, like every other night, I will pray. I will pray for health. I will pray for happiness. I will pray for forgiveness for any sins that I have committed, but more importantly I will pray for life and the ability to live it.

I will pray for strength - the strength to overcome the obstacles that stand in my way - for that is what will take me through to another day.

I propose a toast to good health, happiness and to dreams that come true - may we all find that special something that makes us smile eternally and forever.

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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