It has been a week and a half since I told you all about the problems that I was facing with my eyes. As a reminder, I was told by the eye doctor in Cameroon that I had a retinal detachment that required surgery to repair, and was advised to do it ASAP. I decided to come to the United States, as medical care here is very advanced and eye surgery is quite delicate. So, here is what has happened since.
- I did NOT have a retinal detachment! This was great news! I got in on the 4th of October and by the 5th, was in to see a retinal specialist. They could find no detachment. Now, here is what is thought-provoking. The eye doctor here in the States said that a retinal detachment is pretty difficult to miss... while it is possible that the doctor in Cameroon was just completely incompetent, I think we shouldn't rule out of the power of prayer. So many people were praying for me, I think it is entirely possible that I DID at one point have a detachment, but God answered prayers. Anyways, we will have to wait for heaven to know for sure, but in any case, PRAISE GOD!
- I did have retinal tears and weakness. (For more on retinal tears see here.) This means that a retinal detachment was very likely. I have very bad myopia, and this is a major risk factor for retinal detachments. Since a detachment while in Africa would necessitate another emergency trip, the retinal surgeon recommended that I have laser surgery to repair some of the tears and holes and essentially tack the retina more firmly to the wall of the eye. This surgery took about 25 minutes and was an outpatient procedure.
- What was causing my loss of vision was a different problem however. I suffer from a condition called Keratoconus. This means essentially that my corneal wall is weak and a part of the cornea is bulging outwards abnormally. This was responsible for the loss in vision that I had experienced. In order to solve this problem, I am making a switch from soft to rigid contact lenses. This should help my condition stabilize, and this is something to pray about, as if it continued to worsen, it might eventually necessitate a corneal transplant. The chance of this is slim though, and through your prayers, unlikely.
- I picked up my contacts yesterday and head back to Cameroon on Tuesday of next week. Thanks for all your prayers and concern. I believe it made the difference between major surgery with extensive down time and a simple outpatient procedure and speedy return home. Thanks for also keeping my family in your prayers. They continue to do well and I am very much looking forward to seeing them next week!
Some of you have asked about expenses and costs involved in this situation. Here is a brief breakdown of what we have had to spend so far. Any help that you could provide would of course be appreciated, as this was an unplanned expense. Thank you and especially thank you for your prayers!
- Plane tickets, plus changes to return on the 20th- $1,594 + $380.
- Laser surgery to repair holes and reinforce retina- $4449
- Corneal specialist for the Keratoconus- $74 (The doctor waived his fee (a couple hundred dollars) since I am a missionary... we only had to pay some of the administrative costs. Praise God!)
- Optometrist for the rigid contacts- $250
- Semi-rigid contacts, specially made for me- $450.