Cutting into the eye – my experience with ICL surgery

It took me three years to decide.

I had hoped to have Lasik done to correct my vision, as a reward for a goal reached. Sadly I was given the news that I was not a candidate for Laser surgery.  I was given other options, but at the time nothing seemed like a good idea. They all seemed so….   dangerous and scary.

I thought about it off and on over the next three years, always wishing but never seriously thinking I would do it.   Finally, there was no longer denying it – It was time to shit or get off the pot because I was swiftly moving towards bifocals or progressives or what ever pretty name they want to give to the symptoms of “you’re getting old”

To me this meant bigger lenses.  Heavier lenses.  More pain in the ass.   I already had a hefty prescription at -8 and -7.5.   Headaches plagued me.  Sore ears.  Sore nose.   I really just could not imagine wearing heavier glasses and making all of those things worse.  So finally…  finally, I went in to talk to the doctor about my options.

I nervously attended my first appointment, not really knowing what to expect.   I’m sure the people at the clinic know that it’s a big decision and one that is quite scary, and they are pros at putting you at ease and explaining all the procedures to you, and how the procedures are performed.

When I talked to the doctor, I was presented with two options.  The option that seemed to make the most sense is called ICL.   This is, basically, cataract surgery, only they don’t remove your original lens.  They implant new ones along with your own. So, yeah, still 4 eyes… 😉

I went home and I thought about it for a while. I did a little research, both on the procedure and on my doctor.   I finally was ready to make my decision to go ahead and have it done.   I had heard very good things about Dr. Rocha from friends and acquaintances and I knew his qualifications were very high.  I decided to let go of my fear and put my trust, and  vision into this man’s capable hands.

I had surgery on two different days.  The right eye was done on the Thursday and the left was done on the Friday.   I had to use eye drops for 3 days in each eye before surgery.  I checked into the hospital and went through some basic procedures then they prepped me.   On Thursday I had only a pill to calm my nerves.   To prep my eye I sat in a chair and they froze my eye with drops.  Then they took a tiny piece of sponge that had been soaking in a numbing agent and placed in into my lower eye lid, and I was to then keep my eyes closed for 15 minutes.   When they removed it I was ready to go.   My pupil was dilated rather large.  I really had very little iris at this point.   I couldn’t see a damn thing, not that I would have been able to anyways without having my glasses on.  You see, I could only see 3 inches from my face before the surgery.

When they took me into the surgical suite, everyone was very friendly and talked to me, keeping me calm and comfortable.  My head was taped to the table so that I couldn’t move it, and I couldn’t help but think of that movie “Fire In The Sky” where the guy gets kidnapped by aliens and they lay him in a table and do all that stuff which I won’t get into here..  anyway…   after being taped into place, my eye was taped open, and I was draped with just my eye showing.   All along they kindly kept my eye hydrated, and I’m assuming they also used a disinfectant at one point because even though my eye was frozen, I could still feel a burning sensation, but it wasn’t very bad and only lasted a moment.

Then came the bright light with really made any vision impossible.   Dr. Rocha told me most of what he was doing along the way.   I couldn’t feel a thing other than some pressure and my eye being pushed around a bit.   The procedure probably only took about 10 – 15 minutes and it was all done.    I had a clear eye patch taped over my eye and I was wheeled back to the ward. Fifteen minutes later I was free to go, with an appointment to see him again later that day, and instructions to come back again the next day to do it all over again.

I could see somewhat, but not very well, because, don’t forget, my other eye was still at -8 and I couldn’t wear my glasses any more.   I went home and slept for a while, and waited for my pupil to shrink.   It took a long time, and was still enlarged when I went for surgery the next day.

The second surgery went exactly as the first, except that I got my calming potion by IV that day.   Really, it was all the same – given the choice, I’d probably pick the pill if I had to do it again, especially if you are the nervous type – as you get the pill right away, but you don’t get the IV until you are actually in the room on the table, so you may feel calmer sooner with the pill. Once the second eye was done, I could see better, though both pupils were dilated still, so things were quite fuzzy.

First eye
Second eye

It took almost three days for them to close up, which I think is a bit longer than the usual.   One of the ladies in the OR told me that she’s never seen anyone’s pupils get that big.  She said she had to keep looking at me because they were so big.   It concerned me the first night but I emailed Carley from the office and asked her if it was normal and she reassured me that it was ok.   What great service.   It was 9pm and she still responded to my concern.   It really put my mind at ease.  I had a few worries that I wanted to check about and I was never made to feel like I was a pain in the ass or inconveniencing anyone – even though I knew that I was.

I very much appreciated the professionalism of everyone involved.  I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Rocha.   He was wonderful!

The day after surgery we went to the grocery store, and I had these great big sunglasses they give you to protect your eyes.  I took them off while we were wandering around and a lady was standing there giving out samples and I looked up at her and she almost dropped her fork.  I think my freaky eyes scared the hell out of her!  I promptly put my glasses back on… IMG_5511 As for what to expect after….   Well, some blood spots.   It looks to me like my iris was a bit deformed in the photo taken the day after the second eye was done.  It’s round again now.   There was a little bit of pain off and on but more often than not it was just uncomfortable.   Itchy and scratchy, and I realized how much I normally would touch or rub my eyes!   It was a feat to keep my fingers out of them – but at the same time – if you even touched near your eye you knew to stop because they are so sensitive that you don’t WANT to touch them.

I had to put eye drops in 4 times a day for 4 weeks.  The worst of the uncomfortable feeling is probably the first 3 – 5 days.   Then things start to settle down.    What was worst for me was just adjusting to these new eyes.   My brain needed to learn how to use them all over again, it seemed.

Where I used to see three inches in front of my face, I could now see a mile away, but my “old” eyes still needed reading glasses.   I used to be blind in the shower, and I would have to feel my legs while shaving to know if I missed any spots, but holy crap could I see the stubble in my arm pits!!!  My close up vision was amazing!  If you ever needed a sliver removed I was your girl!!!    Now..   well, I look down and I can see it all (yikes!!!  not the best feature of the surgery,) but I can no longer see my arm pit and I have to feel for the stubble there.  And I am no longer the best sliver finder around, sadly 😦

My first day back at work was horrible – I am a picture framer.  We work on precision and exact measurements and I couldn’t see any of it.  I went to the store and bought 4 pairs of reading glasses – one in every strength because I had no idea what I needed.   (I now have 11 pairs of glasses around my house and work.)  That day I questioned my decision.  I thought to myself “what have I done??!! omg!!!”  It took me a good sit down and a reminder to myself that I just went through a major change and like the doctor told me, I had to be patient.  I was simply overwhelmed and I needed to just relax and take things as they came.

It can take months for my vision to stabilize. Even now, I have days where I can see better than others – and it’s perfectly normal.  My brain and my eyes are still learning to work together.  I’ve been seeing that way since 2nd grade..   that’s … uh..  40 some years (ok I’m not going to tell you everything…) and I can’t expect for it all to make sense in 3 days. Every night that week I just wanted to go home and hide, but by the next week the headaches were going away, the nausea from putting the reading glasses off and on all day subsided and I started to enjoy the freedom of sight.

I had to tape my clear eye patches to my face every night before bed.  Oh baby..  talk about feeling sexy..

I’n only posting this photo small because I look so ridiculous…

If you’ve never worn glasses maybe you won’t understand what it’s like.

What it’s like to go to bed and not take them off last thing every night, and wake up and put them on first thing every morning. You might not know what it’s like to not be able to go out into the cold and go for a walk with your dog or go snowshoeing or anything, really, because you are unable to put on a scarf because your glasses fog up and you can’t see. What it’s like to walk into a building full of people or stairs and have to wait for 5 minutes to be able to see. What it’s like to lie on your couch and watch tv and have your glasses dig into your head and nose. What it’s like to go to a class at the gym and have to take them off 3 times in an hour and try to wipe the sweat off of them using your already sweaty shirt (I’m a sweaty girl, ok?!) or have to push them up your nose every 5 minutes. Not fun trying to do that while you’re doing renegade pushups… What it’s like to wear or even buy sunglasses for the first time. Or to just see yourself in the mirror while you put lotion on your face every morning. Oh how you go to hug or kiss someone and end up hurting either yourself or them or both of you because your glasses get in the way. To not be able to hug someone and be able to bury your face into their neck and deeply breathe their scent.. because your glasses are in the way.

In some ways I felt naked without my glasses. I mean, I’ve worn them my whole life. They can kind of become like a security blanket; something you can hide behind. Bags under your eyes? no one can see them. Been crying? No one can tell if you don’t look them right in the eye. Feeling nervous – fiddle with your glasses…. all those things I was afraid I’d miss. And I suppose in some ways I do. I always tied them to my identity. I thought of myself as “the girl with the dark hair and the glasses”. The way I think about myself has changed now. I’m not sure how to refer to myself now. The girl with the dark hair, I guess *shrug* I still find myself trying to take them off before bed or a shower. It’s weird- grabbing at your own face for no reason and I laugh to myself every time.

My vision was 20/16 at my last check up. I’m now used to my reading glasses and in fact having fun with buying funky ones and wearing them at the end of my nose. They are so lightweight, and they give me that little bit of security blanket feeling from time to time. My vision will continue to adjust and improve over the next few weeks or months, and I’m looking forward to a life of freedom.

I now wake up in the morning and I look around my room and marvel that I can see it. All of it.  Would I do it again?   Absolutely.  Without doubt.

I wrote this blog because I’ve had so many people ask me about the procedure and tell me how they have dreamed of doing it, but have been too afraid. I thought I’d share my experience and it might help people to have a bit more information – some personal experience. If you have any questions maybe I can answer them. Save the technical stuff for your appointment, but if you want to know what it’s like, please ask away!

Sunrise Over Cancun

Sunrise Over Cancun

So, I didn’t take a LOT of photos on my trip to Mexico, but I did get up for the sunrise every morning while I was there. Those who know me well will know that’s a big deal because I am NOT a morning person….. but how often do I get to watch the sun rise over the ocean?

uh…. a few days every few years. So I didn’t want to waste any. So, yeah, you’ll be seeing a few sunrises from me over the next little while.

It really was a beautiful way to start my days there, and every morning was something that I looked forward to.


Signature Placement tutorial

So I made this tutorial about how to sign your art works a few years ago and was recently reminded of it, so I thought I would share it on my blog.   As a picture framer, I’ve tried to outline here the basics as a lot of artists don’t really know what happens to their work after it’s sold 😉

hope you find it useful!!




The Prickly business of Rejection



We’re all afraid of it.

We all avoid it.

It’s uncomfortable.  Embarrassing.  It steals your confidence.  Maybe a little bit of your soul.

And most times, it just plan old hurts.

What a good reason to just never step out of our comfort zones and take a risk, right?

The thing is, by risking nothing, we also gain nothing.

Sure, it’s easier to hide your talents, your thoughts, your ideas, your wants or your needs.  It’s easier to never stick your neck out and dare to ask for more or better.  It’s easier to just create our own little box of comfort and relax in it, never having to worry about those protective walls coming down.

But at the same time, nothing risked; nothing gained.  You’ll never know what could have been if you never try.  It takes guts..  to put yourself out there like that.  To let people see your vulnerable spots.  To risk the hurt, embarrassment and loss of confidence.

I remember when I, who has always been afraid of my own shadow, first tried to break into the needlework industry.  I meekly sent in my designs and I was rejected.   It hurt.  I kinda wanted to just throw up my hands and say “I suck!” and quit.  It would have been the easy thing to do..  to slink off into the corner and lick my wounds.

But I decided to try again.  And again…

It took six tries before my designs were accepted.  Damn..  I wanted to quit -but I had someone in my corner urging me not to give up.  And so I kept torturing myself, time after time, rejection after rejection.

When I was finally accepted……. I almost fell out of my chair!  I was SO excited!   Then suddenly it all seemed so worth it.

But even then it wasn’t smooth sailing.  I still had to have every single design accepted.  Through three publishers and several magazines over the years, each design was a risk; an assault on my confidence.

But you know what?  I got tougher.  I learned how to take criticism.  Oh – it was hard, all right.  I raged and I cried and I swore and I spent a good deal of time being pissed off.  But I learned, and I accepted and I practiced taking it.  It got easier as time went on.  I actually got good at it…  sort of.. ;P

Many of my biggest achievements and accomplishments in life came from putting myself out there and risking rejection.  My life is what it is today, because I took a chance at asking that boy out in high school even though it scared me to death.  luckily, he said yes.

This week my photography was rejected by a place I applied to and …….. it hurt.  yeah.  It did.  If I’m honest with myself, it did.  Even though I expected it, I prepared myself for rejection and felt sure that I wasn’t going to get accepted…..when it came down to it, it still sucked.  But it wasn’t the first time.  And it won’t be the last.

But that’s ok.  I’ll try again some time.  And again, and again.  And eventually something good will happen.  And if it never does, at least I know I tried.  I can feel good about that, and know that I gave myself a chance to find out instead of sitting there years from now not knowing what could have happened if only I’d taken a chance.

So…….. take a chance.  Throw yourself out there and be vulnerable.  You may bleed a little, but you’ll heal.
Sure, you could fall….  but what if you fly?

Clearing The Cob Webs

Clearing the Cob Webs

Every now and again we need to give things a good cleaning out.  Some call it spring cleaning, or deep cleaning, or what ever manner of description.

What ever you call it – it’s all the same thing.  A whole lot of work.  An exhausting task.  Not at all comfortable while you are doing it, but a necessity.

 Even our minds can become gunked up with goo.  Old resentments.  Worries.  Fears. Grudges. Anger.  Hate.  envy…… you name it the list is long.

 After a while there become little room for the good things that feed your soul.  Happiness.  Joy.  Sunshine. Forgiveness.  Kindness.  Caring.  Empathy.  Peace.  Calm.  Love.

 So now and again it’s a good idea to clear out the cob webs that hold you back.  Shake up the dust that has settled and collected for so long.  It’s a bit uncomfortable to start, but after it’s all over, and the furniture has been moved around, things look a lot different.  Fresher.  Cleaner.  Clearer.  More Roomy.  The air is fresher.  It tastes sweeter.

Yup..  time for some Spring Cleaning 😉   

OOPS!  I lost my head 5
OOPS! I lost my head 5

A Name Without A Face


We were issued a challenge to create a faceless self portrait for the month of January, so I created this series of photos.

Once again, seemingly indulgent, and I apologize for that….   but the idea for this spawned a few months ago and this challenge just gave me the opportunity to put my idea to use.

There is a thing that happens on line…  we’ve all seen it or been victims of it…  Sexual harassment.

Now there are people who will scoff at that – but it is a very real thing.  I know that I sometimes hesitate to visit my  sites because I know it’s there.  Every day, it’s just there.  Waiting for me to open my messages.  Creepy people I don’t know offering me their phone numbers and saying things that either don’t make any sense or just make me feel annoyed.   I look at my “other” message tab in FB and it’s full of creepy messages of love and adoration and invitations.  I look in my G+ messages and there are seriously, tons of invites to private hangouts and people asking me for things I will not give them.   I get emails through my blog and through my web site.  It gets very tiring and very discouraging.

Now, not for a second do I think I’m special.  As a matter of fact I think this is all too normal for us women.  We have no other options but to delete, and ignore.  It’s sad to me that in this day and age, there are still so, so many who think this behaviour is ok.

Now, let me say, I have a friend who once asked me why is that different from my “regulars” who make off colour jokes and statements?  The difference is that I KNOW them.  And I seriously know they don’t mean anything by it.  We have known each other for long enough that I know where it comes from.  It comes from a witty mind and not a serious one.  I am not a prude.  I can take or give a joke with the best of them.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.

So, I began joking that I was going to change my profile photo to one with a bag over my head just to see if it would stop the unwanted comments.

Then this challenge came along…

So I started shooting with the bag over my head and I started to feel uncomfortable (other than the feeling that I was suffocating).  I started to feel like I was selling out.  By covering my face, I’m covering my identity.  It’s like I’m saying I have to hide who I am, that I’m ashamed and why should I have to do or feel  that way?  I suddenly started thinking of women who HAVE to cover their faces because they are considered evil temptresses who cause men to do bad things.

We shouldn’t have to hide ourselves just because there are people who can’t control themselves. There is nothing wrong with showing our face.  It’s who we are.  Our very gender can’t be something that we should feel we have to hide.


I showed a couple of these shots to my good friend Peter, asking him to help me choose which one to use, and he said something very interesting to me….  he said that it was difficult to tell the different emotions in the photos because you had to just go on body language alone and there was no facial expression to rely on.  I found that very interesting, because in every shot I took here, I felt sad, alone and suppressed.


Almost every photo I post online I get at least one or more of these unwanted remarks.  A simple landscape or a flower will get them.  A cell phone selfy with my face will get them.  Even posts without any photos at all will get them. I fully expected and prepared to get more than usual on this shot I posted, because of the amount of skin showing… but ironically….  I did not get even one crude comment from a stranger….

Coincidence or something else?

You tell me….



OOPS I Lost My Head! The need for quiet time….

There are times in life when things can get a little overwhelming…  we need to get away from it all, and from them all..  and we just need to find a few minutes of “me” time… all to ourselves. Undisturbed.  The rule in my house when my kids were little was that if Mommy was in the bathroom, I was not to be disturbed unless 1)  someone was bleeding 2)the house was on fire.

If you broke the rules, Mommy lost her head….  😉


A Year Of Change

One Year Ago …

I installed an app on my phone and I decided it was time to get serious.

Get serious about my health.  About how I treat my body.  About how I will face the rest of my years.

You see, I was doing ok, really.  But I felt sluggish.  Sluggish and tired.  My cholesterol was starting to creep up.  Getting out of my chair was beginning to hurt.  Running up my stairs left me winded. I was out of shape (well, I WAS a shape… just not one I was happy with), getting older every year (yes, like the rest of the world) and knowing that it was only going to get harder with every passing year if I didn’t get my ass in gear.

I visited my doctor and arranged to have iron shots because I’ve been extremely low for years, and never able to catch up with it.  It was like an instant shot of life being transfused into me.  Without all that nasty digestive crap that I’d been putting myself through for years with so little results.  That was step one.

Step two was to finally get over myself and just decide to join a gym.  I hated gyms……..  I never really went to one before. The truth is I feared them.  I was afraid that if I went to one, I would be judged.  I’ve never, in my whole life been athletic.  Always the last kid picked for the team.  Always the write off in gym class that wasn’t worth the teacher’s time or effort.  Always the kid that wasn’t fast enough or strong enough or competitive enough.  I was the kid who was teased  or maybe even worse.. ignored.

So, off I went to the gym, with butterflies in my stomach and my heart in my throat.  Now, I already wrote a blog post about that first day and so I won’t rehash it.  (you can scroll back a few if you want to read it – it won’t be hard to find – I don’t’ blog that often…)  I was sure I was going to hate it.  That I’d last a month, maybe lose a lb or two and then decide it wasn’t for me.

Slowly I began to feel comfortable.  Then I actually began to like it.  I began to feel like I was part of a community.    I mean, most of these people I don’t talk to.  I don’t’ know their names, (I have affectionately given them names inside my head though) or their jobs or anything about them.  But there is a certain comfort in seeing those same faces every day.  Of acknowledging them across the room with a nod or a smile or even just  meeting eyes.  These people have no idea how much a part of my daily life they have become, but the truth is that I look forward to seeing them, even if we don’t speak.

Then there are the awesome staff and instructors at the Y.  What a great team! Through them I  have found so much encouragement and joy.  I can attribute SO much of my success this past year to them.  It is them, who kept me going back, kept things interesting, encouraged me to keep working, to work harder and stronger.  Who had faith that I could complete their crazy, amazing classes, even when I didn’t have that faith in myself. That showed me what I am capable of.  That I should believe.  They have given me the confidence back that I lost so long ago.

And then there is Terry.    He’s been with me every step of the way, making great gains himself.  We learned how to eat together.  How to work efficiently together. And how to support each other in our journeys.  Once again, I could not have done  all that I have without his support.

With the support of all these wonderful people I have reached goals that I have never even imagined, including becoming a certified fitness instructor and teaching fitness classes of my own. .  What an amazing thing..   to give back the things that were so freely given to me.

One thing I’d like to mention is that it’s hard to go to the gym for the first time.  People can feel afraid of being judged, and they think they need to get into shape first. I know I felt that way.  I felt SO conspicuous.  But the truth is..  everyone is there for the same reason.  We all started somewhere, and honestly, when I see a new person at the gym I am happy for them.  Happy for them for wanting to make a change and get healthier.  And excited for them, because I know if they stick with it, it is going to make them healthier and the personal achievements to be had are so amazing!

So, here are my one year totals…

I have lost approximately 55 lbs.  (it varies a few lbs from week to week, of course)

I have lost 10 pant sizes.  From a size 16/18 to a size 6

Neck   from 15 to 13.5 inches

Waist from 42 to 35 inches

Hips from 46 to 37.5 inches


And now my Pearls Of Wisdom….



  • My body was tired because I never gave it a chance to wake up
  • My mind was more tired than my body
  • Your body, if given a chance, WANTS to move.  It IS a machine and it needs the proper fuel and the chance to work
  • It feels good to feel strong
  • I miss my boobs.  They went first 😦
  • Buying clothes is a lot easier now
  • Buying panties and bras that fit properly is still a pain in the ass
  • I have veins that I never noticed before.  I kind of like them
  • No matter how much weight we lose, we will never look like what we imagine we will.  I always thought I’d be curvy. Turns out I’m straight up and down 😦
  • Stretch marks never go away, nor the skin that increased with them
  • People will try to make you eat crap, 5 minutes after they praise all your hard work and success
  • You will spend a lot of time defending your food choices.  (AKA = really, I don’t miss french fries.    Seriously!!)
  • Cholesterol?  Not an issue any more
  • When you lose fat, your wrinkles become more noticeable
  • It feels pretty good when you tell your son that you are going to a Manitoba Fitness Council convention and he just smiles at you and says “who would have ever thought?”
  • My body still gets tired..  but it’s a different kind of tired now
  • My body does not look like I imagined it would if I ever lost weight.  Sadly, not even close
  • I know that I will never be truly happy with what my body looks like.  I will always think “if only this or if only that”  but I’ve also learned that it’s ok to love it all the same
  • You never get over craving chocolate or peanut butter.. or both at the same time
  • It takes great dedication and sacrifice to achieve so much in a short time… but it’s worth it
  • Spaghetti squash makes a great pasta substitute and it sounds really cool when you drop it on the floor at the grocery store
  • Buying a whole new wardrobe is damn expensive
  • People you know will not recognize you and walk right past you
  • It might not necessarily be WHAT you are eating – but HOW MUCH of it you eat
  • People will suddenly call you a “skinny bitch”.  that’s not fair.  I worked hard.  It wasn’t luck
  • Losing weight and getting in shape will not make you a super star..  you already are one
  • People want to know the “magic secret”.  There isn’t one.  It’s hard work and sacrifice – but it’s totally worth every bit
  • People expect you to “stop” once you reach your goal.  This is a lifetime thing.  It will never stop.  I shall forever be a work in progress
  • I may not miss french fries..  but I sure do miss Cheezies…

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how much weight you lose, or how much your body changes, or how much healthier your yearly physical tests come back, you will always still find something about yourself to be unhappy about.  So don’t wait to love yourself. Don’t waste time.  I kick myself that it took me so damn long to do this.  Love yourself now.

Love yourself first, and then work on the rest.  We spend too much time hating on ourselves.  Wear your best perfume, drink out of your crystal glasses, dance like you don’t care if anyone is watching, and love yourself.


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