$*(@%! Ouch! Lasers AND Avastin injection yesterday!


#1

Man what a day I had. :disappointed_relieved:

I’m finally past not saying that I have no serious diabetic complications. (Actually, last year I was treated for a frozen shoulder, but that resolved itself after a few weeks of p/t.)

Last Thursday I was at the movies taking part in a team offisite for work. I was talking to a co-worker in the movie theater lobby and pop. I see a flash and blood in my left eye. I now know that was a vitreous hemorrhage. At the time, I had no idea what it was, and I have a really stupid habit of trying to ignore changes even when they’re serious.

Clearly, this was serious, but I didn’t go to the doctor until Saturday. I’m just glad that they have an acute care center. I called Friday afternoon, set a Monday appointment with my ophthalmologist, and then called the acute care center. They encouraged me to come in first thing the next day. I did and was there all.day.long because they wouldn’t let me leave until after I saw two ophthalmologists. The only reason they let me go was they didn’t find evidence of a significant retinal tear, and I had that Monday morning appointment already. I got there yesterday thinking I’d be done and back to work around noon.

Instead, they dilated my eyes and ran a few tests. Then they decided they had to move right away. They zapped my left eye with lasers to kill the blood vessels that were popping up, I got an injection of local anestesia, and then got an Avastin injection. I didn’t take well to the injection, so my attempt to drive home was sheer torture. It’s also been rainy in the San Francisco Bay Area and a heavy downpour started just as I was getting off of the Bay Bridge. I was in tears by the time I got home. I’m glad my boyfriend is home most days. I called my ophthalmologist. They gave me the okay for lubricant eye drops, which I know just to have on standby should another injection follow. He snapped into action and went out to get me some lubricant eye drops. My eyes were very dry and felt like I had something in them, which is a side effect of Avastin. I was also really sensitive to light even after the dilation wore off, which is another side effect. Overall, it was just a brutal day. I eventually talked to my ophthalmologist on the phone and she said most people only have one of the two proceedures in a day. The fact that I had both, well, yeah…I was in for a bit of turmoil.

Today, my joke is I look like an extra from a cheap horror movie because my left eye is very red and irritated. However, I keep reminding myself that I’ve got a great medical team. I already had an appointment for April for them to look, and they’d decided that I had to have eye exams twice a year vs. once as they saw changes the last time I’d gone in. It’s so scary, but I know that this can be managed. It’s better to go thro:hospital:ugh this now than to go blind.

My numbers aren’t bad - 6.8 a1c. I have to get a handle on the deviation between the numbers, and shoot for getting that to the low 6s or even into the 5s. I also have to up my physical activity by walking more. I go back in 4 weeks to the ophthalmologist. I hope them I get clearance to up my physical activity too.

Thank goodness for modern medicine and living near a teaching hospital. :hospital:


Avastin Restores
#2

Thanks for sharing @Regina.

Hearing your story makes me less fearful of the complications that may come. After 29 years of reaonably controlled diabetes I had a little bleed show up last August. The good news it hasn’t progressed and is very minir. The retina speacialist is not concerned and we are just monitoring on a yearly basis. He helps a lot of diabetics and is confident in his work.

Since this event, I got scared and went into full-on diabetes improvement mode. I got a CGM and now have A1Cs in the low 6s. Still shooting for a high 5 though :slight_smile:

Good luck on keeping the blood sugars in line! It sounds like you are keeping positive but here is a friendly reminder not to blame yourself for those diabetes complications.


#3

Looks like we’ve both had type 1 for about the same amount of time.

I’m trying to stay positive. There were definitely some tearful moments because this is scary.

I tried a bit too hard today regarding my blood sugars, so had a really bad low that I’m recovering from now along with the paranoia and fear that comes with that sort of a low.

I’ll get it balanced. I have to. :slight_smile: Good luck to you! I hope yours doesn’t progress as far as mine has too!


#4

So sorry to hear you had to go through all this, but happy that things are on the mend and getting back to normal. I had to have laser surgery for a torn retina (not D-related); the pain was almost as severe as my record-breakingly large kidney stone. So I can almost imagine what you went through.


#5

Thanks, @rgcainmd! It really wasn’t painful - a torn retina sounds just awful! For me, it was the side effect of having my left eye feeling so dry and like there was something in it. The sensitivity to light was awful too. I could tell I was no longer dilated, but it would hurt to be near any sort of light for awhile.

Should I have that injection again I know that will probably happen to me. Next time, I’ll be ready with those drops, and I’ll be better prepared to fumble around in the dark. :milky_way:


#6

Hope you continue to have your vision improve. Nancy


#7

Thank you, @twinchick! I hope so too. A few days in, my eye is recovering. The redness is still obvious, but it’s diminishing little by little. I still have part of the hemorrhage in my vision, but I hope the injection will help that dissipate quickly. What gives me a bit of faith is reading the posts from so many here who’ve also gone through similar treatments.


#8

Back today for a follow up. The left eye is recovering and they’re taking lasers to my right eye today to keep the leaks and chance of hemorrhaging in check. I’m glad I’m a fairly complaint patient. I can’t imagine how scary these complications can be if you’ve neglected yourself or don’t even know you have diabetes.


#9

I hope your laser surgery goes well. Good luck!


#10

Thanks, @Terry4! My doc said I got around 800-something zaps to my right eye today. I can’t even remember if the resident who did it last time told me how many zaps. Actually, I think she said she did around 1500. (Time for me to start keeping a count.)

I’m home now with one hell of a case of dry eye. In a way that’s good. Last time I got an Avastin (sp?) injection AND laser zaps at the same time. I thought it was the injection causing all this trouble.

Now I know that it’s the laser zaps that give me dry eye and that caused most of the awful side effects. The injection seems to have been the least of my worries that day.

I know from before it’s best to just put some lubricating drops in my eye and try to sleep it off. I wake up feeling better as it gives the eye that was under attack a bit of time to just rest. Plus, this time I was prepared with eye drops and an eye patch, which makes things much easier. Seems like this is going to be a monthly drill, so now I know: stock up on eye patches, lubricating eye drops, and definitely plan on working remote on the day and the day after I see my ophtamologist.


#11

From my limited perspective, you are dealing with this well. I imagine its a tough thing to come to terms with. I think facing a threat to your vision requires bravery. I wish you the best!


#12

It was scary about 6 months ago when my A1c was around the same as what it is now, 6.8/6.9, which isn’t bad for a type 1. My ophtamologist said I had the early stages of retinopathy and bumped up the frequency of my visits from once a year to every six months. That was scary.

Then my left eye blows up, and that was really scary. The fear is there. However, I go to a university-affiliated teaching hospital exactly because it gives me an incredible medical team. These are the people actively doing the research to find new treatments. Yesterday the senior doctor performed the laser surgery. I knew I was in very capable hands. Through this whole thing they’ve been thorough and aggressive to contain this. Unless something goes very wrong. I won’t lose my vision. I’m a compliant patient, so I’ve been going to get these eye exams for years. It’s just after 30-something years with this I’ve finally developed a serious complication.

How I calm myself down is just to do as much research as I can, which is why TuDiabetes and other health sites are a godsend. I remember when I was diagnosed with type 1 years ago. I was in university, so I had access to a ton of books. It took a lot longer to find info, but once I did, the fear went away. It’s just then you didn’t have any community of other people going through similar things. That makes this and other sites really great!


#13

I believe many of us here share this healthy coping mechanism. The more one can learn about the nature of a medical problem, the better they are at making the small marginal choices that can add up to a meaningful benefit as well as the bigger choices, like choosing your medical care team.

Thank you for telling your story here. Writing about it has two advantages. First, the written word persists, so that means someone in the future, burdened with the same circumstance, can access your story and make an important emotional connection. Second, writing is great therapy. When I write, I think more clearly.


#14

Bringing this one back up. I’ve been going to the ophthalmologist every three months since that flare up in February. I had an appointment scheduled for next Monday, but my left eye went rogue again. I could see shadow growing, so I went in yesterday instead.

I got another injection but that was after being held captive in their office until they confirmed that I didn’t have a torn retina. Clearly, retinal tears are hard to spot in some cases. I’m glad they’re being thorough for sure. However. it meant I didn’t get an injection until the end of the workday.

This time it wasn’t as bad because I now carry a bottle of lubricating drops in my diabetes case just for the purpose of having them after an eye treatment. This is awful but necessary, so I have to roll with it.


#15

My medical team tried hard but after over a year of dealing with hemorrhaging in my left eye, I’m probably going to have a vitrectomy next week.

I’m a little scared of course. I think they were avoiding surgery because my vision is 20/20, but the scar tissue has built up and is pulling on my retina.

I go in on Monday for one more visit, and they’ll decide then. I’m just freaked out a bit because my ophthalmologist already wrote up prescriptions for the eye drops I’ll need post-surgery. I think he’s decided I’m going in but is being gentle with me when he says they’ll make a decision (or maybe that’s just how they do it.)

This is diabetes complications full on. I had a frozen shoulder a few years ago, but PT took care of that. This is a lot more complex.


#16

I had a vitrectory in late 1980s and know the procedure is much improved now. I was admitted to hospital, and stayed 3 days after, to ensure I kept my head face down to keep retina held in place. In my case, they recommended I wait for 6 months before surgery, in case it would heal/improve on its own. But it did not improve, and during the wait, more scarring occurred. So I had no vision in that eye for about 6 months.

After the surgery, about 80% vision was restored. The doctor said later, that would have likely been better if done sooner. But they didn’t have the same tools they have today, so it was more risky, thus the caution to wait.

My understanding is the process is now done in office, without hospital stay. Did they tell you any details ?


#17

Several posts mention the redness and irritation after an eye injection. I have no eye complications from diabetes, but I get injections for macular degeneration. My injected eye sometimes remains scratchy for the next 24 hours. But one thing I’ve been doing is to use a nighttime eye salve. It’s about the consistency of Vaseline. You apply a thin bead of this to the inside of your lower lid and then keep your eye closed. In the morning, it almost always feels much better. I’ve forgotten the name of this, perhaps Refresh PM? But drug stores carry generic brands as well. It should be in the same section as the regular daytime eye drops.


#18

I’ve mastered the eye injections at this point. My last one was perfection as the doctor rinsed my eye throughly, and that was all she wrote: no irritation or dryness.

The first one was just torture. The second one was bad but not as bad because I had the lubricating eye drops. Now I know, however, that the secret is simply rinsing the eye thoroughly after the injection.

And, yes, the drops are the Refresh drops. In fact, they’re on duty right now. My eye was a little dry last night because I got laser yesterday because they wanted to see if that could contain the pulling, but then he realized that I’m probably going to need surgery. It will depend on how my eye takes the laser, but it’s been over a year since my first hemorrhage and, based on my exam, things seem to be getting just bad enough that they feel like they need to go in.


#19

It’s outpatient and you don’t have to face down anymore. They’ve made a lot of improvements with the procedure. Here is a video from the Mayo Clinic explaining the modern procedure. http://medprofvideos.mayoclinic.org/videos/macular-hole-repair

My vision is now 20/20, so that was one reason they wanted to see if it could resolve itself. Unfortunately, my left eye is not cooperating.


#20

oh my this is really scary you can end up blind… I really hope diabetes can be cured in the near future.