K is for Keratoconus

I had a check up today in the eye hospital. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I have an eye condition call Keratoconus in both eyes. I had a cornea transplant in 2010 in my right eye. My left eye is not bad enough for a transplant.

The doctor was great. He was very thorough and we went through options for my left eye. I was hoping one of those options might be another transplant, but I am grateful that it’s not at that stage. 🙂 He had a good look at the right eye and mentioned that the cornea transplant was excellent and the replaced cornea looks very good. I’m really pleased to hear that. I feel blessed to have contact with my cornea donor Brandon’s family in Indiana, USA. It means a lot to me that the cornea is healthy. I’m so thankful to have received it, and I want to take care of it.

I will be seeing a cornea specialist in a few months to have another consultation about the left eye. In the meantime, I can see, and I am grateful.

The picture to the right is an image I submitted to the Circle of Light photography project – which is connected to the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, where the cornea was sent from. I am holding my laptop with an image of Brandon on it. If you’d like to read an old post that tells some more of my cornea donation story, you can click here 🙂

We’ve made it! Day 10 of the 10 Day You Challenge – 1 Picture

Can you believe it? It’s Day 10 of the ’10 Day You Challenge’
I can hear the collective sigh of relief across the blogosphere 😀
10-days-you-challenge2 copy

Thank you so much for sticking with me. Some of you have been kind enough to send a message saying how you’ve enjoyed the series and I really appreciate that.

And so today – 1 picture

I’ve been thinking about this one for a few days now as it’s very hard to pick only one image. What do I go for? My wedding photo? A big sparkly Christmas tree? A photo of that gigantic chocolate fountain from The Vicar of Dibley?

Up until recently I said I was never one for photographs. I love old photos of family and holidays etc, but I’ve never been one to own a fancy camera and I get bored with other people’s photos very quickly. Don’t be offended, I get bored with mine too.
I didn’t join Pinterest until very recently because to me, it was all about images and I’ve always said I’m a ‘words’ girl. Never been too fussed about how stuff looks.

It occurred to me though, that in the last year something has changed. I’ve been wowed by photographs more in the last year or so than in my whole life (that I can remember anyway). Lately I’ve been ooohing and ahhhing at photos of sunsets, snow scenes, kids playing and yes… kittens! I KNOW…. ridiculous right? But I found myself doing the ‘tooooo cuuuuuute’ thing more often than I feel comfortable with 😉

Then a couple of weeks ago I spotted this and I kid you not… it took my breath away.

1. Carlow Fields of Gold, taken by John Ivory

Carlow Fields of Gold


I was so struck by the detail of this image. And the depth, it almost feels like inverted 3D – it just stretches back into the horizon. Aren’t the clouds just amazing?
I was surprised at how affected I was by this picture. Then it dawned it me…

It’s because I can see.

You may know that I had a cornea transplant just over 3 years ago and about a year ago I finally started to experience real improvement in my sight. Whereas I had been making everything larger on the computer screen and printing music enlarged, sometimes on A3 paper – now I can read a normal book and music from its proper score. I can see… and because I can see, I’m starting to appreciate images. The reaction I had to this photo has made me realise how far I have come. I thank God for my improved sight and I’m so blessed to be in touch with my donor’s family. Thanks to you too John 🙂

And so the 10 Day You Challenge is over – and I’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who is more relieved than I am! Thanks again for stopping by 🙂 x

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Photo credits:
The 10 Day You image above doesn’t seem to come from any central website but can be found on many that have done the challenge. Many use it but there does not seem to be any original source info available
Carlow Fields of Gold, by John Ivory – used with permission
I’ve used other photos of John’s recently, if you’d like to see them just click here.

10 Day You Challenge, Day 5 – 6 Places

Day 5 of the ’10 Day You Challenge’ 10-days-you-challenge2 copy Today – 6 places… 😉

1. Dargaville, New Zealand
Spent 3 months there after I qualified as a hairdresser in 1993 (I think). I worked with a former boss for a while and had great fun. Spent some time with Irish family in Brisbane while I was that side of the world.
Spent time with surfer dudes and Māori madsers, as well as the local Irish contingent – it was a great trip

Amo in NZ
Dargaville was very like Ireland, when the sun wasn’t splitting the stones…

2. Slovenia
This was part of a mission trip to Austria with a bit of time in Italy too. Slovenia was the hard part though. The poverty was such a shock to me. I had no idea that people could have so little and still be happy. I spent most of the time terrified and wishing I was at home. Serious comfort zone withdrawal that did me no harm whatsoever 😉

3. Bangkok
I spent 4 hours in Bangkok Airport and that was more than enough!
I was flying home from the above trip to NZ and there was a 4 hour stop in BK. The authorities there didn’t want us to get off the plane but we’d been on it for 10 hours. I, along with a number of passengers, kicked up a stink, and after about an hour of negotiations the passengers and crew were allowed off the plane for half an hour. We were escorted off the plane and onto shuttle buses at gun point with a guy screaming “20 minutes and you back on plane!” every 5 seconds.
It felt like some bizarre remake of Tenko!

4. America
I’ve been to California twice, New Jersey 3 times and Boston once and have loved it each and every time. Almost moved there at one stage but then I met some Welsh guy and well… you know the rest 🙂
Next time I want to go to Indiana to meet my cornea donor’s family.

I'm the smaller one (for a change :D )
I’m the smaller one (for a change 😀 )

5. Sorrento
We went to Sorrento for our honeymoon. It was a beautiful place (until we hired a car – we almost split up because of the stress of driving on Italian roads – but that’s for another blog post some day!) We stayed in a posh hotel, our room had a bell and you had to take a lift with the concierge down to the private beach. Fabulous!
The tour of Pompeii was pretty cool too.

6. Ireland
I love Ireland and being Irish 🙂
I think there’s too much of a downer in our country at the moment. Even though the government and the banks etc have let us down in many ways, it’s still a fabulous place to be from I reckon.
I’ve spent the last few days travelling around the S and SW of Ireland, and it’s the most beautiful place in the world if you ask me.

One of the many fabulous views on our trip around Dingle
One of the many fabulous views on our trip around Dingle

Psalm 24:1,2
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Photo credits:
The 10 Day You image above doesn’t seem to come from any central website but can be found on many that have done the challenge. Many use it but there does not seem to be any original source info available
The other 3 were taken by me.

Done and Dusted :)

I’ve been studying pretty much non-stop since I moved back into Ireland in 2007. I started by doing the last stage of my Theology degree by distance learning and then straight away started the Masters programme. If you read my Next Big Thing post I mentioned that the project I was about to embark on was my M.A. dissertation. Well I pondered it for a while and in the meantime had to majorly edit/rewrite a paper I’d already submitted.

I’ve been working on the MA for almost 4 years. My eye trouble slowed me down and after the cornea transplant I never really caught up. Then a year ago I started to write fiction and I’ll be honest, I let it distract me even further. It was too enjoyable to resist.

Clever cupcakes origin_2475149762
If I’m gonna graduate there must be cake!

So I’ve decided to take a long break from the M.A. Today I handed in the last paper – for now. Presuming I pass it, I’ll be able to graduate with a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Theology and because I’ve finished properly I can step back into the programme to do the dissertation stage and finish the M.A.

You know some decisions in life that are really hard? Well this one wasn’t. It was simple. Bottom line I want to be free to write about what two people on a park bench might say to each other.

Next to The Bible – the best book ever!

I am so grateful to the team at the Irish Bible Institute who’ve always been so supportive and when recently I was going to throw the towel in, they encouraged me to finish well and bow out in a way that left the door open for me to continue where I left off.

So… I can finally read Pride and Prejudice again. Before my studying started I read it every year since I discovered it. I plan to read lots of other stuff too and write plenty as well.

First stop – The Tribe Writers course by Jeff Goins. I’ve registered but til now have only dabbled.

Time to get stuck in…

photo credits:
clevercupcakes via photopin cc
My very own well-thumbed copy of P&P 🙂

I have seen the light (the telly and even the label on the soup tin)!!!

Yippee skippee and YEAY!!!!!!

Finally after almost 2 years of waiting to experience the benefits of my cornea transplant… I can see! The biggest difference is definitely with reading and typing. Everything had to be in 20pt and Arial or I couldn’t see it. And books…! Well I had to practically stick them to my nose to be able to read. (Not condusive to finishing an MA, I can tell you.)

I’ve got my new glasses now and it’s wonderful!

Not long after my op, in my regular piece in Vox Magazine ( http://www.vox.ie a great little magazine I highly recommend… and not just cos I’m in it :D) I told a story about a freak teapot accident I had while I was in hospital…

20 20 Vision?!
I recently had an eye operation. For a while the sight in my eye will be worse before it gets better and it is a slow but steady recovery.

A couple of days after the op I felt it was time to stop allowing people to pamper me. So when the staff brought me my tea on Day 3, I very firmly assured them that I was fine and needed no help.

I could see the tray and everything on it, I got my cup and saucer in front of me, picked up the teapot and promptly poured the tea into the saucer! I quickly grabbed what I thought was a white folded napkin and was mopping up the tea before I realised I was using the bread!!! Whatever I did next (and I’m not sure what that was), I sent the knife and fork flying off my tray and crashing to the floor.

I sat in the bed like a bold child who’d been caught doing something she shouldn’t have while a girl came back into the ward, took one look at the tray, one look at me, and without a word took the tray away returning with a new one; the tea already poured!

Although I could see all the things on the tray, I didn’t realise that I couldn’t really see them properly. I’m so looking forward to being able to see! My eyesight has been deteriorating for years. This op and the eventual op on the other eye will change my life and I’ll be able to see… clearly!

I’ve been reflecting on verse 12 in 1 Corinthians 13. The verse says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (ESV) And I realise that after all my ops and recovery I STILL won’t have 20 20 vision. That won’t come until much later.

In the mean time, I’ll probably keep spilling the tea of imperfection in to the saucer of life; mopping it up with the bread of blindness!!!

But one day…I’ll get there. Just you wait and see!

From June 2010 edition of Vox Magazine http://www.vox.ie

Ahh the blind ol’ days 😀

Up to (date with) my eyeballs… have I got yiz in stitches???

Thanks to everyone who’s been keeping up to date with my eye situation. I know not all of you are pray-ers but I do appreciate all the support and good wishes from everyone.  (For those who are new to the story I had a cornea transplant in March of 2010)

Today didn’t go as expected but it was still good news…

I have been working towards getting all the stitches out (there are 13 of the original 16 still in there). And I thought today would be the day. I had misunderstood the procedure and thought that I couldn’t move on to the next step of recovery… new glasses, contacts etc until that happened.

Seemingly the vision in the eye is greatly improved. The shape of the cornea is very good and the stitches are all secure. So in cases like these they tend to leave well enough alone. I asked if it’s possible they would leave the stitches in forever and the Dr said that it was possible as long as they didn’t cause any problems.

I explained that I can’t wear my glasses at the moment, ergo I can’t drive. I need my glasses to give me better vision in my left eye, but when I’m wearing them the vision in my right eye is so bad it makes the room spin. And it turns out that this is because I don’t need glasses for my right eye now. I can get clear glass in the right eye and have an updated prescription in the left eye and I should be fine, actually better than fine… to read and drive etc. It’s not 20 20 vision or anything like that in the right eye but clear glass would be enough and probably the wiser option as the vision/cornea may change again.  

So I’ve already booked in with my optician to get new glasses. 🙂

I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome and again I appreciate all the prayers and interest in my cornea transplant journey. I’m also really excited that my cornea donor Brandon and his family have become a part of the story. His parents Diane and Bill and their friends have been praying for me and I’m hoping to meet them please God, later this year.


Me and my cornea donor Brandon Tucker who went to be with Jesus on Feb 23rd 2010. Thanks Brandon x

In case you didn’t know, I submitted a photo to an exhibition run by the Circle of Light Foundation in Colorado. It is connected to the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, which sent the cornea to Ireland from the US. The photo is of me holding my laptop with a picture of Brandon on the screen. I hope you like it.

A x