Having an eye implant doesn’t help me see any better but it helps others see me better.

 

 

Hi, my name is Amanda Guthrie and I am 13-years old and live in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. On March 29, 1999, I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. It is a form of cancer that develops in soft tissue. The cancer was located in my right eye.

After going through rounds of chemotherapy and radiation from June 1999 to 2001, the tumor was still there. In April 2001, I was referred to a doctor in British Columbia who specialized in Rhabdomyosarcoma.  After examining me, he told us I could go through a more powerful round of chemotherapy or have an operation to remove my eye. I had the surgery to remove it on April 19, 2001. I was in the hospital for only two days and was able to return to school within one week. I didn’t have too much trouble getting used to it as I had not been able to see with my right eye for over two years. At first, wearing an eye patch was kind of annoying because I couldn’t go swimming or wear sunglasses. After a while, once it healed enough, I could do everyday things again.

I wore an eye patch for two years. During this time, the eye specialist in Saskatoon, who I was seeing regularly for checkups, referred me to COMPRU (IRSM) in Edmonton. I was very excited to find out more about prosthetic eyes. When my family and I arrived at COMPRU (IRSM), we met Dr. Wilkes and Dr. Wolfhaardt. They explained how I could get fitted with a prosthetic eye, but that it would take a long time to finish the process. We decided to get this done.

In August 2002, my Dad and I went back and forth to Edmonton for seven and a half weeks while I had hyperbaric oxygen treatments to strengthen the bones around my right eye socket. All of the technicians that worked in that part of the hospital were very friendly and funny. They always made faces at me when I was in the oxygen chamber. I got to watch a lot of movies and go to West Edmonton Mall nearly every day. My Dad really enjoys shopping especially with a teenage daughter!!

After the oxygen treatments were completed, I had surgery to place sleepers in my eye socket to which abutments would attach. I had another surgery where the doctors attached the abutments to the sleepers. Once this was completed, I returned home to go back to school and prepare for the next stage.

In July 2003, I returned to COMPRU (IRSM) where Rosie, my anaplastologist, began the process of building my new eye.  Even though it seemed to take a long time, I enjoyed the time I spent with her and all the other people at COMPRU (IRSM). It was very interesting to watch them at work. I learned a lot and had a great time.

When I was finally fitted with my new eye, I couldn’t wait to get back home and show all my friends and relatives what I looked like. It was worth the wait.

From Heather and James Guthrie:

A very special thank-you to everyone at COMPRU (IRSM) for their special care and attention to Amanda. To Rosie, you have given Amanda new confidence and her smile couldn’t be brighter.

 

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