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Details & Thoughts as they led up to the day of my Cornea Transplant


About a year ago it all started, or should I say – nearly ended. I knew something was wrong as I drove home late that evening, but I had no idea that it was the last night I would spend in the house I came to call my home. My time with the girls would came to an abrupt end.

From: Blog: Out of the Blue (2016)

(If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend it so you can better understand the rest of this post)

The one day I had freedom and sight and the next I was losing both. A very aggressive bacteria broke through the defenses of my eyes and started eating away at its corneas (the transparent layer at the front of the eye). Something of a nightmare that wouldn’t end for weeks and months. It affected every area of my life and made me very dependent on others.

With the help of an Ophthalmologist* the right eye got stabilised and has no permanent damage. The real battle centered around the left eye. The bacteria was prevented from reaching the iris, which would have destroyed my eye completely. It got so badly scarred that only a blurry 10% of disturbed and confusing vision is what is left today.”



Spending time at the “beach” before the transplant.

By the end of 2016 we came to the conclusion that the soft approach of using specialized contact lenses wasn’t going to work. The damage of the cornea’s surface was too severe. I was referred to another Opthalmologist* who specifically works with more complicated cornea transplant cases.

According to the Doctors report I had had a central corneal ulcer of the left eye.  This had healed after the previous year’s treatment, but left my cornea with a prominent, central corneal scar that included the visual axis.  The Doctor concluded that “the resultant vision is of such a level that the patient is unable to function on a daily basis. The best course of action for the patient is to undergo a corneal transplant (deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty).”

The cornea transplant was scheduled to take place on the 7th of February 2017, almost a year after the initial infection took place.


An interesting conversation took place while I was praying specifically about my future.  This happened about a week before the infection started in 2016.  In a moment, and it doesn’t happen often, Jesus spoke these words very clearly: “Do you trust me?” Not exactly the kind of question I had expected. With caution in my heart and a little hesitation I answered: “Yes, Lord… but, I also know that trust is like faith – it doesn’t help if I trust You today, but can’t keep it up”. I was puzzled. Do you trust me? Why would he specifically ask me that?

About a week later, I lay in bed in my parent’s house, barely able to discern light from dark.


Trust is a funny thing. Just like with faith, we often attach emotions to it. But, emotions can be very deceptive. When we feel good, we tend to become more trusting and vice versa.

It is so easy to confuse trust in someone with trusting them merely for something. I often felt like my relationship with God should translate into healing or some other supernatural intervention that would communicate hope.  At this point it is so easy to lose trust in God as He is not conforming to our ideas and understanding of what we believe He should do.

I tried to move a wall that couldn’t be moved.  I had to come to a point of not fighting my situation in the throne room, but to surrender it to the King. I had to learn a way of surrender that does not involve giving up. 

I had to learn a way of surrender that does not involve giving up.


The process of losing sight and my inability to get a grip on my circumstances humbled me. In some ways it broke me. It wasn’t just what had happened to my eye, but that it was such a long process and the amount of inner strength it took from me to kind of keep my head above the waters.


When the light falls at the right angle, the suture causes a circular reflective pattern on my eye.

It was the morning after the operation, when the Doctor had me open my eye that I realised, “the wound is where the light shines through.”** That was it, no shapes or tonal values, just the bright light of the microscope.

Since that morning the intense light sensitivity, impulses of pain and irritation have decreased daily. I can see shapes and colour. My vision is still very blurry and confusing, especially when I see anything bright. It seems my vision should improve and stabilise somewhat over the next 3 months which is when the Doctor will start to adjust the suture in an attempt to try and limit the astigmatism***. I have one continuous suture as oppose to the other option of 16 individual ones.  This process will continue over the course of 12 months after which he will remove the suture – with a tweezer!

What my vision will be like after all this is uncertain, but we should be able to correct my vision with glasses. I look forward to that day!


The blue circle at the top shows what the continuous suture looks like when the cornea is viewed from the front. It zig-zags 16 times. In good light I can see the very fine suture with my right eye when I look in the mirror. Apparently the thread used is thinner than a strand of hair. A rough estimate of the position of the transplanted cornea’s edge is indicated on the main cross section by two darker lines and corresponds with the darker line on the front view of the cornea at the top.


So, today I stand on the bright side. The surgery itself has been a success.  There has been no rejection of the cornea and I pray it will stay this way –  It is a time to receive.  I saw the light and I have new hope.

In this process I often failed. I didn’t always know how to trust, in fact, I realised that there is still much to learn about trust. In life there is the theory, and then the practical. Trust, just like faith, gets tested.

In hindsight, I know that I would have ended up bitter and with a hardened heart had I not chosen to trust in God’s sovereign will.  Something I need to keep on doing. 

During the course of our lives we all go through challenging times.  I am certainly not the only one.
May you also get to the bright side.

A few days before the surgery I heard the Lord speak again – again something that has to do with the topic of trust. This time it was a gentle gesture. An open hand and an invitation to take it and start walking on the water. I saw the ocean and knew in my Spirit: A new season has begun, a season with a line on the horison.

More about that @ Blog: No Mans Land & Beyond”.

“The wound is where the light shines through

The wound is where the light finds you”
~ **Switchfoot: Writer(s): Jonathan Mark Foreman & Timothy David Foreman ~

*Ophtalmologist: is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. They are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery.

***Astigmatism: a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature, which results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common focus.



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» Personal Story » EYE BLOG 2: ON THE BRIGHT...

March 9, 2017


  1. Debbie Swinton says:

    Wow…. Al hoe wel ek soort van deel was van die *journey* wat jy deur is (met almal wat jou ondersteun het) dit nog steeds my raak.
    Die ongelooflike geduld wat hierdie proses van jou en jou geliefdes vereis het, is weer eens ‘n bewys van hoe ver jou geloof getrek het en hoe jy moes wag…. Feitlik 12 maande voor die operasie kon plaas vind, en nou weer eens 12 maande vir herstel.
    Hierdie skildery is vir my ‘n weerspieel van die *pad* vorentoe….
    die turkois-blou kamer en die kleure van die see…. die herstel pad vorentoe en miskien.. net miskien is die see-landskap presies wat die toekoms inhou….vir jou en Sybrandt.
    Alles maak sin vir my ….
    Sterkte vorentoe… en hou vas aan jou geloop soos jy al reeds doen…. ek dink jy slaag volkome daarin. Xx

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