Details and pictures can be found here:
Part 1: http://imgur.com/gallery/Rtexn
Part 2: http://imgur.com/gallery/YIcft
Part 3: http://imgur.com/gallery/yDXag
Part 4: http://imgur.com/gallery/Caayi
Part 5: http://imgur.com/gallery/abW4l
Part 6: http://imgur.com/gallery/PnMW4
Part 7: http://imgur.com/a/sCJhM
Part 8: http://imgur.com/gallery/JpwvO
Part 9: http://imgur.com/gallery/ZEzS9
Part 10: http://imgur.com/gallery/yX598
Part 11: http://imgur.com/gallery/WMPBJ
Part 12: http://imgur.com/gallery/kAXAK
My friend, Erica Diaz recently lost a good portion of her eye to glitter. That's right, I said "glitter". While cleaning up, a piece of glitter fell into her eye, and cut her cornea. The cut opened her eye up to infection. The infection quickly spread throughout her eye, filling her eye with pus and causing her excruciating pain from the pressure.
On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, Erica had emergency surgery on her eye, to try and save it. While they were only supposed to take a small portion, they ended up needing to take out much more than anticipated. Also, during the surgery, because of the extent of the infection, the anesthesia did not properly work and she had to be sedated more than originally planned. Erica has extensive allergies and sensitivities, which makes surgery, anesthesia and post op care even more challenging.
Erica is an awesome mom to two beautiful young girls, a devoted wife to her loving husband and an entrepreneur, owning and operating her own business, NerdSwag. She is also an accomplished writer as well. Losing her vision in one eye has caused the family a significant amount of stress, financially and emotionally. I have started this gofundme to collect money to help her and her family pay their monthly bills as well as extra funds for medications and other medical necessities not otherwise covered by her insurance.
I was previously unaware that the updates could not be seen by viewers (if they can, please let me know and I will edit this back down), so I went through the gofundme and pasted all of the updates as they occured. When I started this, she still had both eyes and we had no idea that she was going to lose it. We knew that there might be a chance, but we all hoped that she would regain eyesight in that eye and live happily ever after. Please enjoy the rollercoaster we were all on last year up until a few days ago:
It's a new month and that means new bills. Both Erica and her loving husband have been completely focused on this emergency that has befallen their family and the latest medications are not covered by insurance. Please share. Thanks.
Erica had more surgery yesterday and is feeling sucktacular, so her loving husband sent me this update:
Saw the dr's today, they all looked at her eye and say it looks good, for what it is. What that means is it looks good for an eye that is still infected and missing the lens and all the vitrius fluid. Her eye pressure is 4 today. Which is low, but without the fluid in and behind her eye, that's what it is. They want to start her on new anti fungal meds orally and also start doing more shots into the eye with anti fungal meds. She is in a massive amount of pain due to the surgery and all the scraping/pus removing they did yesterday plus the shot in the eye yesterday and the day before. They want us back at 10 tomorrow so they can do another shot in the eye.
I asked lots of questions today about why we're doing reactive things instead of proactive and try to get AHEAD of the infection. Why haven't we just taken the eye if she won't be able to see out of it and the infection is all through the eye? At what point does that become an option? And how far are they willing to let this happen infection spread before they make that decision? Since it's this aggressive, why aren't we just moving in front of the infection, take the eye, and save my wife??
They're nice dr's and answered my questions:
1) they're trying to stop/control the infection before it damages the retina and optic nerve. And while the infection is in the back of the eye now, it hasn't affected either of those.
2) There is still a fair chance she will be able to regain some sight in that eye, however slim. And because the infection hasn't hit the retina and optic nerve yet, there is still a chance of saving the eye itself.
3 and 4) 2 weeks at most, depending on the infection and if they can stop/control it. If at any point before then it becomes necessary, they'll change tatics and make that decision then.
4) All the reasons above.
So, there you have it.
I'm sorry if this is "old news", but I was away for the weekend. This is Erica's latest update from her loving husband on Friday:
Ok, today's updates.
Had a 10am appointment, left the house at 9. At 9:20, we were back home because Erica was so nauseous that we couldn't make the drive. She was also having blinding flashes of light in her eye, searing headache, chills and shakes. Called the dr and he was worried that something had happened to her eye, so he wanted her down there asap. Our friend Nicole Sexton came by, picked her up, took her down there right away, because I had to be at work at 2, and took care of her for me. So, once she got there, she was taken in right away, sent down for an ultra sound, where, if you're friends with Erica you already know, the poor woman flipped out because Erica's not healed yet. Back upstairs she went, saw NINE dr's. That's right, NINE. They all looked at her eye, went out and talked, came back in and delivered this news:
The eye is no better and no worse. That's good news. At this time, taking thr eye is not looking necessary. Also good news. The infection, while hostile and fast moving, is not the type to spread to other parts of her body, like her brain.
More good news. They took her off some of her meds, dropped the amount she has to use the rest of her meds and did not get a shot in the eye today. Great news!!!
At this point, they want her eye to rest for a bit, to catch up, if you will, with what they've been doing to it. They want her body to start fighting the infection, not just the drugs. Also, if they do have to operate again, at that time, they will take the eye. But as of now, no.
So, while the day started rough, and we're not out of the woods yet, it was a good day all in all.
Erica had another craptacular day today.
From Erica's husband:
So, today has been fun. Kayelani got sick on the way to Bascom Palmer this morning and threw up on herself, her carseat and the car. Dropped her and Erica off at the eye institute, found a Target and went in search of new clothes for Kayelani. About half way there, the car starts to overheat. Great. So, I get there, park, ooen the hood and low and behold, the thermostat housing has cracked in HALF. Not has a crack, sheared completely in half. So, I call Erica to let her know what's going on, call the only friend I have that lives in that area, (Thanks for answering at 8:30 am by the way Aaron Aron Boring) but he's on his way into work, called a couple other people to see if they could come help, before breaking down and calling my father-in-law, who's about 100 miles away at this point because he's at work, to come get the girls for me. So he's on his way, I buy clothes for the baby and start walking the 3 miles back to Bascom. Along the way, happen to see a Napa Auto Parts. Stop in and yes, they have the part I need. Buy the part and keep walking. Get to Bascom, change and dress the baby, who is now feeling better and running amuck through the whole place, Erica is sitting with the dr's and I'm playing catch up what's going on. Get the deets, grab the baby and head for the door. Erica checks out, her dad calls cus he's downstairs, and away we go. Get back to the car, he brought tools so we grab them, I strip the car seat while he pulled the housing, he runs inside to buy pliers and antifreeze, and more milk for the baby cus who knew we'd be gone this long today, and we get the car fixed. He takea the girls with him, incase I need to pulk over for anything car related, and away we all go. Home now, car is fine, girls are fine and the day goes on.
I'm very sorry but I have craptacular news. This sucks.
From Erica's loving husband:
So, today wasn't a good day. First we had to fight the insurance for her to get the ultrasound she needed, we had to sign a waiver incase they decide not to pay it, and they probably won't. They wouldn't pay for her blood to be drawn and tested and want her to jump through hoops to get that done.
But now all that is irrelevant. We had the ultrasound done and it wasn't good. The back of her eye is collapsing in on itself, the infection has spread to the retina and has started to deteriorate it, her vision is gone and the pain is worse. We spoke to several dr's today and as of 7:45 tomorrow morning, we will be speaking with Dr. Erickson who will be doing the surgery later tomorrow to remove her eye.
That's all the information I have for you guys right now. I'll know more about what happens next tomorrow after our meeting with the dr.
I'm pretty sure that Erica is having her eye removed today.
Please keep her in your thoughts and share this page like crazy.
Thanks for all your support!!!
From Erica's loving husband:
She has been in pre op since 11:15 am and was just now I formed that her surgery has been moved to about 8pm due to a lack of staff. Which would be fine if anyone had bothered to tell us that earlier in the day so she wasn't laying in there for over 4 hours in pain because she was told not to take her pain meds because she would be in surgery soon. And then when she asked for something for the pain before I forced my way back there, she was told no because she would be going to surgery anytime now. Needless to say, I'm very angry about this. But she has now had her pain meds and should be able to sleep until she gets to surgery. I'll update as soon as I know any more.
Latest update from Erica's loving husband:
Just spoke to Dr. Erickson. Erica is out of surgery, she did very well. The eye has been removed and there were no signs that the infection had spread outside of the eye. He injected the eye cavity with long lasting antibiotics and pain medication that should last for 4-6 hours. They fit the Interior prosthetic and wrapped her up in a pressure bandage. There is nothing to do now but make her comfortable for the next week and by the third day out of this, she should notice a remarkable decrease in pain and irritation. Then we come back next friday for follow up, check her out, redress the bandage and, as long as all looks good, we don't need to be back for a month. (I can't even imagine not coming back here for a month, honestly) If, at that time, she looks all healed, Dr. Erickson will release us to the occularist and she will be fitted for a prosthetic eye.
So now I wait for her to come around from the anasthesia and take her home.
She made it guys!!!!!!
(Thank you Kaye. Thank you to all my guardian angels that watched over her today and kept her safe. I love and miss you all.)
Latest update from Erica's loving husband:
So today has been pretty rough so far. Erica is still in a massive amount of pain and is still hiding from the light and any sound. Hopefully, she will start to feel better soon. But we still have a long road ahead of us, so keep those thoughts and well wishes coming please!!!
Latest update from Erica's loving husband:
Sorry all. Been a busy and rough couple of days. But here's the update:
Things are going ok for now. Since the surgery, she's been in alot of pain, understandably. She hasn't really left the darkness of the bedroom for more than a few minutes at most. She's been sleeping alot, which is good because it is helping her heal. The last few days were really rough, but today seems better. She came out of the room for awhile today, and went on a very short trip to Walmart last night, so thats progress. She realized during the Walmart trip that this is going to be a bit more difficult than she imagined, due to the right eye trying to compansate for the loss of the left eye. She finds herself easily turned around and disoriented. At the moment, it's about 50% pain and 50% emotions. She knows that she lost the eye, but now that's starting to hit her. But she's doing ok over all.
Thank you for all your prayers, well wishes and all other help. It is all greatly appreciated.
Erica was feeling well enough to give us an update herself!
Several of you asked for a better picture with a better light source. So I cleaned some more of the fluid away so it didn't look so "Night of the Living Dead" in there. Here you go. The plastic spacer is in there over the tissue which holds the internal portion of the prosthetic in place. The spacer is there so that the lids don't shrivel and sink in during healing. It's like a stand in eyeball until I am healed enough for the external prosthesis. The external portion with "the eye" will have to wait 4-8 weeks depending on healing time and swelling before I can be fit for it. I also have to discuss with my insurance whether they will pay for one that matches my other eye or if I am limited to just "that brown one". If they won't pay for one made to match my other eye then we will have to pay for it out of pocket. I just don't think my kids (or most people) will be comfortable having a conversation with me when one eye is normal and one looks like a creepy doll. It's possible they will turn down paying for any prosthesis since it may not be medically necessary as far as they are concerned. Either way, we will rally to get at least the one to match my eye so that my kid can have an easier time talking to Mommy and so I can get back to doing some "normal" things. The pain level is moderate and most of it is from adjustment and not surgical pain. The eye socket itself does feel really raw and irritated, though. The lids are itchy and throb a lot when I move my head.
Erica and her husband had a very hectic day!
Latest update from Erica's loving husband:
I hate Dr's. And I DEFINATELY hate Miami. But, aside from that, and waiting for EVERY DR EVER to come see her, the prognosis is good. She's healing better than they expected, since she went through so much in a short time. The headaches, nausea and dizzyness are all normal and should go away in time. Everyone heals differently, so no certain amount of time can be given. No more pain pills were given, the dr explained to her that if she kept taking them, the headaches would become dependant upon them and wouldn't go away without them after awhile. So all in all, it went really well.
Erica is trying to settle in to her loss of eye, depth perception and hair. (I have long hair too, so I totally understand mourning the loss of some gorgeous hair and Erica has some amazing locks)
Her doctors took her off pain meds as soon as they could to try and minimize the risk of dependence. Unfortunately, Erica is still experiencing very painful headaches. Due to her multiple chemical sensitivities, over-the-counter pain killers offer little or no help.
The awesome news is that Erica takes it all in stride and softens the pain through humor.
I highly doubt the family has financially bounced back from this hardship that they have had to face, so please keep those donations coming, and please share this campaign with your friends.
I haven't received an update from Erica or her loving husband, Will in a while.
Erica is still adjusting to navigating the world with one eye. She bumps into things, calls people by accident and is having issues typing. As a writer, this is especially frustrating for her.
She still has the spacer in her eye and her body doesn't particularly like it. The eye has been getting irritated and leaks fluid at the least opportune moments. The permanent prosthetic is apparently very expensive and Erica posted on her Facebook today: "Dear insurance company, kindly eat a bag of dicks at your earliest convenience! " so I can only assume she has been denied coverage for yet another necessary medication, treatment, specialist visit, or maybe the prosthetic eye!!!
While she no longer has an eye eating infection, or the eye for that matter, her journey is far from over.
Please donate what you can and share this page on your wall to help this family through a very difficult ordeal.
Erica is still settling in to navigating the world with only one eye. Her eye is still unhappy with the temporary spacer and her eye continues to leak gunk.
Erica and her loving husband, Will have recently recieved the estimate of her new, permanent prosthetic eye. They were under the impression that it would be upwards of $5000. She was pleased to tell me that the cost will "only" be around $2800. Unfortunately, when you have had to pay for many expensive medications out of pocket AND raise a family, it might as well be a million dollars.
This is where we really need your help. Erica can see the finish line at the end of this entire ordeal. She is beginning to accept her new look and is pleased to announce that her hair is growing back. Please donate what you can and share to your friends and families. If you're a member of a church or synagogue, please share this cause with them as well. I am sure Erica and her family would greatly appreciate your prayers and well wishes and all around good vibes. Thank you for reading.
Erica finally has her permanent prosthetic eye! It cost thousands of dollars and her family will be paying for it for a while, but she looks absolutely fabulous.
Not everything is rainbows and unicorns in the world of Erica Diaz. The permanent prosthetic is a little bigger than the spacer prosthetic and it will take a little time for her eyelid to stretch out to accommodate the larger size. She has to use a special eye lubricant to help her eyelid slide over the new prosthetic.
Please consider donating a few dollars to help dig this family out of debt. If you can't give, please share her story. Not many people fully comprehend the true dangers of glitter.
When Erica posted her latest update on imgur she inspired a painter to paint her with a Terminator eye. I thought it was so bad ass, I had to share it here. Please check out the link to see the artist's process and enjoy this update.
so.... just when we all thought everything was all Hunky Dory and Erica Diaz got her beautiful replacement eye, She's having problems and her insurance is (once again) refusing to cover her necessary doctors visits/treatments/procedures/etc.
I know you guys have already helped out, but this woman can not catch a break with her eyeball! (and her insurance for that matter. )
Heres the latest info in her own words:
"Prosthetic eye adventures continue. Upper lid ptosis and a hole being worn into the soft tissue behind the scleral shell.
So we get to start the whole stupid prosthetic process over again. And if that doesn't help, it's back to surgery I go.
I f-ing hate glitter, have I told you guys that?"
she then went on to explain further:
"this sh*t is like neverending. I'm so frustrated right now. He wanted to do adjustments today but guess what - ONCE AGAIN THE INSURANCE SAID NO. I need to go to see my primary who has to refer me to an eye doctor so I can get a letter of medical necessity so I can take it back to him. Like... for f-s sake there's a hole in my head ain't nobody got time for this sh*t."
(I edited out the curse words for those of you with little eyes looking over your shoulder. )
newest update from Erica:
Things they don't really tell you about prosthetics but I feel like people should know.
It's a process. Sometimes, the process is really uncomfortable and painful and ugly. Sores and refittings happen. When it comes to a scleral shell, the kind of prosthetic that I have, this can be a particularly obvious issue as my eye is literally the thing people look at when you're talking to them.
A scleral shell that isn't sitting right can rub and scrape and cause sores behind it. If you don't take it out too much those things can go unnoticed.
The eye naturally makes a gooey kinda boogery lube. The eye boogers that crust up in the corner... but when there is no eyeball to use that lube it just goes everywhere. A scleral shell can't absorb it. Eyesnot everywhere.
Headaches and vertigo are a thing. Such a thing. Eyelid droop is a thing. Rash on the soft tissue behind the shell is a thing. It can be hard to explain why you don't like looking at people. People think you're rude as fuck. Suddenly you start wearing shades all the time and styling your hair like 90s Aaliyah all over your eye n whatnot.
Depth perception goes. You have to focus really hard on like EVERYTHING. That can cause tension headaches.
But, I am still here. I am incredibly thankful for that. I am loved. I am learning. I am growing. I am better all fat, baldheaded and cycloptic than I was at my "best".
This is a picture of Erica's prosthetic eyeball and a nice collection of pus. Erica has very sensitive skin, including the skin on the inside of her eyelid and the prosthetic isn't fitting as well as originally anticipated. Because of this, it has become irritated and the irritation has become infected. Erica needs to have a new eyeball prosthetic made and guess what? Insurance isn't being very helpful.
Here's what's going on in Erica's own words:
Good thing I can't see out of that side or this amount of pus just chillin in my eyeball would be worrisome. *sarcasm font* now to clarify for those who don't know me well and will ask, the prosthetic rubs away the soft tissue behind it and that causes irritation and infection. It needs to be refit but until I can afford it I deal with this from time to time. And yes, this fucking hurts. And to the person who asked me why my eye isn't red if it's infected... ... ... ... *siiiigh* bless your heart.
This is a "2 update" kind of day. Erica has been chronicling her journey on the web page imgur. I have posted links to all of her photo updates in the main "campaign page". I recently added this one:
I feel like I need to do an update today. For one thing, today is Erica's daughter's 3rd birthday, and the fact that Erica is still alive and well to celebrate that birthday with her daughter is something she (Erica) is truly thankful for. Happy Birthday to you and your beautiful daughter!!! (to you because you birthed her!)
The other reason why I felt the need to do an update is that this week has been a huge whirlwind of a week for Erica. It seems that over 20 "news" outlet websites have picked up her story and used her photos, her words and my words from this gofundme without either one of us consenting, let alone being contacted prior to any of the articles being published. After a few days of Erica seeing her story butchered all over the internet, the Daily mail UK actually contacted both of us looking to hear the real, true details of her story. I am posting a link to the story in this update. This is the only "authorized" story that is online at this time.
links to Erica's story in her own words with her own pictures can be found on the main page for this campaign. Thanks for reading!!!
While I have a captive audience, I'm going to go ahead and share with you all what Erica's current passions are and how you could show her your support. Please take a moment and like her band's page:
You can also check out her online store which features the best in geeky clothing and accessories. Like her Facebook page:
and purchase directly:
- Connor Tobin
- Beth Honeycutt
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