Avastin has been a wonder drug for me. Early in 2009, I noticed that something was very wrong with my vision. Vertical lines were all broken. If I was driving, the phone poles looked like their top halves were separate from their bottom halves. Worse, when I looked at the computer screen, the letters were all broken. I couldn’t read. I went to see my retina specialist who took some pictures and then did an opthalmic angiogram. My husband watched the screen and, once the dye was injected, he could actually see blood dripping in one area. The rs diagnosed myopic macular degeneration in my right eye with a bleed that was causing the problem. He asked me to come back the following morning for a laser treatment (photodynamic therapy – PDT) and a shot of Avastin in the eye. The whole idea was horrifying, but I believed it was the best option. I truly trust and respect my rs.
The PDT was no big deal. An IV put the Visudyne into my arm and the doc shined a laser into my eye for a few seconds. It was bright but it didn’t hurt. Still, I couldn’t stop crying when it was over. The PDT would, hopefully, stop the bleeding. Next, a tiny sponge was placed inside my lower eyelid, to numb my eye for the Avastin shot. Avastin would dry up the blood that had already leaked into my eye. My rs came in and put a clip on my eye to hold it open. I was really dreading this shot. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than a shot in my eye. My doctor told me to look up and to the left. “You’re going to feel a little pressure,” he said, and he lifted a teeny, tiny needle and injected the Avastin into the white near the bottom of my eye. It was over in a second. Pressure? It was the most awful sensation to “feel” the injection, even though there wasn’t really any pain. He flushed my eye with saline and put in some antibiotic drops and sent me on my way. Time would tell whether the treatment would work, but my rs seemed to have supreme confidence that it would. I covered all my skin from the sun (Visudyne for the PDT makes people extremely light sensitive for a couple of days.) I was to return in six weeks for a second shot of Avastin, which was to be the second in a series of three.
The good news is that the PDT and Avastin worked a miracle. By my second visit, my vision had improved significantly. As time has gone on, I have had a second bleed, requiring a second PDT treatment. This time, the treatment left a blind spot in the center of my vision. I am now receiving an Avastin injection every six weeks for an indefinite length of time. Forever, I guess, unless they come up with a new treatment. My vision is best about a week after the shot, is good for a couple of weeks, and then starts to deteriorate. My next shot is in 10 days, so my vision is pretty bad right now. I have had seven shots in all. I hate those shots. I dread those shots. But, I am getting used to them. I love being able to see. I will do anything to keep my vision for as long as possible. Even take a shot in the eye.