I could not see any solution to my problem. In 1998 at the age of 25, I received my first corneal transplant. Within three days I received a cornea. Today, 15 years later I still have remarkable vision in my right eye.
For my second cornea I had to wait a long time. Nor the patience of Job or the wisdom of Solomon would have seen an outcome, but God sometimes has a different road He takes with your life. With my condition, Keratoconus, my left cornea became very thin and the beautiful cone shape began to protrude which was influencing my sight. The cornea is the clear window which is responsible for the light that comes into the eye. Abnormalities in this part of the eye results in difficult sight, double and blurred vision and normal tasks like driving and reading become very difficult.
Without knowing a mole on my face would come to my rescue. A Plastic Surgeon Dr. G. Edwards in Johannesburg had a vision. He did not even look at my mole, but only saw my watering eye. I wasn’t weeping because of the mole on my face, but my left cornea had become so thin, that even a bright light caused my eye to water. Dr. Edwards did not leave it there but he decided there and then that this watering eye should not be ignored, he literally almost ignored the mole and asked what the problem with my eye was.
At that stage in January 2007, I had already been waiting two and a half years for a cornea donation and the hard contact lenses would not stay on the thinning cornea anymore. I could not see with my left eye anymore and only depended on my right eye. Dr. Edwards gave Sr. Lynne Pickering of the Eyebank a call and explained that the mole on my face wasn’t looking good and had to be removed, but that my eye was in a state and I could literally not look him in the eye.
I was luckily on top of the list at that stage and in the wink of an eye I received a corneal transplant (and my mole was removed). With my two corneal transplants, I could finally realize my dream and in 2010 I enrolled for my PhD in Marketing Management and in 2013 I completed my PhD at the University of Johannesburg. I am a lecturer at UJ, I drive my four kids to school and extra murals, read, try out new recipes and at the age of 40 I began playing the piano, and I can see the notes! I live my life to the fullest, as I do not know what lies ahead.
I cannot see into the future. Neither could Dr. Edwards. A few years after this doctor took my problems in his hands, he had a massive heart attack in Milpark Hospital and had to receive a heart transplant which saved his life. Without realizing the seed he sowed when organizing a corneal transplant for me was given back to him when he needed it most. I underwent a metamorphosis, from hardly being able to see to seeing life all because of a donated cornea. Thank you for that.
Dr. Isolde Lubbe (Nee Pohl)