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Emma, 35

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Social media handles: Instagram and TikTok - @eyeofthesarcoma

Where are you from? England, Sheffield

Where do you live now? Sheffield

Tell us a little about yourself: I have two children, a boy, and a girl, and we are enjoying life together because I didn’t think I would be here to see them grow up.

Emma after surgery, there is skin stitched over her entire left eye. She is a white women with brown long hair.
Emma after surgery

What’s your eye story?

I had an MRI and there was a tumor. I then had a biopsy, which came back as mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Because it was rare, the only treatment was to remove it, and my eye, so that’s what I did. I then went on to have radiation therapy. About 18 months later, a hole appeared- it was where the radiation had killed the small blood vessels in the skin. The hole grew, and I was able to blow bubbles, blow out candles and breathe through it. I learned that this was developing due to the small bone between my nose and eye being removed during my original operation. Due to COVID lockdowns, and the fact I wasn’t classed as “urgent”,(because it wasn’t active cancer) I lived with the hole for 14 months. I finally had a flap made, which was done by taking part of my leg skin and the vein so it could have its own blood supply. Finally, after 4 years, my eye has no hole! It has better skin than I ever thought possible. I even have to pluck the hair out of it because it still grows, and as annoying as that is, it does mean the skin is healthy.

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

There have been a few things, but I think the hardest thing has been people not knowing/understanding about having one eye. They think they have the right to demand to know what happened when you’re out in public- and they don’t.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

When I first had my eye done, I wanted it covered all the time. However, it was hard to always have something to cover it. Going out in the sun with sunglasses is great, but it gets tricky when you go into a shop it suddenly goes very dark.

Where are you now in your recovery?

I'm finally at the stage where I can just live! There were so many things I had to avoid because of the hole. The big one was no swimming because then water would have direct access to my lungs and could drown me!

What piece of advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment journey?

I would tell them it’s ok! Even with one eye you can live happily and continue your life!

Who is your eye surgeon and ocularist?

Weston Park. It’s the cancer hospital in Sheffield.

How did you find EYEHESIVE?

Social media, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have been so helpful in connecting with others that have one eye! No matter if it’s like mine where all the sockets are gone, just the eyeball was taken, or the eye is there, but they are blind in it -it doesn’t matter! We are all blind in one eye!

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