Everythingspa’s Blog

CNYSPAGIRL blogs about all things spa

PRK laser eye surgery update January 20, 2011

Filed under: Zyoptix — everythingspa @ 4:51 pm
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Two weeks ago, I underwent a corrective laser eye surgical procedure known as Zyoptix PRK.  The procedure was to reduce my dependence on wearing glasses, which I’ve worn since second grade. I’ve been holding out on writing about my experience because I wanted to have some good news to write about.  Oh, and because I haven’t been able to see the keyboard or screen well enough until now.  Click here to read about my decision to have laser eye surgery.

What I can see since the surgery is quite a miracle.  Colors, textures and anything with really large font, like the Exit sign that I could see immediately after surgery.  And that’s amazing, considering my uncorrected vision was so poor.  It’s what I can’t see that’s been scaring me.  The surgery was in the neighborhood of $4,000, not covered by health insurance.  For that price, I want to be able to see without glasses until my age dictates I’ll need reading glasses – which my surgeon suggested would be in a few years.

When I first started writing this article, a few sentences at a time, I had the zoom blown up to 500%.  It was obnoxiously large, but its what I could see at the time.  Now, 200% zoom at close distance, with reading glasses, is just fine.  If this is as good as it gets, I’ll be disappointed for sure.  But my doctor has assured me, repeatedly, that everything I’m experiencing is normal and that my vision will get better.  Not overnight, but it will get better.

The procedure itself was painless and I barely experienced any discomfort. I was more uncomfortable when my doctor was explaining the steps of the procedure to me just before I went into surgery.  OK, so there may have been a little incident where I almost passed out and the surgery had to be delayed for about 20 minutes while I recovered from the cold sweats, nausea, and nearly blacking out.  But as soon as the feeling passed, I was ready to go!  (This isn’t my first near-fainting experience when it comes to medical procedures.  The mere act of having blood drawn has been known to cause this reaction.  Needless to say, I’m not a frequent supporter of blood drives – I’m just too high maintenance of a donor for that).

When my vision allows me to resume writing regularly again, I’m planning to write a more detailed account of the experience.  I’ve found it helpful to read other patients accounts of their experience and healing process and I’d like to do the same for others.

My left eye is trailing behind my right eye in visual acuity and healing.  This can be maddening at times because the left eye is so blurry and much more uncomfortable – scratchy, a little red, itchy and generally just a bit more “hyper”.  It took eight or nine days for my right eye to feel comfortable. If I focus too long, I get headaches above my eyes and in my forehead.  I’m able to use my laptop for a short duration with very large font at very close range.  Strong lighting is a must.  I went out and bought several pairs of reading glasses with various magnification powers and I’ve been using +2.0 to sharpen my vision and to be able to read a bit.  I started to be able to read for enjoyment for 10 or 15 minutes at a time around day 12 and that feels like more trouble than it’s worth.  This has perhaps been the toughest part about recovering from this surgery because I’m an avid reader.  By the end of the day, I can’t wait to close my eyes and sleep because of fatigue, eye pressure and pain.  By morning, I’m seeing my best and have a few hours before things start to go downhill again.

It took me 12 days post-surgery to feel comfortable enough to drive again.  I kept thinking that I’d get out and make a test run, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t have to drive and I didn’t feel I was ready.  My friends and family have been incredibly helpful and supporting:  bringing meals to my family (soup has been very popular), driving me to doctor appointments and taking me grocery shopping, lest I spend more than 3 or 4 days without a visit to Wegmans.

I’ll return to work on Monday after a 2-½ week absence.  I only expected to be out a week, but my visual acuity and discomfort have dictated otherwise.  I’m working up to being able to focus for more than short periods of time since my job requires using a PC almost 100% of the time.

Every day gets a little better: a little less uncomfortable, a little less pain, and just a little bit more visual clarity.  With PRK, the recovery time is significantly greater than Lasik.  It can take several months before the vision is completely stable and I can expect fluctuations during healing.  I can’t drive at night and may need glasses for night driving, but it’s too early to be fitted for glasses because my vision is changing so rapidly.  Needing a correction is not out of the question, but it’s not even an option for 2 to 3 months.  It takes about 6 months for follow-up care to be complete.

Many times over the last two weeks I’ve questioned my decision to have this surgery.  I miss the clear, sharp vision that my glasses provided and the quality of life I had before.  Just last night, I had a breakthrough and some of the pain and discomfort subsided in the left eye and the clarity is a little better today.  I’m holding off on casting final judgment until I’ve fully healed and until my vision stops changing.  Wish me luck and don’t hesitate to send a prayer, blessing or positive thought my way.  🙂  And I’ll be sure to ket you know how my first visit to the spa is without glasses when I finally get there.


Demystifying Couples Massage – Just in time for Valentine’s Day January 15, 2011

Resting Room at Spa Mirbeau

“I’d rather have a sharp stick in the eye”.  That’s what my husband would say if I suggested that we try a couples massage this Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter. You see, he’s not exactly the massage or spa treatment type of guy.  And that’s putting it mildly.  Since we’ve been paired up for most of my adult life, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve never experienced a couples massage; they’re not for everyone. But Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if the traditional dinner and a movie seem all too familiar, it might be time to break out of that rut and try something new.

Valentines Day is the perfect excuse to book a couples massage.  Not that you need an excuse – massage is more than just a pampering indulgence.  Regular massage can provide relief from stress and pain, relaxation and long lasting effects for personal well-being. Can you think of a better way to enjoy quality time with a partner, loved one, friend or someone special?

Couples massages aren’t just offered at fancy spas; there are plenty of options around Central New York ranging from basic to luxury.  You can receive a massage at a wellness center, massage studio, day or resort spa or even in your home.  You can find independent massage therapists working for themselves or practicing out of a facility that offers massage and other spa treatments.

So what can you expect during a couples massage? A couples massage is generally offered in a private room that is large enough to accommodate side-by-side massage tables or in a special space dedicated to couples massages. Two therapists will work on the couple simultaneously.  Every spa or studio will offer different pricing for their couples massage offerings. If you’ve purchased a package or special deal, you might enjoy champagne or other beverage, fruit, chocolate, or other goodies before or after your treatment.  Your treatment might start with a foot soak or other add-on. If you want a basic couples massage without all the trimmings, just say so when you book the appointment.

Before the massage, your therapists will step out of the room while you and your partner disrobe to your comfort level.  You’ll get settled on the massage table and your therapist will knock before entering.  During the massage, you’ll be professionally draped with sheets and/or blankets except the area that is being massaged.  You can have a conversation with your partner or therapist or lose yourself silently in the treatment.  Gentle music might be playing in the background and can be customized to your liking.  Be sure to communicate your preferences to your therapist (deep tissue massage often carries an extra charge): pressure, lighting, music and warmth.

After the massage, your therapists will leave the room while you get dressed or put your robe back on.  If there are relaxation facilities, you might be invited to hang out for a while and relax.  You may want to shower (if available) or freshen up.

Tips for couples massage:

  • Appointments book up fast, especially for Valentine’s Day.  As soon as you’ve found a therapist or place that you’d like to try, book quickly.
  • Allow extra time.  Rushing into or out of a massage can defeat the purpose.  Be sure you have a little extra time to decompress before the massage and take time to relax before re-entering reality post-massage.
  • Ask about the cancellation policy before booking and make sure you can live with the terms.
  • When determining your budget for your couples massage, factor in gratuities for your therapists. Gratuities are typically 15% to 20% of the total cost of your treatment or package, depending on your experience.

Here are a number of ideas for a special Valentine’s Day couples massage experience throughout Central New York:

At Waterfalls Spa in Hope Lake Lodge at Greek Peak Mountain Resort, you’ll feel like a VIP when you book one of the truly decked out suites for your couples massage.  Personalization is the key to a specialized spa experience at this four season family resort near Cortland. Except for a small relaxation area, there aren’t any common spaces at Waterfalls Spa. Couples will be escorted to their private treatment suite to change, relax and enjoy time together. All treatment spaces have the ability to change color allowing complete customization of services and harmonization with the individual guest.

You can reserve a specific treatment, like a 60-minute Signature massage for two ($180), or you can reserve increments of time in one of the two luxurious Waterfalls spa suites (2 hours, $275; other time increments available).  The suites have been designed to accommodate most spa services; complete with two multipurpose tables, a two person tub that incorporates chromatherapy, sound resonance and vibration therapy, a two person infrared sauna, a shower and lounging area with a flat screen television for the ultimate spa event.  You might wish to book a two hour increment, start with a hydrotherapy bath with a customized bath additive, relax in the private seating area for a bit, and then enjoy a side-by-side couples massage.  Whatever you can conjure up, the professional staff at Waterfalls spa can work to customize a special experience just for you!

Waterfalls Spa at Hope Lake Lodge

Greek Peak Mountain Resort

2000 NYS Route 392

Cortland, NY 13045




SpaZend in Syracuse has just the answer to an alternative date night activity. If a candle-lit and rose petal strewn spa, wine, cheese and fruit, followed by a 50-minute couples aromatherapy massage sounds like a dream, book an appointment for “Date Night”, a wildly popular offering from SpaZend ($150). The event is held one Friday each month from 6 to 9 pm. SpaZend has partnered with Strong Hearts Café across the hall to offer all Date Night participants 10% off their meal if you’d like to stay for dinner.  Guests are encouraged to come early or stay after their treatment to enjoy the soothing relaxation room, have tea or refreshments and enjoy the company of that special someone.

Date Night at SpaZend

“We love the idea of giving people in Syracuse another option” says spa owner Liz Goldenberg. Former participants have described the event as “a magical evening”. Other patrons remarked how “everything was so romantic!”.


719 East Genesee Street

Syracuse, NY 13210

(315) 424-3772



Jeannine Gettis is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and owner of Hearts Content Healing who offers massage therapy at two locations throughout Central New York.  I enjoyed the gift of a highly customized session with Jeannine at Kelly’s Massage and Holistic Health Spa in Manlius.  She’ll pair up with another therapist to offer couples massages in a purposely-designed couples suite with an infrared sauna.  A basic 60-minute couples massage is normally $140, but customized packages with add-ons can be arranged for Valentine’s Day. “

Jeannine Gettis, LMT



Kelly’s Massage and Holistic Health Spa

136 W. Seneca Tpke (Route 173)

Manlius, NY  13104



At Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, couples can enjoy a posh resort experience without the added expense of spending the night.  Matt Dower, Spa Director at Mirbeau, encourages couples to check in as early as possible, enjoy all the amenities the spa has to offer such as the dry sauna, herbal infused steam rooms, fireside resting area with foot pool and all-season Aqua Terrace with 15 person freeform whirlpool.  The workout room features cardio and strength training equipment and the motion studio offers exercise class, all included in the price of your treatment.

Spa Mirbeau Monet Room for couples treatments

Mirbeau is Best for Romance according to SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards for several consecutive years, including 2010.  Dower tells us the most popular couples treatment is The Art of Living, combining an herbal bath in an oversized soaking tub for two, chocolate covered strawberries and then a luxurious side-by-side massage in front of a fire in one of their signature treatment suites for two.  The 100-minute treatment is priced at $400 (Mon-Thu) and $430 (Fri-Sun).

Mirbeau Inn & Spa

851 West Genesee St., Skaneateles, New York 13152

1-877-MIRBEAU (647-2328)


While a couples massage isn’t in the cards for me this Valentine’s Day, I hope you take the opportunity to take time for yourselves and do something calming, relaxing and fabulous for your well-being.  A couples massage might just be what the doctor ordered.


New Year, new “outlook” on a day at the spa December 27, 2010

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I expect to have a whole new “outlook” on my next spa visit in 2011. In ten days, I’ll be undergoing a laser surgical procedure known as Zyoptix PRK to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.  To say I’m nervous and apprehensive about this elective procedure is an understatement.  I’ve done my homework, have attended all of my pre-surgical appointments and am taking Vitamin C (to boost my immune system and enhance healing) and prescription eye drops (to boost tear production and aid in healing) as directed by my surgeon.  As with any surgery, there are risks and my opthalmologist has done an excellent job preparing me for what to expect.  Still, it’s my eyesight and I only get one chance.

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in second grade.  I’ve worn contact lenses on and off over the years to varying degrees of success – mostly experiencing poor visual acuity and discomfort.  I was able to wear them for some important milestones in my life, like my wedding and my first time waterskiing, but I ditched them years ago and have never looked back.  At every annual eye exam, I’d ask my doctor the same questions:  Is corrective laser surgery still an option for me?  Yes.  He’d ask: Are you interested?  Me: I’m thinking about it.  So when I turned 41, imagine his surprise (and mine) when I continued the annual ritual of asking the questions, and this time when he repeated his usual question, I said “Yes”.

My doctor has warned me that because of my age (ouch!), I’d likely need reading glasses in a few years.  My feeling is that if I can wake up just one morning and see without the aid of corrective lenses, it will all be worth it.  I’m very nearsighted.  Yesterday, I mistook a pile of blankets and throw pillows for my husband. I hadn’t put my glasses back on after a shower and I walked by the family room where I thought I saw my husband sitting on the floor next to our son.  It wasn’t until I got much closer that I realized I was seeing things – or more accurately, not seeing things clearly .  It will be nothing short of a miracle if I can see without wearing glasses.

So how do I plan to use my newfound visual freedom?  My list is lengthy.  I’ll ski without worrying that my glasses will fog up the minute I step foot in the lodge.  I’ll walk in the rain with only the fear of frizzy hair, no longer worrying that my glasses will become so spotted that I won’t be able to see.  This summer, I’ll waterski again after many years on hiatus. I’ll snorkel on my next ocean vacation without needing someone to lead me along, without fear of getting separated and not being able to find my way back to shore. Swimming will be an absolute pleasure.  I’ll fold into ragdoll pose in yoga class without my glasses flopping onto my forehead.  But the thing I’m most excited about doing without glasses?  Visiting a spa!

No longer will I have to worry that my glasses will be in the therapists way when I set them down in a safe place in the treatment room.  As I move from the treatment table to the in-room shower and back to the treatment table – how wonderful it will be to be able to see where I’m going.  As I enter the infused steamroom, no more propping my glasses up on my head and crossing my fingers that I’m not going to stumble into another patron in the thick steam.

With the procedure comes slow healing and the possibility of frustration as visual acuity may improve and decline during several months of stabilization.  In the week following surgery, driving, reading, and working on my laptop will be limited if not impossible.  It’s tough news for an internet junkie and writer to absorb. But I think it will be worth it.

Follow along with me on my journey.  I’ll update this blog when I’m able to following my surgery.  If you’re the kind of person who prays, say a prayer for me for a successful, safe procedure and quick healing.  If you don’t pray, send positive thoughts into the universe.  But more importantly, I’ll SEE you at the spa in 2011 – hopefully more clearly than I ever have!