Hello Everyone, My name is Shanaka Canagasabey (Sri Lankan) and I am a Pilot employed at Sri Lankan Airlines. I would like to share my experience with you all!
My story began in October 2018; when I visited an Ophthalmologist to identify why it seemed like my left eye appeared to be much bigger (almost popping out!) in comparison to the other eye. A MRI scan detected a tumor of
significant proportions in my Left Orbit. After that I was advised to do a biopsy to identify the nature of the tumor. The biopsy performed in Sri Lanka revealed it to be a Malignant Sarcoma. The news devastated me! As you
can imagine, Vision is an invaluable asset to an Aviator. It is after all the most dominant sense.
I was subsequently advised to seek treatment in Singapore as it was deemed to be “The Best”. I was thoroughly disappointed as I reached a dead-end in Singapore with very negative feedback from the Ophthalmologists I consulted there.
Disheartened, I left back home. I was then advised to look for an answer in Chennai, India; as it is the World’s Capital for any & every Eye related matter. With that in mind, I was referred to Dr (Mrs.) Priti Udhay at D.R.R Eye Clinic, who ultimately was the answer to my prayers.
Dr. Priti has been specializing in Eye Tumor related surgeries for over a decade. As there was a significant delay from detection to my arrival in Chennai in Mid December, the tumor had grown further which was confirmed via a second
MRI scan and when I met Dr. Priti she immediately informed me that the tumor was now pinching the optic nerve and that any undue delay could lead to a severing of the optic nerve thus causing blindness. She calmly explained
everything to me, including an overview of the surgery, potential complications, etc. Although she was very Optimistic, she was also very Realistic in her explanations of the outcome of the surgery, in terms of my ability to
continue to be a Pilot. Her Prime concern was saving my life. Secondary was to preserve my vision and if able, minimize damage to the eye muscles.
I was scheduled for the surgery the very next morning, as Dr. Priti deemed it to be of the highest importance. Owing to the delicate nature of the situation, the surgery lasted about 4 hours as I was later informed. It was a great
success. Dr. Priti managed to excise the tumor in total and as I recovered, my Central vision didn’t seem to be affected in anyway. As the Eye muscle was operated on, the post surgical swelling did cause double vision in my
peripheral vision; as I was duly advised beforehand. The double vision was the only significant side-effect; apart from that my vision in the affected eye was not affected in the least.
I must mention that immediately after the surgery I was well looked after by Nurses Irei & Juliet. They were so kind to my family and I. All staff at D.R.R Eye Hospital were very courteous & professional. My time at the hospital
went by smoothly and efficiently.
Once the surgery was complete, the final diagnosis was that the Cancer is a Leiomyosarcoma, which is a very rare form of Malignancy. It responds to Surgery and thus no further treatment (Radiation/Chemotherapy) was required. My
initial recovery post surgery was fairly progressive. The double vision improved significantly, yet as it was prevalent, I could not return to flying. I was later advised to follow eye exercises, to strengthen the eye muscles.
I followed the Brock string exercise diligently. The subsequent vision tests that I did regularly as follow-ups, revealed steady progress on my recovery.
Now, as I am writing this in September 2020, I have finally been able to recover to a sufficient standard to return to flying. My sincere gratitude goes out to Dr (Mrs.) Priti Udhay for this tremendous feat that she has