(FOX 2) - Dan Rose, the husband of FOX 2 Meteorologist Jessica Starr, has found a little bit of help as he continues to grieve his wife: a support group comprised of family and others who found the opposite of relief when they sought Lasik surgery.
Jessica ended her life on December 12th, two months after she went in for eye surgery to correct her vision. The news was jarring to the FOX 2 newsroom and our viewers but probably even more so for Dan.
Since her death, Dan has talked about some of the side effects Jessica experienced and he's found out that he's not alone. He's found a LASIK Support Group that's offering a lifeline.
"We just truly believe that sharing her story is hopefully going to help somebody," Dan said.
Jessica had Smile LASIK surgery October 11 and had a painful, depressing fight with the side effects.
Group leaders and websites like lasikcomplications.com say insufferable pain and vision problems drove nearly a dozen people to suicide after having similar procedures.
Paula Cofer is part of the support group and she invited Dan to come out because she knows what Jessica fought through.
"I never leave the house at night, I'm not safe to drive a car at night and I have chronic dry eyes and I have stinging stabbing burning eye pain," Cofer said.
Cofer started the LASIK Complications Facebook group after beginning her own battle with the aftermath of the surgery.
It swelled to 6,000 members.
Last weekened was the first group meeting in Metro Detroit and Cofer said people go into surgery with hopes but can come out of surgery with complications they know nothing about.
"When people go in to have LASIK they're expecting to have their vision corrected and come out on the other side and they're not warned about all these possible complications, all of these so-called temporary side effects," Cofer said. "When they find the support group then we're there to help them, be a shoulder to cry on. There are ways to manage these problems."
Lynda Kostrzewski is living proof of that.
"This has been a bad journey for the last 19 years and its really difficult to deal with - and the people at home, the group, they help a lot. You need a support network without, it'll be impossible," Kostrzewski said.
That make's Dan presence even more poignant. Jessica's story is helping others find hope.
"I've already received messages on Facebook that we've saved a couple people's lives that were contemplating suicide which has been heavy but rewarding in a way. Obviously that we're helping people. So that's really our goal. We really don't want her death to be in vain," Dan said.
Jessica left a 30-page note to Dan and several videos on her phone where she detailed her fight post-surgery. Dan has said he wants to do whatever he can to help someone else.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741.