Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie is opening up about her difficult recovery after undergoing retinal detachment surgery. The mom of two suffered the injury after her 2-year-old son Charley accidentally hit her in the eye with the pointy end of a toy train just before Thanksgiving, and while she and her doctors were trying to avoid surgery, they had no other option when laser treatments proved unsuccessful and the vision in Guthrie's right eye went black.
"The retinal tear had deteriorated sharply, and I lost my vision. And that's what happens if you don't fix this: You lose your sight," Guthrie told PEOPLE. "That was the first time I felt freaked out. was hoping that they weren't going to get in there and see, 'Oh, it's worse than we thought. We can't fix it.' That was probably the lowest I felt, because I was just really scared."
Guthrie underwent surgery earlier this month, with her co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin announcing the news following Guthrie's absence from the talk show. Thankfully, the surgery was a success, and Guthrie is on the road to recovery, something that is not easy.
"It's uniquely challenging, this recovery," Guthrie said, explaining that she had to lie facedown the entire first day after surgery and now has to switch from lying facedown and sitting up each hour. "Your body starts hurting in different places, lying down like that."
Making her recovery even more challenging is her children, 2-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old daughter Vale, though the youngsters are doing their best to help mom out.
"It's hard with toddlers," Guthrie said, adding that Vale created signs reading, "'Nobody can bother my Mommy.' I think she's exception to that rule because she comes in 20 times a day."
Meanwhile, Charlie is being "so sweet," and Guthrie holds no hard feelings towards him over the accident. "He's a little boy. He didn't mean to do that," she said. "He got a two minute time out and that's it. I would never want him to feel responsible."
Although Guthrie has been absent from the Today show for several days now, she said she is hoping to join her co-hosts the week of Christmas, though right now she is focusing on her recovery. "If this eye looks anything like it does right now, I would not do that to America," she said. "It's pretty ghastly. I look like a prizefighter…who lost."