I guess it is about time to write this posting because I am getting more and more e-mails and phone calls asking why the blog has been so quiet.
This is a difficult one to write, but I am more optimistic about the future than I was a couple weeks ago.
During November and December I noticed that my vision was getting worse almost daily. I wear contacts and my corrected vision has always been very good and my prescription hasn't changed in years. It got to the point where I went to CVS and bought the "cheater glasses" so I could read things like the newspaper and use a computer.
That helped for a couple weeks, but even that became useless after a couple weeks. I went to my optometrist and was told that it was just "old age" creeping up on me.Around Christmas the "old age" really began moving fast and I didn't even feel comfortable driving. I wasn't looking forward to "old age" if things deteriorated this quick.
I just wasn't comfortable with the "old age" diagnosis and looked up "opthamologist's" on Google. An optometrist can test your eyes and vision, but an opthamologist can prescribe medications and perform surgery and diagnose problems with the eyes. I made an appointment with an opthamologist in Farmington and on January 6th I met with him for an eye exam.
I had a gut feeling from the start that it wasn't going to be a good appointment, the deterioration of my vision was just progressing too fast to be normal aging. I went through several tests with technicians in his office and eventually met with the opthamologist. As he examined my eyes through the high tech equipment he had an assistant with him that he was dictating the specifics of the exam to and she was taking the notes.
He was giving her a lot of information and numbers and reading that meant nothing to me on my right eye, then he went to the left eye and continued his dictating. The first words as he peered into my left eye was "massive edema". I knew right away that didn't sound good. He went on for a few more minutes with the exam and then explained that he wanted to do more testing and I returned to the waiting room for the next test.
Thank goodness for smart phones and I started "googling" edema. I thought it meant a bruise or swelling and that is basically what I found on google, it means swelling.
Bottom line is I went through a few more tests, the most important one was a test where they inject yellow dye into my veins as a technician takes a rapid series of photos of the retina. Apparently the pictures show the vessels of the eye and where those vessels are leaking causing the swelling on the back of the retina.
My opthamologist then gave me the bad news. The official term is apparently called "macula edema", it is one of the side effects of diabetes, and according to what I found on the Internet, is the number one cause of adult blindness in American adults.
I was pretty much given three options. Do nothing and the odds were good I would be blind within a year. Undergo laser surgery and hopefully that would seal the vessels that were leaking and stop the progression of any damage. And number three just made me cringe, a series of steroid shots directly into the eyeball. I told the opthamologist to avoid number three at all costs, it just made me nauseous to think of a needle in the eye.
It is not very comforting to think about not having vision. To make the matter worse, the initial appointment was January 6th, the same day my father died 8 years ago. I left the doctor's office with my head spinning as to how my life would change if I lost my vision. We take a lot for granted, many things you would never think about in every day life. As an example, and I know it sounds trivial in the greater picture, but even things like signing a credit card receipt in a restaurant and filling out the tip.
The bottom line is that I had the laser surgery on my left eye last Friday. The opthamologist says that it could be three months before it is known whether it was successful or not. It will possibly take that long for the swelling of the back of the eye to go down, although he was hopefully optimistic and said worse case they could repeat the laser surgery and the steroid injections were still an option as a last resort.
I guess at a time like this you realize what needs to take priority and my vision is that priority. I apologize for the lack of postings but I fully intend to ramp that up again and I'll keep those interested in what I hope will be a very positive outcome as I face this problem.
I didn't share the information with a lot of people before the laser surgery, but for those who have called and offered support, I really appreciate it. The support of my friends has been very comforting, even as you think about the worse case scenario. To my closest friend Joe who knew when to get me out of the house and unwind and my mother who did what mother's do with her reassurance that everything would be ok, even as I knew it was taking its toll on her, it puts everything into perspective.
Other's called to offer to make sure my dog was walked or to offer rides or pick up food and prescriotions or just to offer reassurance that it would all work out. Thank you for your support.
Life goes on.