About every decade or so my vision changes and it's a big huge deal. Everything I do involves my vision and so it is a challenge to get through my life while dealing with the old glasses that don't work, traveling to get the new prescriptions when I can't see, discovering and dealing with incorrectly made glasses, coping with the frustration of prescriptions that unavoidably need to be tweaked, etc. I need to see at least an opthalmologist, optometrist, and optician and they all have to work together. I now have a good team but it will still take some time to get glasses that work.
I haven't been online as much, and each time I do go on it means dealing with eyestrain, headaches, etc. No more keeping up with my Twitter stream, and barely keeping up with Facebook, everyone's blog, etc. I haven't read a book or written an Amazon review in quite a while.
Then yesterday I had the exam with the opthalmologist. I'm supposed to go every year, but have put it off for three years because I really--really--dislike the retinal exam, and my eyes have been fine. No good excuse, but still...He found two new diseases. The first one is probably/possibly inconsequential--Fuch's guttata--I don't have it too badly at this point. The second one is serious.
So I have macular degeneration. I am pretty young to have it. It may progress slowly or quickly, and there is no way to know, but I need to be very careful with my diet to maximize a slower progression. I may die still being able to see or I may lose my ability to read, see faces, and drive "soon"--whatever that means. Since this was just yesterday I am reeling with the shock of the diagnosis and random ideas like:
- I may only be able to read 100 more books. (See, this was actually true before but I didn't know it...it's true for everyone.)
- Last week I was worried about having time to do art...now I'll be lucky if I can see art.
- I may see my last Maui sunset on our vacation to Maui next month. (Better to be grateful to ever see a Maui sunset!)
- I may someday not be able to keep up with my online community. Or google things.
- My life may be limited in ways I can't imagine soon.
At the same time I am having other more positive random ideas like:
- I fell several times in the last ten years and never lost my vision (I have weak retinas)--I have been blessed every time.
- My life is not in danger from this.
- Some things are way, way more important than they were a couple of days ago. Some things are much less important. Things are moving into perspective--a good thing.
- Many people have low or no vision and have full lives.
- Change is inevitable.
- Each one of us has challenges and limitations due to disease and/or aging, and I am incredibly blessed to have health insurance, the financial resources to address this, and nutritional knowledge which may now help to save my sight.
- God and/or a Loving Universe will not give me more than I can handle, and all will be well.
It takes time to process a difficult medical diagnosis. Doing so is life-changing. Having lots of feelings--even being an emotional basket case for a while--is totally normal. So that's what I'm up to. I've been having some tough days...and...all is well.
All is well.