Eye See Almost Clearly Now…
On August 19, 2013 I was wheeled into an O.R. to have the first of two vitrectomy surgeries. Little did I know that I’d be emergently repeating this process literally two weeks later.
**Quick back story: I spent my college years as a “non-diabetic,” meaning years of neglectful burn-out – physically and emotionally. Through these poor decisions, I counted my lucky stars for my lack of complications…until I wasn’t lucky anymore. I have no other complications due to diabetes (KNOCK WOOD!)**
I was never so upset and/or disappointed in myself than when the ophthalmologist told me he saw some pretty gnarly looking blood vessels behind my right eye. My left eye didn’t look as bad, but still hairy. My next step was three laser surgeries on both eyes – which were nerve-wracking, bright, and (for me) uncomfortable bordering on barbaric (well, kind of). My left eye responded to the lasers as it should; however, the right eye was a completely different story.
I was referred to another retina specialist who would evaluate my eye to determine if I needed surgery. At this point, I wanted surgery if it meant being able to see properly again and getting back on track. I wanted to stop waiting around and hop on the road to recovery – whichever form it came in. Basically, I was told I needed surgery and ASAP at that. August 19th rolled around pretty quickly. I never had surgery before and, despite working in the anesthesia clinic full time here at the hospital, was nervous to be knocked-out. All went well and was sent home the next day (after spending a horrendous night in the hospital – did anyone ever experience bad diabetes care in the hospital??) and spent the next ten days face-down with a gas bubble behind my eyeball hoping my retina stays put. Two weeks later, my retina completely detached and I had surgery, round 2. This time, Dr. B. put an oil bubble behind my eye so no more face-down fun. I still have one (possibly two) surgeries left on my right eye, but good news being I will be able to see again (April!). I currently see normally out of my left eye and my right eye is tremendously blurry – like looking out of the bottom of a glass coke bottle.
The moral of this story is that in a round-about way, two vitrectomies and six laser treatments has put me back on track. It gave me the wake-up call I needed in order to light the proverbial fire under my butt. I have my give-a-hoot back and without this hurdle, I’m scared to think that I’d still be neglecting myself. Surgery has reset the stage for my diabetes care…this whole experience has really highlighted my neglect/bad habits/extent of my burn-out. I’m forced now to acknowledge my actions – or lack thereof. Crap just got real, yo. Complications are real. I just feel like a failure? Idiot? Disappointment? I know this happens but damn. I wasn’t ready for the guilt or shame that came with it. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s cliche to say that if I could go back and do it over – the right way – I completely would. I do realize that a diabetic can do absolutely everything in their power to take care of themselves and still have complications. but knowing that I didn’t help myself…arrrgghh! Super frustrating. There’s nothing I can do about it now. So, I’m trying to breathe and reboot; move forward.
One thing I wish is that more people would talk about their struggles. For the longest time, I felt like I was alone and the only one out there tired of diabetes….that could also stem from the fact that I didn’t know any other diabetics, either. You find a lot of “what you should do” and “this is how this goes” online, but I don’t know. Struggles are personal, I know…but…still.