I’m trying my hardest to continue focusing on all of the good that is happening with my diabetes. My control is infinitely, by leaps and bounds, at the extreme opposite end of where my control used to be. I’m recovering from 3 surgeries and doing well. I’m adjusting to my new way of seeing. In addition to two silicone oil bubbles, I have two contacts to help me see…my right eye can see well enough to get around and function almost at the normal mark and my left is still playing catch up (understandably so).
I am now considered “farsighted” which I don’t completely understand how. I can’t see far or near…but alas, I’m not an ophthalmologist or optometrist. I am having a heck of a time seeing up close…argh!!
My second to last lingering complaint for where I am at this point is I am suffering from the wackiest double vision. Oh. My. God. It’s the most inconvenient thing EVER! There is, at most times, two of everything. My eyes seem to point in different directions….which leads me into my biggest complaint.
Dependence. I currently have to rely on family and friends a lot. I can’t drive. I have a hard time navigating stores. Reading some things has become difficult. I just hate depending on people. I hate the waiting. I hate having to ask someone to go out of their way. It’s just frustrating. I know they (most) are happy to help me out right now…but it makes me angry. I’m on the cusp of being able to do more on my own right now…but only the cusp. It’s like a kid that just wants the training wheels off of their bike already yet no one has a screwdriver.
I try not to dwell on that kind of crap – no reason to drag myself down and stress about it. It’ll all be OK. I have a couple upcoming appointments and my ophthalmologist knows what’s going on (I seem to see her over my lunch break around the hospital a lot)…writing it all out has helped relieve some stress of it all – it is sounding stupid, small and petty to me now. I should just be thanking my lovely stars for where I am.
I can see, however unfocused, and that is all that matters.
…is something that I never imagined would be so hard. More on that later.
Since last posting, I’ve been up to a lot. As I’ve previously posted, I have now had two major surgeries where my eyes are concerned. Multiple last surgeries ending with two vitrectomies in the right eye. This past Monday, I was lucky and most fortunate enough to experience an emergency vitrectomy in my LEFT eye. Oh, joy.
My retinopathy is extremely aggressive and Dr. B felt that my only option was surgery. Keep in mind that I cannot fully see out of my right eye at this point because of the silicone oil that has for the moment permanently taken up residence behind my right retina. I knew this is where everything was headed. But I never, ever, EVER imagined just how quickly my retinopathy would move.
I was back at work in a functioning capacity for a week and a half until I came in, sat down at a computer and completely lost it. I could not see anything. Now, let me clarify. I am not and was not completely blind. My right eye is 100% blurry (think looking out the skewed bottom of a glass bottle). I can see big picture, but it is useless to read, look at a computer or even watch TV. Glasses can’t help my right eye. My left was a mess of floaters and a total curtain of blood behind my eye with…drum roll…a retinal detachment. With a detachment, and most specifically my detachment, it was dark.
Fast forward to last Friday. I was signed up for surgery Monday morning (I bumped three of her other cases if that gives any bearing on how completely RUDE my eyes are…). Fortunately, one of the optometrists was able to fit me for a contact lens for my right eye to give it some “workability.”
I made it through surgery OK and I am getting used to my momentary disability…It’s very frustrating to only be able to see minimally. With my lens, I can watch a little TV and my parents were awesome enough to buy me a new phone that I can see enough to get by (an iPhone is WAAAAY too small now). It’s not as bleak as I had envisioned prior to surgery. I’m not useless. I’m getting by and I am in a much better mood than I forsaw myself having.
I haven’t let myself dwell on the stuff I cannot do. I know my vision now is temporary-ish. I will see better in the future – whether that be through stronger contacts in both eyes, special glasses and/or more surgery. Things will get better – are better already.
BUT. The one thing that pisses me off the most, is the one thing I cannot quite do. And that is put toothpaste on my damn toothbrush. WTF.
(I either put too much, too little, it’s hanging off the side, I miss completely or once already, I failed to squeeze any onto the bruch at all)
Round 1 went to diabetes the past two weeks. I’ve been having some trouble with my left eye (the eye sans vitrectomies, oil bubble, blurry vision, and eye patch). There is some active bleeding despite my thoroughly singed retina and some rather annoying floaters. I’ve been to the eye doctor twice and go back in two weeks. My doctor decided to closely watch my retina and told me to stay home and relax – OK!!!!
I’m not entirely sure if I’m done processing the fact that my right eye was in such turmoil. Three rounds of laser surgery and two major surgeries are a lot under even semi-not-normal circumstances…but damn. My left one now, too? Give me a freakin’ break already.
I’m working so hard to overcome some maddeningly self-induced complications that most of the time I forget to breathe. Everyone keeps telling me that I need to relax and not get so completely stressed out that I exacerbate my symptoms. By staying home the past two weeks, I’ve really helped my left eye stay even keel – it’s not “good,” but it didn’t get worse.
So that means that I am in desperate need of some awesome stress management – easier said than done for me. I’m like my father personality wise. We get stressed out easy and don’t let it out and well, explode in some way, shape, or form. I’m going to try to get back to yoga – it’s been tough because for a long time, I wasn’t allowed to do much in the way of exercise because of my healing eye. Meditation is always another possibility…I can’t wait for this crazy cold winter to be over: bike riding and long walk time!
I got a text the other day which made me laugh. It’s a reminder that stuff happens and that you need to assess and keep trudging. All-in-all, I think Round 2 went to me.
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.