It's been a roller-coaster of emotion for me this week. After spending years planning fun retirement full of adventure and joy I find myself facing crushing disappointment. I'm struggling to re-gain my emotional balance and figure out how I can salvage a dire situation.
I began having eye problems in February around Valentine's Day. I thought they were temporary and would get better. They didn't. I spoke to friend who's an optometrist and she assured me it was a condition that isn't serious (cataracts) for which there's an easy remedy (cataract-surgery which replaces your eye's lens with a new plastic one). She referred me to an ophthalmologist who, Wednesday morning, delivered devastating news -- I don't have cataracts; instead, I have a horrible disease that usually leads to total blindness. Called "neo-vascular glaucoma" the disease causes the eye to create visual obstructions that can't be fixed and raise the eye's pressure to dangerous levels. (I didn't know our eyes have pressure but they do.) When I went in and was being tested, the doctor was greatly alarmed: normal eye pressure is 10-20 mmHg; mine was over 60. After checking the pressure three times he gave me medication and made me wait an hour to see if it helped. He was getting ready to conduct emergency eye surgery if it didn't.
Fortunately the medication worked and my eye pressure lowered. Bad news is damage to my left eye (which I thought was a cataract that could be fixed) is irreversible. That eye is now gone; its vision is permanently destroyed. We fighting to save the right eye from being lost the same way.
I believe and hope we'll win this battle. If so, I'll be able to salvage some of my future plans. I can't imagine life being totally blind. I can live with one eye; I can't conceive of living with no eyes. Vision is essential to almost everything we do and necessary for most activities and pleasures.
I want to ride my motorcycles, walk in nature, take photographs and appreciate fine art. I want to read great books and think about ideas. I want to be free and mobile, able to visit friends and travel. At bare minimum I want to look into people's faces and see if they're smiling or frowning. I don't want to be pitied or ignored.
If you have empathy and want to offer support, now is the time. I'm in the battle of my life. I've never felt as threatened and sad.