Just Heather

On Monday, I visited a retinal specialist to see what could be done about my eye problem. I knew I had macular degeneration, caused by retinal bleeding. What I didn’t know was what they were going to do about it.

Turns out? They wanted to stick a needle in my eye. In. My. Eye. A needle—did I mention that? Maybe praying I wouldn’t need surgery wasn’t such a good idea.

(Dear God, Very funny. Love, Me.)

Surgery is an option, but he wanted to try medication first. It’s actually a cancer medication called Avastin but has been used successfully for years in this off-label use. The problem? They have to inject it directly into my eyeball every 6 weeks until the blood vessels shrink and the swelling goes down.

After that, “maybe” I’ll get my vision back. They “hope” to see improvement over the next year. But, hey—I’m young! And, he’s “always surprised” by how well we “young people” do. While none of that is at all encouraging, it did help to know my right eye is fine(ish).

The retinal bleed is caused by ocular histoplasmosis. And, before you ask, no. I didn’t grow up on a chicken farm! This is an adult complication from a fungal infection in childhood, typically associated with chicken coupes.

I had never even seen a chicken coupe until a school field trip just a few months ago. Apparently? After my eye issues started. My doctor believes this has been going on for months, but I didn’t notice because I am right eye dominant.

My right eye also has a few “histo spots” but shows no signs of complications since they aren’t near my central vision. While my chances of regaining the vision in my left eye are up in the air, my fears of going completely blind have been alleviated.

My fear of needles? Out in full force.

And, they expect me to come back to their torture chamber in 6 weeks. To once again ply me full of a dozen eye drops, pry open my eye and stick a needle in it! You might think with all the numbing agents, I wouldn’t really feel it. Oh, how I wish!

It didn’t hurt all that much, at the time, but the sensation of having something inside your eyeball is a bit creepy. It also hurt a lot after the meds wore off. I’m doing much better today, but I’m still sensitive to light and the computer screen hurts my eyes.

My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades…

A couple weeks ago, I woke up with a headache, sore throat, stuffy nose and blurry vision. None of this is odd—I get strep throat & sinus infections several times per year, and if I wore my glasses more often there’s a chance I could see clearly.

My cold went away, and I could see again—in my right eye. My left eye? Still pretty blurry. Then something weird happened Friday night. The blurry vision? Was suddenly very localized, like there’s a big bubble in the center of my eye. It’s a good thing I spent so many years in marching band—if peripheral vision is all I’ve got, I’m glad it’s so well developed.

I went to Lenscrafters in my first free minute on Saturday. They were booked but scheduled an appointment for Sunday. I flunked most of my pre-screening tests. You know,the ones for my left eye. Then, I headed back to see the eye doc. Yes, this is Lenscrafters but he’s an independent ophthalmologist and has always been great with Brenia.

He asked a lot of questions, looked at my retinal pictures and told me my problem was beyond his expertise. Um, that’s not something you want to hear. Ever. I have a retinal bleed, causing wet macular degeneration—a central vision blind spot. He referred me to a retinal specialist (appointment at 1:15 today) for immediate surgery.

There’s an 80% chance my vision will be completely restored once they stop the bleeding. That’s a passing grade and everything, but that 20%? Sounds awfully high when you’re talking about my sight.

I. Am. Terrified.

And, not just about losing my vision. It took me most of yesterday (with lots of tears that are possibly not good for a bleeding eye), but I’ve come to terms with that. I think. It’s just one eye, anyway. I’m currently ignoring Dr. Google who hints that it could happen to the other one as well. Dr. Google is mean and scary.

I’m scared of surgery. They’re going to point laser beams at my eye. My eye!

I’m scared of the financial ramifications. Our insurance is basically sucky, our HSA is fairly depleted from other events, we just received a huge list of repairs for the rental house we own, and our savings account? Not what it should be.

My eyesight or letting Lorelai go to preschool as planned? My eyesight or keeping the girls in their current school. My eyesight or the Disney vacation my girls have been excited about for months? I might honestly choose all the things my girls “need” except that my personal income pretty much relies on my eyes. How can I blog blind? But, we’re ignoring that possibility for the moment.

Except. I’m not.