The Flashes That May Not Go Away
In the first part of this article series, I discussed my newest symptom of macular degeneration, flashing lights. Normally, this would be a reason for concern as flashing lights can be a symptom of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. In fact, I did rush into my retina specialist to get things checked out the day I started noticing these pesky lights. Annnnd, I got the ‘all clear’ that everything was intact.
Good news or bad news?
Not having a torn retina seems like pretty good news, right? It is... However, part of me disagrees. You see, a torn retina can be repaired - problem solved. An eye that has flashing lights without a torn retina is just an eye with flashing lights. There isn’t anything to fix. And that feels worrisome. Who knows how long these flashes will last or if they’re here to stay like my floaters.
Being okay anyway
If you’ve read any of my recent articles, you know that macular degeneration hasn’t been the only difficult thing going on in my life. Through all of my hardship, I’m really evolving, growing, healing, and learning a lot about myself.
I wrote a Facebook post recently to thank all of my friends and family members who reached out to me knowing about my scare. I’m always trying to heal by helping others. It’s what fuels me to be healthier, physically, and mentally, and gives a sense of purpose to my macular degeneration. Here’s what I wrote:
In the past, I would have been a nervous ball of anxiety sprinkled with a lot of grief over these flashing lights. And, truthfully, a tiny part of me still is. But, I’ve learned something special about myself this week that needs sharing... as I’ve found myself happier and at peace instead of going through the devastating grief of more vision loss.
This disease has truly been a catalyst for me in learning how to say yes to the things that feel right and no to the things that don’t. I’ve had to make some really, REALLY tough decisions this past year.
I’m not that girl anymore
After lots of therapy, lots of Al-Anon (a support community for family members of alcoholics), lots of tough conversations with myself, and lots of changes, I’ve found myself feeling okay no matter what. Instead of worrying today, I spent the day finishing up moving [my most favorite human and biggest supporter] Eric in and decorating our home for Christmas with a renewed sense of hope and joy.
If that broken girl I was a year ago can make it to this peaceful space while going through more hardship, anyone can. We’re all going through something hard. You, too, can be okay no matter what.
No magic pill
There is no magic pill to cure our eyes or to even heal our hearts. Macular degeneration can be so hard on us physically and emotionally. This is why it’s so important for us to find a way to be okay no matter what. For me, I found my way here by really working on myself, focusing on what I can control. Like I said earlier, lots of therapy, lots of Al-Anon, and lots of hard conversations with myself have gifted me the ability to find peace even on my hardest of days.
Family and friends
Through my hard work and healing, I have learned that I am more than enough. I self love, give myself grace, and allow myself to be present and grateful in each moment. This isn’t always done easily, but the more I practice it the better I’m getting at it.
Here’s why... I’m just not willing to give up any more of my precious ‘seeing’ time to feeling worried and anxious. I am also blessed with this really amazing and strong support system that never lets me hit the ground when I’m falling. I have family and friends, I have my support groups, and I have my therapist. Some of this support came into my life naturally and some I sought out specifically reaching for help.
I find myself leaning on their support and love when I struggle to love myself.
No matter what,
How do you protect your eyes from the sun?