A New Day
Throughout this journey of myopic macular degeneration, there has always been a constant pattern. In the beginning, retinal visits were set for every 6 weeks; carefully monitoring potential bleeds and addressing them with injections as needed.
Uncertainty with macular degeneration
Moving into the second year of my diagnosis, these visits got spaced further apart. Rechecking every 8 weeks, marking off the days on the calendar, and carefully self-monitoring as the days and weeks went by. Day-to-day experiences with altered vision kept the diagnosis ever-present in my mind. Enduring the intense rechecks just made it more real.
Still feeling unsettled in year 2
My second year on this path welcomed a new change. Things seemed to be settling down. Injections were slowly beginning to not be needed at every appointment. Soon after, it became every other visit that I needed an injection. Even so, I still found myself holding my breath while each exam was performed. The analysis of each scan would have me holding my breath as the retinal specialist carefully did their job.
As they peered closely at each image displayed on the computer screen, I stared in amazement. How could this almost futuristic-looking display be the inner workings of my eye? What does each curve blob in the picture on the screen really mean? And what would the verdict be? Needle, or no needle?
Welcoming a new normal
This new year began with a new number: 11. It had been 11 weeks since I had my last recheck — almost enough time to stop worrying (as much) about this degeneration. Checking daily, reassuring myself that everything is good. Still the same. A new normal, if you will.
My husband and I made the familiar drive to the retinal office, marveling that our last trip there was in late November. Time had moved quickly since then. With holidays, family visits, and vacations, eleven weeks certainly felt like a long time ago.
Turning anxiety to hope
Still, the worries resurface as if my last visit was just yesterday. The visit begins, as usual, with initial eye chart checks, glaucoma checks, an intense eye scan, and then the grand finale; the doctor comes in and begins the investigation.
Pulling up the chart on the computer, carefully comparing and contrasting today's scan with the previous one. Then one more eye exam, staring deeply into each eye with the most intense light, checking both with extreme care and precision.
Some reassuring news!
Trying hard to project a confident attitude, I listen carefully as the doctor recites numbers and words that only the staff there in the office know the meaning of. It is then that I pick up on something. Something good. The specialist carefully puts away the tools of the trade with a big grin of satisfaction and turns to face me straight on. I hear the doctor say “see you in four months.” I'm thrilled to no end!
With a happy smile, I practically leap out of the examining chair. Joyfully exiting the examining room, I return to the parking lot that I will not visit again for four more glorious months.
Do you feel that you've maintained independence with macular degeneration?