Inside the Eyes of a 34 Year Old Myop
At the ripe ol’ age of 5, I was administered my first, of many to come, pair of glasses. Life as I knew it was rather mundane. That was until my 13th birthday; I was introduced to what would become a life-altering adoration – contact lenses.
Horrendous and excruciating pains
From that moment proceeding forward, I basically shifted through the motions in relation to proper treatment of my most precious sense. However, I was crudely awakened one morning shortly after my now hubby and I were fresh into our relationship. Per routine, my alarm was blaring within my eardrum except this particular AM differentiated from all others. Opening my eyes was unbelievably strenuous. Excruciating pains shot through my eye socket towards the back of my brain. Light exposure further rendered horrendous intensity. A trip to the optometrist office provided a diagnosis of a corneal ulcer. The aftermath could be scarring or even possible blindness. This was whole-heartedly the most devastating and scary thing I’d ever heard from any health-related expert.
Darkness and isolation
The next several days were spent in complete isolation. Darkness succumbed my every essence. Tears and prayers were all I could accomplish. One follow-up later, I was able to shock the practitioner with what the elaborate testing entailed. This same doctor who just spoke of the possibility of scar tissue or becoming blind not even a week prior, was able to deem what he was viewing as a miracle. Minimal damage resulted; it was a true life lesson that I deeply rooted within my psyche. It all remained seemingly unchanged until that fateful day; the date that will forever be branded one of the most pivotal of my existence.
My field of vision was completely altered
I’ll never forget it... cuddling with my son, Kaeden, on the couch, observing something he was fascinated by on his iPad, with him narrating all the specifics pertaining to this particular phenomena. My right eye bared a sensation of grittiness, one that was resemblant to having an object lodged where my optic nerve is located. Instinctively, I began to rub my eyeball. Literally, in the blink of an eye, my field of vision was completely altered from the norm. I was overcome with panic as I consistently closed my eyes repeatedly while simultaneously praying for it to go away, that it was just a teardrop stuck to my lens. But it didn’t go away; it didn’t change whatsoever. Words on our technological devices appeared to be submerged in water; viewing a picture of my baby’s face forced him to look like “Sloth” from Goonies. High-strung anxiety took over my entire body. I texted my husband about what I was experiencing & took my contacts out amid my communication with the God of my understanding. Nothing. I was full-blown panic by this point. My husband had already left work and rushed home to then rush me to the optometrist's office. Within two hours from its occurrence, I had my prognosis – a scratch on my cornea. Phew! What a relief... except it wasn’t. My subconscious took it with a grain of salt but refused to shoo away any hope or positivity. I did all the recommended treatment options he discussed with me – minus one I made up on my own. I hid behind darkened sunglasses because exposing the world to my paralyzingly nonexistent self-esteem was not optional. You see, this diagnosis meant no contacts for a week. Thus, behind both pair of those spectacles was a girl brutally bullied during adolescence. One second is all it would take. One funny look. And I’m 10 years old again being made fun of on the playground.
My gut instinct
Despite all that, I continued the regimen. However, the termination of a corneal abrasion didn’t set right within the depths of my soul; something was screaming at me to pursue other alternatives. Proceeding multiple recommendations for another ophthalmologist, I surrendered to my gut instinct & opted to welcome this individual as my new visual specialist.
Dr. Harris... He and I met 6 days after my diagnoses. Yes, I did not even wait out the entire timeframe I was instructed to. Our first encounter was brief but incredibly thorough. I explained all that I had recently undergone. He was able to determine I did have an abrasion, but it had effectively healed up. Thus, I was granted the go-ahead with returning to my treasured disposable lenses. He requested I make another appointment for a week later in order for us to become more established & so he can monitor the progress. Retrieving my records was a set goal as well.
Objects appeared underwater
I kept my appointment and continued to explain to him objects appeared to be underwater in one particular spot when I look directly at it. It was better, yet it was indefinitely noticeable. Visual acuity tests confirmed no significant transformation. My previous optometrist did not submit my documented history, so he once again, was solely basing his decision-making off our very short-lived relationship. I also pushed my research upon him about multiple individuals exemplifying identical side effects. These persons often took 3 months or longer to completely retain their vision. He allowed my submission of probing and spoke of seeing me yet again in exactly one month.
Except I didn’t wait 30 days. Shaking that sensibility that there was a more tangible explanation for the bubble rooted within my direct range of view was nearly impossible. My subconscious was feeding me doubt daily. It deafened the longing for an easy resolution.
The question I had been dreading to hear
A third appointment in a month was scheduled. The worry of becoming acquainted with one another, on the other hand, was absolutely not something worrisome by this point. The date has arrived, and I was given a multitude of tests. Once Dr. Harris spent a few moments observing all the data in silence, he asked the question I had been dreading to hear. “Has anyone ever told you, you have macular degeneration?” Bam! There it was. Confirmation of where all the signs were pointing. Self-education is a powerful and traumatizing tool. I was well aware of this debilitating condition. It is both progressive and non-curable.
Terrible genetics and a thinning retina
Overwhelmed with numbness aside from what could be described as a feeling as I just took a Ronda Rousey swift kick to the stomach. My heart physically ached to its central core. There, in that poorly lit room, Dr. Harris and I sat in desolation while he vividly illustrated what this disease consisted of, how we can be proactive in fighting back against it, and several pinpointed reasonings. Primarily, terrible genetics played the most vital role. Other factors may have contributed, but it boiled down to a thinning retina due to stretching of my elongated eyeball. In sum, big, beautiful eyes come at a hefty price.
My future was being snuffed out
Internally, I survived on grief and research for many months in utter solitude. Despair and confinement filled my every void. I was suffering from an ailment that people twice my age were first being divulged the information to. The thought of never being mesmerized by my son's smile, his gorgeous eyes, his perfect face was crippling. My future was being snuffed out in the most unfair of ways. My greatest fear has always been losing my eyesight, veritably not being able to watch my baby grow, study my grandchildren’s characteristics. It was a plaque I felt defenseless against. Until I didn’t any longer.
Education, support, and comfort
I was no longer going to be the victim. Educating myself became my newest obsession. I spent hours on end reading up on the latest technologies, treatments, suggestions and recommendations by highly qualified specialists and those individuals who had many years of suffering under their belts. Reaching out to support groups is where I found peace and comfort. I instantly formed a bond with a female close to my age who had experience in this department. I was no longer all alone. Talk about a heavy burden to carry around day in and day out! Isolation, loneliness, the belief that no one on this planet truly gets it. I’m so thankful for that group. I’ve learned the optimum techniques with purifying my health, and also, to be my number one advocate. I have now seen Dr. Harris 9 times in 13 months - 8 of those in 9 months and one visit resulted in a Laser Retinopexy because I perceived something was wrong. Technically, I was right; I prevented a retinal tear thanks to that outpatient procedure! This disease, though still devastating at times, has provided me with a newfangled perspective on the world. I drink in all its beauty, soaking in all the gloriousness my now offers – even the bad. I don’t get engulfed by stressors that used to dwell on my mind. I’m appreciative of this messy, yet wonderful life God has given me.
How do you protect your eyes from the sun?