Tag Archives: diabetic retinopathy

Dreaming for the glory of glasses

Alright eyes, we got this. Don’t let me down, eyes. This year is our year. Got it. Alright, let’s DO this.

That was the pep talk my lovely, grey eyes got yesterday morning all through breakfast, all through transit, all through the rainy walk, and every step up the five flights of stairs to my opthalmologist’s office.

Yesterday was my annual eye appointment.

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This appointment I dream of for 365 days, hoping, praying, begging for my eyes to finally falter in the presence of my opthalmologist.

I am obsessed with glasses, been so ever since one of my elementary school besties showed up to class in an oversized pair of pink specs. I loved them! I had to have them!

When I was diagnosed with Dear Diabetes shortly after and told my diabetic eyes could be a thing of concern, I swear to you that was one of the happiest days of my life. My parents were near tears and I’m practically jumping for joy. (I was nine, what can I say, glass half full girl!)

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Friends know if they wear glasses, I’ll be trying them. I mean seriously, how could this face NOT be granted the glory of glasses???

But noooooo, year after year, blinding appointment after blinding appointment, they keep regaling the perfection of my eyes, exclaiming they’re getting better with age, no diabetic spots, and that once, majorly noticeable wandering eye, it’s majorly dissipated.

They wait for me to smile, but instead get a grimace.

I. Want. Glasses.

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These eyes NEED glasses!

So yesterday, I’m sitting in the office noticing every seat filled with someone in glasses. Could this be my year, I thought. Surely, everyone in glasses is a sign, I thought. I am getting older, after all. Eyes fail with age, right? Right???

My eyes are dilated. The room starts to blur. One word fills my head over and over: Please. Please. Please. Please. Pleeeeeeeeeeease.

I’m in the office. I see an information placard on age-related macular degeneration. Symptoms include yellow-white deposits that mess with photoreceptors causing impaired vision.

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Hmm…

I’ve been experiencing major eye irritation for months. Lots of thin eye goop that causes a burning sensation. I thought it was the circulating dust, or allergies, but maybe it’s AMD.

Squinting my eyes, I put my face right close to the sign, practically nose touching it, and read further.

Oh crud.

This is NOT good.

Abnormal blood vessels growing in my macula!

Leaking blood and other fluids!

Complete vision loss!

Oh crud! Oh crud! Oh crud!

sympathy

Found this pic on How the Light Gets In blog. The whole post had me giggling…I could totally relate!

I want glasses. I don’t want diseased eyes.

My specialist walks in, sticks a blinding light through my dead eyes. Looking good, she says.

Erm, I stutter.

Yes??? she waits.

Erm, you don’t see leaking blood?

Noooo??? she queries.

I start talking a mile a minute, telling her about the burning sensation in my eyes, how they get real itchy, and painful, how I’m sticking my fingers in there trying to get what’s causing the pain out practically every minute, and that I think it might be age-related macular degeneration, and that my eyes are gonna fall out, all the while my stomach fluttering with opposing excitement and fear. Hoorah to glasses. Eek to dead eyes.

She pauses. I swear to stop from bursting out laughing. (Note: she knows my great desire for glasses). You have dry eyes, she said. That’s all. They’re not dying. They’re atypical diabetic eyes. She hands me a sample of gel drops.

No glasses for you!

Once again spurned by damn perfect eyesight.

Sigh.

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The lasts

Hallelujah, my friends, we have entered the week of the lasts. The last pregnancy related appointments I will ever have to endure. Wahoo… I mean, I’m so sad this is ending… note the sarcasm 😉

1. Blood work: After two years of monthly blood work, which involved more than one year prior to getting pregnant to ensure my blood sugars were perfect pre-conception, and then nine months of once-a-month tests to ensure BG perfection throughout the pregnancy, I held my pin cushion of an arm out for the pretty little vampires one last time last Monday.


When you get blood work done this much, you learn which labs are the quickest and which ones have the best (and by best I mean least painful) blood suckers on staff.

2. Diabetes in pregnancy clinic: Last Tuesday was the last time I will ever step foot in that god-forsaken, numb-skull driven place again. When you have a nurse who works in a pregnancy in diabetes clinic who asks if you might be pregnant – one month after regularly going there! – and when you’ve got an evil hag of a dietitian who makes you want to go and vomit every time you eat, I’m thinking you got a problem.


Goodbye! Goodbye! Goodbye!

3. Eye exams: Each trimester of this pregnancy I have required an eye exam to ensure the pregnancy hormones and pregnancy blood sugars haven’t caused diabetic damage to my eyes. And you know, I figured, given that I had to endure those blinding eye drops, the eye gods could have done me a solid and granted me my wish of finally being sentenced to a life of eye glasses (when a girl looks as great as I do in glasses, she should NOT be deprived!) but nooooo, the eyes continued to be the epitome of sight perfection.


Not even pregnancy could mess with my sight 😦

4. Non-stress test: As of Monday, the one-and-a-half months of twice-a-week non-stress tests, which at times were actually quite stressful, were no more.


We aced those tests kid 😀

5. Obstetrician: Today, I went in for my last obstetrician appointment, which means no more freaking the crap out of me, no more poking and prodding, and other evil things to me (in the office that is) and no more peeing all over my hands. Oh happy day.


This book in the obstetrician’s office always made me laugh, but nine times out of 10, I left not feeling like a hot mama.

6. DINKs: Tonight could very well be the last night Big Ring and I are a Dual Income No Kid family.


Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!

The reason for the lasts: My due date is Sept. 20. It was suspected I’d be induced around Sept. 6 (the day before my grandpa’s birthday; the most amazing man I ever knew). But following the results of my last ultrasound last Thursday, which showed a long-legged, pot-bellied, eight-pounder with a highly visible “layer of fat,” it was decided I’d be induced on Monday. Labour Day (how appropriate!). But today, that all changed. After complaining of an incessantly itchy belly last week, I was sent for some blood work, and it turns out my liver enzymes have elevated (yet another pregnancy side effect I’ve been plagued with) and they figured it would be best if we start the process sooner rather than later.

Cue the freak-out session!

Never Eat Soggy Weiners my butt

I knew something wasn’t right, could feel it in my bones, my legs, my feet. But I kept going … and going … and going. I had directions, Big Ring directions, which for most people probably border on the obsessive with the amount of detail in them, but for me are a necessity.

You see, I get lost. A lot. It doesn’t matter how often I have walked, ran, cycled or driven an area, I will inevitably get turned around re-seeking that area. I get lost in the town I grew up in,  the town I currently live in, heck, I even get lost trying to find my way home again. Directions have absolutely no meaning to me, I don’t trust GPS’, I can’t read maps, and seriously, what the heck is up with that Never Eat Soggy Weiners compass cross that you learned about in Grade 3 – it doesn’t work!

This morning I had an eye specialist appointment in Vancouver to check and see if the pregnancy is causing disturbing blood spots on my retina (more on that in a future post). And the plan was for me to walk from West Broadway to the Running Room in the West End where I was to pick up mine and my moms packages for the Starbucks Women’s Walk/Run tomorrow. The trip should have taken 40 minutes…

Big Ring gave me two options, which I failed to study before getting the dilation drops in my eyes, which make everything blurry for hours. Big mistake! But I did ask, before leaving the loft, which direction east was coming out of the office, based on the first point in one of his options. He told me, the way I came.


Take note, there’s an option 1 and 2.

After the eye appointment, I spent a good 10 minutes (despite Big Ring’s use of larger script) with directional option 2 practically glued to my eyes, trying to figure out how to get from point a to point b. I left the office, turned right, and started walking. Two seconds in though, I remembered, no, that’s not the right way, I have to go left. I turned around and continued on my way.

But the thing is, with every step I took, a nugget of doubt grew in my belly. The directions were to take me over the Burrard Street Bridge, which I’ve gone over hundreds of times, and never, not once, have I ever gone this way to get to that bridge. But then I thought, hey maybe Big Ring’s just trying to give me a longer stroll, so I continued on.

After awhile, I figured I’d get some added clarity. I pulled out my iPhone map app and typed in Burrard Street, Vancouver. A map pulled up indicating that I was in the Mt. Pleasant area. I started walking with the app, and by all accounts it appeared I was walking in the right direction, so I kept going.

But it didn’t take long for nasty thoughts to fill my head: My god, where the hell is he sending me; Longest frickin’ walk ever; Is he trying to kill my legs??? Finally, after walking for nearly an hour, I called the culprit.

Princess: You did tell me to walk toward Mountain Equipment Co-op right?
Big Ring: Yep, if you were taking the Skytrain option.
Princess: What Skytrain option? I’m walking!
Big Ring: Uhh, where are you?
Princess: Victoria and Broadway.
Big Ring: Oh.

Yeah, so I was nowhere near where I should have been. I could have walked back, but my blood sugars were fast plummeting, so I hopped on the bus, with the intention of getting off at Granville, to continue the trek in the right direction. But, guess who missed her stop? Yep, that was me. So another bijillion blocks later to get back up to Burrard. Are you kidding me?


My day in maps.

After picking up the walk packages, I sluggishly hoofed it over to Coal Harbour, my old running grounds.


Being back here again had me longing for my running shoes.

Twelve kilometres, a slice of banana bread, a less than impressive Whole Foods sandwich, a chat with a four-year-old girl from London, and a pair of throbbing legs, feet and buttocks later, and I was finally back on the Skytrain heading home… praying I got on the right train!

Pristine disappointment

Dammit! Perfect eyes again 😦

Every year I go to the eye specialist hoping, praying, begging that this will be the year she gives me a prescription, but nooooo, I get the nasty eye drops, I look like I’m stoned for the better part of a day with my pupils so super dilated, I get my eye pressure taken, which by the way so not fun, I get the blinding light shone directly into my cornea, and all I ask in return, is to be told, you need glasses. And every year, the specialist keeps coming at me with “Pristine eyes” “No diabetes damage here” “So great to see you” I DON’T WANT TO HEAR THOSE WORDS!!!

For fear of being offed by every sight deficient person in the world, I should probably elaborate here. I don’t want to be blind, I just want the need for glasses. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to wear glasses. My sister was the lucky one in our family (although she never truly appreciated her luck; repeatedly burying her glasses in the park near the house so she wouldn’t have to wear them) and I used to sit in front of the mirror for what seemed like hours with her glasses on; my friends in Grade school with glasses, I used to pluck them off their heads and stick ’em on mine every opportunity I got; and when Mario and I got together, I was in near heaven when I learned of his blurry vision – finally, I had real reason to go into the eye shops and try on every pair they had! What can I say, I look good in glasses, and really, you can’t deny good fashion 😉

And today, I thought I was so close to that dream finally becoming a reality. In the dark room, with my chin planted on the Clockwork Orange like contraption and my head strapped in, the specialist announced I was still looking good at 20 something vision (I can’t remember what number she gave me). When I asked what that meant, she told me a slight near sight. And ohmygawd, my head jerked back, my eyes grew wide, my smile erupted. “Do I need glasses,” I asked, giddy as a schoolgirl mounting her first pony. No, she said. We might as well just call my specialist Little Miss Negative Nelly. Despite seeing my excitement, despite knowing that with one mere second, a flick of her pen really, she could make a girl’s dream come true, but noooooo she’s got to strike it down. Apparently it’s only a slight, slight, slight near sight, not worth a prescription, she told me. She didn’t care that I look good in glasses, didn’t care that I want glasses, didn’t care that I am being deprived in the fashion world, she just kept saying you don’t need them, kept telling me this is good news, most would kill for my eyes.

The feeling is mutual – I’d kill for theirs!

In other news… further proof that stubborness is genetic, especially in my family: my great nephew. After 40 hours in labour – 40 HOURS!!! – my super amazing, tough as nails niece finally delivered The Great One last night. Apparently, he was rather comfy in his mama’s belly 😀


Heart!