If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you’ll likely already know that I had a pretty significant retinal bleed yesterday. (And if you’re not, and want to be, check the bottom right corner of my blog.)
The irony of it all is that, just yesterday morning, I was thinking to myself, “You know, I’m getting pretty close to having relatively clear vision. Maybe in a few months I’ll be able to see clearly out of both eyes for the first time since spring of 2009!”
I’m not superstitious, but I can’t help feeling a little like I jinxed myself.
Early in the afternoon I started to notice a thread of blood creeping up from the bottom of my left eye. It wasn’t exactly welcome, but it also wasn’t too much more than I had been having a few months ago, so although it was disappointing, it didn’t really faze me too much. By the time I left work it had mostly absorbed already and was comfortably mingling with the old mess from the last few bleeds. Meh…sucks, but whatever.
Then in the early evening a larger strand started to ooze upwards into my vision. If you’ve never had a retinal bleed, it’s a bit difficult to understand what it’s like, but this one was sort of as if there was a little canker worm dancing on my eyelashes. (Please note that this analogy makes it sound much cuter and more fun than it actually is.) This one kept bleeding for quite a while, as I watched it branch and spread in the vitreous of my eye. Before long my periphery on the left side of my left eye was a mess – blobs and strands and drops and mist. And it just kept coming – thicker by now. (Think dancing caterpillar instead of dancing worm. But still less cute/fun.)
One of the things that is rather disturbing about an experience like this is that the blood seeping into your eye actually looks like blood. (To me – not to you….you can’t see it if you look at me, in case you’re wondering. I get asked that a lot.) It’s red and, well, bloody. So I’m now looking at the world through what appears to be a murder scene from a worm/caterpillar massacre. (Less cute now, isn’t it?)
The scary part is always not knowing when it’s going to stop. Wondering if this will be the time that it fills up completely. Or going to bed, like I did last night, not knowing how much sight I was going to wake up with. It’s pretty scary, folks.
Thankfully this morning’s vision was no worse than last night’s – possibly even a bit better. As today wears on, the darker spots are blending into a familiar mist-and-blur combo. One one hand it’s better, because it’s less opaque. On the other hand, it takes up more of my field of vision this way, since it spreads as it blends. My depth perception has gotten pretty bad (thank goodness for auto-correct on my iPhone because that teenie keyboard is made for people with better hand-eye coordination than I currently have), and the headache that usually accompanies a bad bleed is on its way in. I’m sure I’ll adjust to it as I always do, but the first day or so it’s a real pain in the ass.
So that’s where things are at.
I’m kind of torn as to how to respond to this from an emotional standpoint. There’s always a part of me that wants to get mad at how unfair this is. With all the work I put into managing my diabetes so that I can avoid its complications, it’s a real piss-off when something like this happens. People with much worse diabetes control than me have perfect vision, and while I’m happy for those people (I am, really), it seems like a bit of a cruel joke that I’m having to deal with this.
There’s a part of me that wants to climb into bed, pull my blanket over my head and sleep and cry for the rest of the weekend….or at least keep my eyes closed and pretend this isn’t happening. Seeing that shred of hope from yesterday morning crushed in such a definitive fashion is extremely discouraging.
But there’s also a part of me that is really really tired of letting this disease make me feel like shit – the part of me that wants to put my foot down about how much I’m willing to let it take from me. I have no choice over what it does to my vision, but I do have a choice about what it does to my spirit.
So while I grieve the setback (because I’m also not going to pretend that it doesn’t bother me), I guess my goal is to look at this as just another bump in the road, and keep hoping that I’ll get to experience clear vision again at some point in the future. (At which point I’m going to do so much looking….you have no idea! I won’t even sleep, I’m just going to look and see until I’ve seen it all – clearly!)
But next time I’m getting close to that goal, don’t be surprised if I don’t want to talk about it in case I jinx myself again.
(I’m really not superstitious!)