Ever notice how life changes without our permission? No matter how well we plan, how disciplined we are, life can change in an instant. The only real constant in life is change.
Some months ago, my eyes started getting fuzzy. At first I noticed keeping score at my granddaughter’s softball games had me filling in the wrong box on the score sheet or having difficulty tallying hits, runs, or RBIs. I blamed it on the bright sunlight or the fact I had forgotten my hat. But, that didn’t explain dealing with the same issues on rainy days.
Although my handwriting had never been worthy of an A+ in penmanship, it had always been readable. I didn’t write much anymore having become dependent on my computer. Banking online had virtually eliminated the need to write checks, except for a few here and there. Those few had my words slanting up and down, above the lines, below the lines.
The changes didn’t make sense as I had recently had my eyes examined and was sporting new spiffy red glasses.
My frustration spilled over into everything I did. Trying to read street signs or judge distances became a problem so I stopped driving. I was annoyed that using my computer was becoming increasingly difficult; I cut way back on my computer usage.
The final straw was when I could no longer read a book, even the ones in larger print. Increasing the font size on my Kindle was of little help. My blurry vision just got worse, and worse.
I scheduled an appointment to get my eyes checked with a new doctor. She was upbeat, friendly, about the size of a pencil, and looked about fifteen. I liked her immediately. At the end of her thorough exam, she said, “You have a cataract that desperately needs to be removed.”
Her next comment surprised me. “Which eye would you say is your worst eye?” My reply was immediate. “That’s easy, my right eye.”
She looked at me rather strangely, saying, “My exam shows your left, the one with the cataract, is much worse.” So she did some scans; took some pictures.
Thirty minutes later, she showed me photos of her finding. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and a growth filled with fluid and blood attached to the back of my right retina. If she had never asked the question, I would never have had a clue.
Two days later, I spent the afternoon at the Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) for a battery of tests and heard the ophthalmologist’s confirmation of the diagnosis of Macular Degeneration in both eyes.
The only thing I knew about Macular Degeneration was people with the disease could end up going blind. My mind swirled with questions, and a bunch of scary thoughts.
The ophthalmologist took time to patiently answer questions about the disease and discuss various types of treatment. He prescribed special vitamins and a monthly shot directly into the eyeball to stabilize the growth attached to my retina and slow the progression of the disease.
I learned about the forms of AMD, wet and dry. About 90% of people diagnosed have dry AMD. Early AMD usually starts out as dry, but in about 10% of cases it can develop into wet AMD. I had the disease in both eyes, one was dry and the other was wet.
My mouth opened saying, “Well I always try to do things in an interesting manner.” Sometimes I make the dumbest comments, but the doctor smiled, telling me he liked my attitude.
Although I had been at CEI for over four hours, it seemed in the blink of an eye I was diagnosed, received my first shot, handed a card with appointments for recurring shots and sent home.
After reading the information from the doctor, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), a progressive eye condition that damages the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision.
I soon realized there really was nothing much I could do. Accept the doctor’s finding. Pray. Turn the whole thing over to God and let Him take care of the situation.
When I was young, my mother used to tell me, “Don’t ever feel too sorry for yourself because you can look in any direction and see someone much worse off than yourself.” Her words had seen me through a lot of rough spots and saved me from numerous “worry wart” sessions.
After several months of shots and cataract surgery my blurry vision is improving. The growth attached to my retina is nearly gone, for now. The swelling and bruising is slowly disappearing. I no longer look like I’ve gone a few rounds with Muhammad Ali or George Foreman. (Sorry these were the only boxers I could think of at the moment.)
I am anxious to order new glasses in a few weeks. New glasses will mean reading the stack of books patiently awaiting my attention, resuming writing my blog, and outlining some thoughts for a new book. New glasses will mean I can drive again. Although, I have to admit I will miss my chauffeur with the bright brown eyes that twinkle when he smiles. Who am I kidding; I’m not giving him up, not after 53 years.
Only downfall: the shots in my eyeball will continue indefinitely. They are a pain, literally, but I can live with them.
Getting older has opened my eyes to see that life just goes on, with or without our permission. It simply is what it is.
Life is every-changing. We cannot control our destiny. However, we can remain optimistic; never losing sight of the beauty and the joy that surrounds us.
Trusting God is in control and feeling His presence all around me; my heart is full of gratitude for the awesome life I have been given.
Ending on a Positive Note: God never promised life would be easy, but He continues to provide strength and guidance to get us through the rough times.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths before you and be steadfast in all your ways.”
Proverbs: 4 25-26