Before I jump into the gory details, I want to make something clear. Some of this is gonna sound really shitty. It may seem like I'm complaining or like I'm being all woe is me. I know I'm not always Sally sunshine and my attitude about certain aspects in my life has been somewhat negative at times, you guys have bared witness to that. This is NOT one of those times. As strange as it is, I am in no way shape or form, nor have I ever been down in the dumps about my eye condition. I am so thankful for the vision I do have. I am so thankful that my Glaucoma has been under control for the last 9 years. I am so thankful that I've been able to go to the top eye hospital in the country and that the best doctors in our country have told me that I'm doing everything in my power to keep the vision I do have for as long as I can. If I can make it to 50 without going blind, whatever else happens will be ok with me. I've made my peace with this.
Now we'll get started. This is me at 3, the age the doctors told my parents I'd be blind by. Currently the uncorrected vision in my good eye is 20/400, my bad eye is 20/800. We're talking can't see the big E with my bad eye people.
Here I am at 11 (feel free to laugh). You've heard the term coke bottle glasses right? Well, this is what they look like, bifocals and all.
This is my collection of glasses as of today. Thankfully technology has advanced and my glasses have thinned out. With the exception of the pair with the telescope of course. Aren't they cute? I had to get those while I was living in the great state of NY so that I could operate a motor vehicle. Scary thought considering I just told you I can't see the big E right? It may look like I've made an art of buying eyeglasses, but when you have 3 different prescriptions you're bound to have a lot of glasses. I recently donated 6 pairs and was able to check off number 42 on my list of 101 Things In 1001 Days. Also on that list are learning to read braille and re-reading Helen Keller's biography. If you've got old eyeglasses sitting around the house, donate them please. There are people in need (public service announcement over now).
Ugh, I'm already getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and start from the beginning. I was born on August 27, 1979 with cataracts. Yep cataracts, the disease that most people get when they're 80. For those who don't know, cataracts are the clouding of your lens. Your lens is what protects your eye. Well, when you're a baby and you have your lens removed (the cataract) replacing it isn't an option because your eye hasn't fully developed. Because my lenses were removed before I was 1, they weren't replaced, because they weren't replaced, I attracted some other fun eye diseases like Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma (also typically old folks diseases).
No dramatics here folks, Glaucoma aka the silent blinder, will absolutely leave you vision-less if not treated regularly. These are the Glaucoma meds I take everyday, two times a day so that I don't go blind. On a positive note, because we have to look at the bright side of things right, the yellow drop makes your eyelashes grow really long and thick. It's basically a souped up version of Latisse. And...if I were a pot head, which I absolutely am not, I could totally use my Glaucoma as an excuse to get a medical marijuana card. I reserve the right to redeem said card at the age of retirement.
I had a couple other surgeries as a kid (a muscle surgery because I also have a nystagmus) and then managed to go surgery free until thirteen years ago. At age 22 my Glaucoma decided to spike despite taking my medication and I agreed to have what will be my last eye surgery. You can only operate on something so many times and unfortunately in my case this last operation was the straw that broke the camels back. I am in no way saying the procedure I had is not a viable option for Glaucoma patients, I am however saying that every time you operate on the eye, you're causing more nerve damage and in my case having a shunt/valve implanted into my left eye was not a good decision. I'm going to refrain form totally bashing my Dr. at the time, but it is my belief that because of this surgery I lost a good deal of vision (like going from reading lines on the eye chart to having to have someone test your vision by holding their fingers up 6 inches from your face). I am also going to refrain from bashing my parents for not asking more questions and/or recommending that I look at alternative options.
I should have done the same and post surgery I decided it was time for me to take my healthcare into my own hands (which I encourage you all to do). I've been able to find some wonderful doctors who respect my choice to avoid any future operations and are willing to work with me to find the right cocktail of meds. While we're on the subject, Glaucoma meds are no joke. I've been on the above cocktail for 9 years now and I'm beyond happy to report that my eye pressures are 100% stable. I'm so grateful that I found the will to continue on this regiment because for the first few weeks, I didn't think I was going to make it. True story, the week I started taking Diamox I was so sick I missed the entire week of work. After 4 days of being cooped up in the house, I decided to walk the one block to the dry cleaner to drop off some laundry. Half way there I passed out on the side of the road and shit my pants. I walked the half block back home in D's suit pants and died for another 3 days.
I don't drive at night, I never have, but on the plus side, I've never have to be the DD. I have to take a behind the wheel driving test every two years (even at 34 it's stressful people). I can't wake up and see the alarm clock. I can't do anything without glasses or contacts or both. It's amazing how you adapt though. I've taught myself so many ways to do the things I otherwise couldn't do because of my low vision. For instance, typing without looking at the keyboard is a cake walk for me, it has been since pretty much day 1. When you don't relay strongly on your eyes to do things, you learn to memorize a whole lot quicker. I don't know how it happens, but it does. I take pictures of things I can't see with my iphone and then I zoom in so I can read whatever it is that's printed super tiny. People who can see well are always amazed when I share that trick. I mean, if you can see why would you ever think to do that?
God, I think this is probably the longest post in the history of Brass Honey. Like every other post, I share what I do because I think that there might be someone reading living through what I've been through. If I can help someone in a similar situation, I want to. It makes it all worth it. I mean that's why were here aren't we. Anyways, I know this post will not be relevant for most of my readers, but if nothing else you now know a little more about me. Make the best of things friends.