Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There may be lots of world, but I'll only ever see half of it.

As most of you know, I have been having issues with my left eye for awhile now. Several years ago, my retina started to pull away from the back of my eye, and fluid started to fill in behind it. This was a problem. My vision became blurry and distorted. Because of this I have gone through several laser procedures, two full-out surgeries, cataracts, several black eyes, sleepless nights, 10 bottles of different eye medications, long periods of inactivity, reduced depth perception, and several misunderstandings with people when I can't see them on my left-hand side.

The latest surgery was at the end of April and was scheduled rather quickly when it was discovered that my whole lens had gone opaque over the course of a weekend - rather than seeing very little out of that eye, I just saw white milkiness. They removed the bad lens and the silicone gel that had been inside of my eye for over a year to keep my retina more or less in place. I have been home this last month recovering and trying to stay as idle as possible so as to not bump or jar anything in my eye. It has been pretty boring at times, very nice at relaxing at others.

Today I had my latest appointment with my eye doctor. The news was not good. He had been very optimistic after this surgery, but slightly less so each time I have gone back. Today was straight up realism with no spoonful of sugar to help it go down. My retina has torn once again. It will most likely never heal. I will never see out of my eye again. I can move and do whatever I want now because there is nothing anyone can do about it. If he tries to go in once again, he could kill the eye.

If I was older, it would have been easier to fix. But since I am a young, healthy individual with an excellent immune system, my body likes to heal itself. And heal vigorously. That means scar tissue. Every time my doctor has tried to go in and help my eye, scar tissue has built up and pulled on the retina and gunked up all sorts of things. If I was older or had a weak immune system, the scarring would have been minimal and I would probably be able to see right now. Kind of ironic - the things about my body I have always been thankful for and allowed me to keep any schedule I wanted are now a big problem.

This hurts.
I hate admitting failure.
I hate feeling powerless, feeling like I can't act, only be acted upon.
I hate knowing that I'm going to be like this the rest of my life.

I usually try and forget about this problem and move on with my life, but now I have to accept that I will forever run into people on a crowded walkway, I will forever be scared when backing up a car, I will never be able to play frisbee or soccer like I used to be able to. I will forever be on my guard waiting for something bad to happen to my other eye which could render me completely blind.

Someday I'll get a brighter perspective and be ready to rise above my challenges. One day I'll feel less overwhelmed and regain my I-can-do-anything attitude. But not today. Today is a grim reminder of my frail mortality, a reminder that no, contrary to my usual belief, I am not superhuman. And, oh, how it hurts.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. We are saddened by your loss of vision in one eye. But we are confident, in your case, that you see more out of one eye than most people do out of two. All the best from the Nuckolls family!

  2. I echo Dr. Nuckolls' sentiments. Praying for you.

  3. I love you Z. Thanks for posting this. I'm thinking about you a lot today. We need to talk soon. Tell me when is good and when you have to start work.

  4. I'm sorry Zanna! I love you!

  5. I know very well that you hate admitting failure, and I'm very aware that there are thousands of things that we don't agree on. I never spoke with you much because I never felt that you would listen, but that's nothing you could have helped at the time. Many people have a disability of some sort, and it's taken me an entire lifetime not to completely define myself within my own autism.

    You're more than what happens to you, and you're more than what you biologically are. You're more than what others tell you--doctors, spiritual leaders, and so on, there's so much more. To see yourself as your biological components and as your competence in society is a formula for suicide. This will shake you up a lot in so many ways, and I'm so sorry that you have to live through this. Our spiritual beliefs differ in the "whys" of why we go through suffering, but I wish you the best.

    As a last note, don't think of yourself as something to be acted upon. Try not to let yourself think as a victim. It's comforting and necessary, but in the long run, I promise you that it doesn't help. I would have never have come as far as I have if I thought that my disability would keep me from happiness. You know how to contact me if you want to talk further. Best of luck, Z.