Life with Glaucoma

For some people, having glaucoma is merely a nuisance – putting in eye drops in twice a day, and yearly eye pressure checks.  It isn’t a painful or otherwise debilitating disease.

For me, it started out that way.  Even my first surgery in 2005 seemed more like a little bump in the road than a major life event. I recovered, my vision was stable, and I even got to start wearing contacts again. But apparently it wasn’t meant to stay that way.  In 2012, when my eye pressures started climbing, there was a whirlwind of doctor’s visits, referrals, escalating medical therapy and finally permanent and acute visual field loss followed by 2 surgeries.

Since then, I have constant, niggling worry about my eyes.  I wish my ophthalmologist appointments could be routine, but they never seem to be. Every visit and every test is accompanied by anxiety as I wonder what my eye pressures will measure and what new issue will come up.  Is my vision worse? How are my visual fields? Will I need to start a new medication? Do I need another procedure because I’m maxed out on medications? And when things are stable for the time being, I feel deep, immense relief.

The past couple of months have felt like that whirlwind again – multiple appointments, new medications, new issues, and now a (minor) procedure scheduled next week. I was pretty upset about it a few weeks ago, but my perspective shifted ever since I watched a documentary about the uninsured who flood an urban ER (“The Waiting Room” – it’s on Netflix if anyone is interested in watching it).  I realized that I am in the best possible situation because I have:

(1) health insurance, with easy access to doctors and medications
(2) fantastic, aggressive doctors who have worked hard to preserve my vision
(3) amazing and supportive husband and family
(4) the time, flexibility, and means to schedule these appointments and this procedure without any added stress

So I don’t really have anything to complain about. In fact, I’m actually really thankful.

I know that I will never be “cured” of glaucoma unless God miraculously heals me, so I am finally accepting that I have a chronic, lifelong disease (while still praying for healing!). I have absolutely no control over its progression, which keeps me humble and dependent on God.  And I’m simply grateful for each morning when I wake up and still have sight 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Welcome, 2015!

During our little New Year’s Eve dinner at our house, a friend asked everyone to sum up 2014 in a few words.  I honestly can’t remember all of my words, so I’ll just come up with new ones here: family, transitions, good food, and struggles.

In 2014, I’ve gotten to spend more time with my family than ever before, for which I am so thankful.  I’ve fallen in love with cooking and baking new things, and grown to enjoy sharing that with people.  It was a year of huge transitions, a cross-country adventure, and adjusting to a new city and for husband, a new job.  And man, have I struggled with God this year!  The big struggles this year were our miscarriage and my future.  And this holiday season especially has been tainted with underlying anger, anxiety, and frustration despite the many, many things to enjoy and be thankful for.

Anger that this residency application process has not been straightforward and that husband and I will have big decisions to make in the upcoming months.  Anxiety about constantly feeling like we’re transitioning and not having even a clue of where we will be in 6 months.  Frustration that there is constantly something going on with my eyes – if it’s not having to go to the ER because my eye turned red and started swelling up, it’s that my pressures aren’t that great, and I might need yet another procedure next year since I’m approaching maximum medications again.

So this is where I am right now.  It’s a strange place to be in, because there is silliness and laughter, wonderful people, and yummy food, but also fear, uncertainty and anger…all at the same time.  Even so, I am immensely grateful that God is here with me in this place that is definitely not shiny and put-together and full of smiles.  And when I just can’t see how things will work out, I’m so beyond thankful for friends and family who demonstrate God’s love, tell stories of His faithfulness, and pray words of encouragement over me.

I guess I can have hope for this New Year, and maybe even feel excited about (rather than afraid of) what 2015 will bring.

Happy New Year!

And also, happy birthday to my mom! 🙂