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!