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If you read my article yesterday you know about my battle with Diabetic Retinopathy. My vision became increasingly worse in 2015, and things got really bad just after the New Year in 2016. I had to take action.
I got bad news at my recent follow up visit at the eye clinic, and I am not doing great. I mean, I do have a positive attitude, and I intend to do all I can to overcome the news that I got, but it would have been better/nicer to get good news instead of bad.
So, what was the bad news? Well, I went in for my follow up eye exam, and what I was told was not what I was expecting to hear. When the doctor examined my eyes using a microscope, I heard him saying things like “hmmm” “Oh” and such. I was not sure if that indicated good or bad, but I suspected bad, and I was right. After the exam he told me that he wanted to have another doctor take a look for a second opinion, but he felt that he was seeing that the retina in my left eye was partially detached, like it was peeling away from the interior of my eye. He said that the “peeling” stopped right where the laser marks started. The second doctor came in and looked. She confirmed that it was peeling away, becoming detached.
The two doctors disagreed, though, on the significance of this discovery. Doctor #1 felt that it was very serious. Doctor #2 feels that it is not good, but she also thinks that it won’t be a big problem. She feels that the Diabetic Retinopathy was caught early enough to halt further separation of the retina. Who is right? No way to know, except for time to pass and monitor the problem regularly. Both doctors agreed that I should have a thorough eye exam monthly to monitor if further peeling occurs.
At this point, I have the option of having surgery (not laser, knife surgery) on the eye and they can re-attach the retina. It is complicated surgery, though, and very expensive (for here). Right now, my vision in me left eye is terrible, nothing but a blur really, and the doctor told me that it is doubtful that glasses would be able to help me at all. What I am unsure of right now is whether my vision could be improved with the surgery, or even if it would make it where glasses would be effective. If the vision could not be improved, or improvable then I am uncertain that there is any real value in the surgery. But, I am unsure and have to weigh it all very carefully, and get advice from at least one more doctor before I decide what to do.
So, I have had a lot to think about for the past few days. The good thing is that for the past 2 years I have been doing a fairly good job in controlling my blood glucose (this condition is a diabetes related condition). In the past couple weeks I have been doing an excellent job in control. If I can keep up the kind of control that I have been doing recently, I can really put the eye issue aside, I think, and just move forward. If I slide, well, I will suffer the consequences. I hope to continue to be the master of my body and my health, and keep good control over those things. I can do it if I make it a priority, and I have the motivation to keep it a priority.
You know, the sad thing is that as far as my general health, I am really feeling great lately. My exercise program has been going well, I have been eating very well, and I just really feel good. My general practitioner doctor says that I am in good health, as long as I control my glucose. He said I can live another 30 years if I do keep control, and I feel that I can. But, I don’t want part of those years to be in the dark.
One thing the doctor told me at he follow up visit was that having had diabetes for 25 years, my eyes are in excellent condition. Most people would be blind after 25 years of diabetes, so I should be thankful for what I have, I suppose.
Basically, at this point, given the news that has been given to me, if I don’t take good care of myself, I will probably be blind in a relatively short period of time. How long? Depends on how I take care of myself. Maybe as short as a few months for my left eye. My right eye is in much better condition, so I have no idea. But, if I don’t take good care of my health, it will certainly develop the same problems that I have in the left eye.
The good news is that since moving to the Philippines, I have lost a lot of weight. I have started exercising regularly. I have changed my diet. I have to do these things even more consistently in the future, and keep it up. If I don’t, I face a bleak future in terms of my vision. Not being able to see would be devastating, and I want to do all I can to avoid that. And, I will do all I can. I just hope that what I can do is enough to avoid any problems, and even bring my eye health back to being better than it is now. I don’t know if it is possible to do that, but I am going to try.
My good friend Lourdes
I have a few very special friends here in the Philippines that I count on a lot. I have written in the past about each of them. One of those people is Dra. Lourdes Lebosada. Lourdes is my dentist, but most importantly, she is really my best friend. I count on her a lot and she is like family to me.
When Lourdes found out about my eye problems, she really sprang into action. Being a dentist, she has many friends who are doctors of different types. Lourdes contacted one of her doctor friends who happens to be an eye doctor. It was through this contact that I got all of my care in terms of my eye surgeries and other treatments. Lourdes even enlisted her sister-in-law to accompany Feyma and I on all of our visits to the hospital and help navigate our way through all of the admin type tasks. Here name is Cherry, and she is a really great lady to know! Very helpful, and she is also developing into one of my good friends as well. Between Lourdes and Cherry, they made the eye treatments as easy as possible for me, and they ensured that I was getting the very best of care at each step. I want to publicly thank both of them for the efforts that the put in and the true friendship that she showed me.
So, what do you mean?
You may look at the title of this article and wonder what I mean. “I can see clearly, just not with my eyes”. What I mean is that with the information that I have learned in recent days, I can clearly see that there is a problem, and what I can do to control that problem as much as possible. I can’t see clearly with my eyes, but I can see, in my mind, very clearly what my future path is to protect my vision, and I can see where I will be heading if I don’t follow the right path. It is now up to me to make sure I stay on the proper trail.
Thanks for your support.