Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Eyes Have It (Part I)

Beware: This is a longer blog post inspired by recent events, and it delves into a few happenings during the past couple years. In the end, it all comes together. So please: Bear with me...

It was with great shock and sadness I recently read a blog from a fellow D-Blogger Kelly, about her recent eye issue. That post can be read here. We all have wished her well and she's doing great, despite losing vision in her right eye, and it's down-right inspirational to see the kind of fiber she continues on with. Her attitude is quite simply, outstanding and something we should all look up to.

Though her eye issue had nothing to do with diabetes and was a "one in a million" scenario, her ordeal and a combination of other events prompted me to reflect on my own diabetic, eye, and overall health.... And it brought up some thoughts ranging from a recent D-focused nightmare, eye scares both my parents have endured, the overall state of diabetes and retinopathy standard of care, and of course my own eye issues that have become more prevalent in past years. Those include the regular and diabetes-related, including a rare condition that only a small percentage of diabetics ever experience.

As far as my diabetic concerns lately, it's appropriate to say "The Eyes Have It."

The title actually fits in perfectly with the next point on topic. My wife and I are fans of the show Criminal Minds. We love it, despite being a little concerned that there are actualy people as demented as this in the world and there's a TV show based off of these sick crimes. Anyhow, there was a recent episode (or a rerun) called The Eyes Have It - basically, a crazy hunter guy snapped after his dad died and decided to start cutting out people's eyes and putting them into the hunted animals' empty sockets. Despite the crazy sickness of this, I thought it was a good episode.

This, of course, sparked a dream-nightmare soon after, one that basically involved a giant Diabetes Monstor stalking me and trying to cut out my eyes. He wore an eye patch and carried a syringe, but my dream haziness couldn't muster up any more of an actual description. Just believe this wasn't a Mike Wazowski; it was dauting demon and it seemed as though I couldn't escape it... (Dream anaylsis, anyone?) I woke up and there was no Diabetes Monster, though the thought remained for several days and still does.

This all also made me start reflecting on recent happenings in my life that all revolved around the eyes. Since I've been living with the D now for 25 years since age 5, my eye doctor has told me that I've shown the early, most minimal signs of diabetic retinopathy. The first mention of this was a couple years ago, and he said there was really nothing to do that point other than keep blood sugars under control. Nothing else required or necessary. I complied, at least for a while before falling back into my lax routine. A later visit found it had basically reversed itself, and all appeared good in the eye world once again.

It was at the initial visit that I also learned about a new eye-diagnosis I'd never heard of nor been told about before: (superior segmental) optic nerve hypoplasia. Apparently, while it's rare and can happen in non-diabetics it mostly occurs in a small percentage of the children of juvenile diabetic mothers, especially those pre-mature babies. That's me - I was a month premature and my mom's been a Type1 since age 5. It's only in my right eye, and basically my optic nerve didn't form all the way and only goes through half the eye. This means that if I'm looking straight ahead and cover up my left eye, out of my rightI can only see the upper half of my vision field. Waving my hand below that line isn't seen, until I move it up closer to the half-way point. It doesn't get better or worse, and it really doesn't affect anything since I can see the full picture from my other eye and obviously moving the trouble eye up and down allows me to see everything. Just an interesting tidbit to learn about, almost at age 30.

"Interesting and rare..." That's always something to gulp about when those words come from any doc's mouth.

Well, it happened earlier this year again when he told me that retinopathy was showing itself again. Again, nothing to do except keep in control. He moved on and also informed me that I had protein buildup in my left eye, a more common issue that wasn't diabetes-related and basically could have resulted from wearing my contacts too much. I should stop wearing them for a while, he suggested. I listened, but as a result soon found myself in a new frustrating situation that sparked even more headaches even as other eye woes came to light.

This story will continue with tales of more Big Eye Monsters, Pirates, Lasers, yelling-matches with the eye clinic people, and what it all means for the diabetes world. In the meantime, I'm thankful to be able to see, that we live in a world with the tools to manage both diabetes and eye care, and most of all I'm thankful for the love and support of family. Not to mention, the great DOC who offers continued support and opens my eyes each and every day.

1 comment:

k2 said...

Good post Mike. Thanks for the shout out, but please, it's really important that people know that my eye issue had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH DIABETES. What happened to me was a "1 in million thing," that happened to happen to a person with diabetes.
Ironically, my retinas had such little damage from diabetes, that I probably never would have had any diabetic retinal surgery.
Kelly K