Macular Degeneration and Me

Low Vision and High Hope

Twists and Turns

Sometimes I think all of life is really about twists and turns – never a path that goes from Point A to Point B – but a circuitous route that can challenge the most adventurous spirit.  And I’m not referring to a Robert Frost philosophical ‘road less traveled.’  I’m talking about those everyday things that happen – flat tire, no heat, bad weather, whatever, that you have to fix before you can do the thing you woke up to do in the first place.  Well that’s been my year.

As many of you know I decided to go forward with the vitrectomy to peel a macular pucker from my left eye.  A sensitive operation, sure, but not life-changing.  Even with known allergies to medications, I put myself in the hands of competent doctors and nurses on November 12, 2012 for the operation.  It went without a hitch or so it seemed.  I woke up with no pain and learned that three layers of membrane (scar tissue) had been removed from the macula.  I left the hospital and went home to recover for a few days.  My eye was a bit blurry but that was to be expected……and then came one of those twists and turns.

The blurriness in the left eye continued, and continued.  Seems there was unexplained swelling at the back of the eye.  First, we assumed it was from the peeling of all those layers of tissue but after three months there was no change.  I was on a prednisone-type drop four times a day and then eventually an injection of Avastin – still no change.

Twist and turn number two occurred when I found out that now a cataract was developing in the left eye – an always possible side effect from the operation.  Reading became quite difficult as did driving.  Since I didn’t drive much anyway, I gave up everything but local travel.

Throughout all of this time, I was experiencing severe stiffness and ongoing pain from my osteoarthritis.  Difficulty walking and doing simple chores around the house became a nightmare.

I could continue this story, twist by twist and turn by turn but you would soon tire of reading about this.  So, how am I now?

My arthritis is somewhat under control, aquatic therapy helped ease the pain, cataract surgery on the left eye went better than hoped for and I now read with that eye 20/70 without glasses.  I’ve learned that I don’t have to do everything TODAY, I can let others help me and I’ve learned the happiness that a small white dog can bring.

There have been some other things trying to divert me from the path, but I’m determined to just go with the flow and try to learn and enjoy what comes my way.

Next time I will explore the Ups and Downs that came along for the ride with Twist and Turns.

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8 thoughts on “Twists and Turns

  1. Katharine Emsden on said:

    Hi Pepi (after 1 year, just as you were gtetting vitrectomy, which I might need):
    Eyes stable, 20:40, other eye pucker + mac.deg.no cataract or glaucoma indicated, 74 yr.old. Hi vit/min. diet + avastin, which even eliminated swelling/leakage in pucker eye 2 months ago.
    Interested in technology aides & perhaps guide dog. My niece in England trains them! Read best without lenses, but without good contrast it’s slow. Store labels & computer screen require close-up looking. Grandmother had mac.deg.
    I am so admiring of your persistence. I try hard to predict no more driving & am determined to finish longterm book while I can manage reading,writing, which is my “life.” Any useful aides here? My excellent new specialist is a 7 hr.round trip drive, which I still do, with back up sleepover plan.Katharine in Colorado mountains.

    • It’s good to hear you have a new specialist Katharine. I know that was a big issue for you. There are so many things available out there now for reading and writing. iPads, Kindles and other notebook-type devices allow you to change font size at will. Some other devices read to you. My main tip is LIGHT, more and more of it. If you have a local Association for the Blind, they usually have seminars or staff that is well-trained on LIGHTING> Don’t discount this – it makes a huge difference for me.

      My ophthalmologist is switching me to Eylea from Avastin for a couple of reasons – it lasts longer and does not seem to react with blood pressure issues. I’ll keep you posted on that.

  2. tcay1@comcast.net on said:

    So sorry to hear that you have had all these “twists” in the road but I am glad hear that you are still hangining in there!  Thank you for being such an inspiration to me! 

    • Hi, Tracey – glad to hear from you. Yes life threw a lot of twists this past year. I always expect challenges but it got so that I was never sure where the road was headed. Hearing from all of you sure helps.

  3. Thank you Pepi for your update and for sharing how you handle the twists and turns of life. A great reminder for all of us. Sharing your thoughts on our Facebook page.

    Leslie Degner

  4. Tracey on said:

    I am following your story and hoping for the very best outcome. I work for a retina surgeon in CT. I wish you the very best. 🙂

    • Thank you for following and for your good wishes. Right eye cataract to be removed on Feb 18 so I believe I will get back a little of my far vision in that eye. Left eye remains to be seen but I have more vision than I did. Watch for my next post.

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