A New Approach

I know what you’re thinking: “Two posts in less than a week? Inconceivable!” After such a dry spell it may seem unlikely, but much like the great Vizzini, I do not think that word means what you think it means. At least in this case, two posts close together is rather conceivable. Let’s just say quite a bit has happened this week.

My last post explained how crummy I’ve been feeling in the last month. The culprit seems to be the oral prednisone I’ve been taking since my eye surgery in May. I am happy to say that after talking with my eye doctor today, I’ll be tapering off over the next month. So hopefully I should start to feel more normal soon.

Unfortunately, that was the only good news from my visit. It seems the scar tissue on my left eye has grown back. As I briefly explained last month, this surgery was a new attempt at the same game we’ve been playing for the past six years: remove the scar tissue, try to stifle the inflammation, and hope it doesn’t grow back. It seems that, yet again, we have lost this battle.

My heart sank in the doctor’s office when I felt the tug on my eyelid as I tried to look at my nose. I knew that the scar tissue on my eye had again attached to the lid, even just the tiniest bit. It was immediately devastating. My hopes had been so high, and my vision was doing so well. It was amazing to me that the doctor and nurse in the room didn’t seem to flinch.

Dr. Hamilton began to talk about the next steps we could take – scleral lenses and steroid injections into the scar tissue. How are you acting like this isn’t a huge setback? I wanted to scream.

But after six years of the same story, I guess it isn’t really much of a setback. It’s just not another way forward. Still, I could feel myself melting into the chair as I texted my parents and close friends the news.

I drove home, had a long talk with my best friend, and I cried. I felt so relieved to let the sobs burst forth in sputters against my pillow as my heart wailed against the injustices of life and mother nature. The weight was still on my shoulders, but it started feeling bearable. It can be good to just get all of that muck out of you and into the open – if only to keep it from staying locked inside.

Afterward, I spent a few hours watching episodes of the satisfyingly gory American Horror Story: Asylum, and then dove straight into my work. The day was finished off with an endorphin high from one of my favorite yoga classes.

People wonder all the time how I can stay so positive about everything. “Don’t you ever have bad days?” they ask.

Of course I have bad days. And my bad days are largely unpredictable, just like the rest of life. Even though today wasn’t particularly big news to my doctors, it crushed me. I felt as though I’d lost a major battle in the war of my life. Something about it just hit me flat across the stomach like I’d actually been punched.

But the day got better. As I went through my list of usual coping mechanisms (horror flicks, writing for work, signing Julie Andrews songs, deep breathing in yoga), the negativity and anger I’d felt in the morning slowly began to wash away. It isn’t always so easy, and sometimes the frustration takes weeks and even months to dissipate. But somehow it always seems worth it to keep moving forward.

I have been incredibly fortunate in the unwavering support of my family and friends throughout this process – which I believe is the real reason I have persevered and even thrived. They are helping me purchase the scleral lenses, which may stall scar tissue growth and ease inflammation in my eyes.

It is my sincere hope and belief that one day we’ll find the right approach to my eye troubles. Just like it took me twenty-five years to learn how to cope with stress, this is also going to take time. But I hear patience is a virtue!

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4 thoughts on “A New Approach

  1. Awwwww Alex! I am glad that you wrote it all out. It is as if you said stuff that other people are feeling too. Talk…. talk more because it helps

  2. Matthew Smith

    Wow, while I am saddened to read that things have not progressed as you had hoped, I remain incredibly impressed by your courage and optimism, Alex. Sending lots of good vibes my friend!

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