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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Giving Thanks and Seeing Why

Much has occurred recently, some good, some bad, some by design and some by coincidence. All of it has lead to a late November holiday worth truly giving thanks.

On Health
I've been a diagnosed type II diabetic since my Nicolette was born 20 years ago. The disease has a lot more complexity to it than just managing a euboxic glucose range.
Good diabetics go visit their eye doctors annually. I am a good diabetic. By the age of forty I began wearing glasses. Unsure if my vision was declining due to age, diabetes or a combination of, I kept visiting and every so often, he kept changing my prescription. Me, a photographer and avid reader with declining eye sight - go figure. Last year he dropped this bomb on me; "Steve you're developing a cataract in your right eye. We're not going to worry about it unless it begins to affect your vision." "Cataracts?!" I yelled. "Cataracts are what my grandparents get!" This guy was obviously unaware that I'm a Paramedic and thus immune to bullets, disease and yes - cataracts!
Fast forward to this year. Eye dr. finds evidence of a large, abnormal blood vessel that is bleeding right in my macula (DME - Diabetic Macular Edema). This vessel is exactly what diabetics go blind from. It's not gradual either (or so I'm told), you just wake up one day and are irreversibly blind. He gave me a name of a retina specialist in Little Silver, NJ and told me; "Steve, you need to make this appointment... not two months from now, not two weeks from now, you call tomorrow." Okay, so now I'm scared senseless I might lose my eyesight. The ONLY bright side is I could finally get a cute dog I rationalized. Alright, alright, back to my unfolding tragedy. 
I get to this specialists office and I have to be the youngest patient in the waiting room. Everyone else there are septua and octagenarians, I'm not even fifty! Long story short, the specialist was happy we caught this early and young. We attacked the problem with a combination of injections and laser treatments to both eyes. After several visits, he wished me well and assured me, not that I'll never go blind, but that I won't go blind from that cause. Reassuring.
A few weeks ago I visit my eye doctor hoping he will write a new script to replace my old, scratched and beat up glasses. He would not. No combination of lenses could correct my sight. The cataract (a cluster of proteins that build in the lens of the eye leading to blurry, decreased vision and the principal cause of blindness around the world) had grown and was now encroaching on my field of vision to the point it needed to be removed surgically.
This past Monday (Nov. 21, 2016), I sat in the chair was sedated and had a cataract removed from my right eye. I spent an uncomfortable day wearing a patch. Disoriented and escorted by my Kimmie wherever I went I, a level-headed individual impervious to anxiety, was near a full-blown anxiety attack. Tuesday I returned to the doctor to have the patch removed and my eyesight restored.
The patch was removed and the battery of tests began. I knew immediately there was drastic improvement when I read several lines of the eye chart I haven't been able to read in years. The doctor was equally impressed when he stated how significant and drastic the results were.
Like a scene in a movie, I gazed at the world around me. I observed the lines, colors and shades with a child-like enthusiasm as I realized I had not seen this well since my childhood. It truly looked like God put the world through a car wash and added a coat of ArmorAll for good measure.

I opened several of my photography apps on my phone to view some recent photos I shot and I actually cried as they looked so incredibly rich compared to what I had been seeing seemingly forever.

So this Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for having health benefits, for fantastic doctors and their teams of specialists and for having my eyesight back.

Giving Thanks