Today I am going to share a post I wrote in 2010 for the Gratitude Challenge that year. But I am going to add to it with even more information this year. I thought this might be a good way to share something that I am still VERY thankful for without recreating the whole story. I hope you like it.
Today I am thankful that I can see. That might seem like a strange thing to say unless you know my history. For those of you who don’t know, I will share that miracle with you now.
In May of 2004, I woke up from a nap with a detached retina. But I didn’t know or understand that not seeing out of half of my eye was as serious as it actually was at the time. I had a cold and a cough at the time. I had been coughing right before my nap and I just thought when I woke up that I had blown a blood vessel in my eye. I didn’t bother to mention it to my husband as it was a very busy time of the year for his work and I really didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about.
A few days later, I was arranging for some drug testing for some employees at my work and as I was making the arrangements at the front desk, my doctor walked through. I chatted with him for a few moments and I casually asked how long it took for a blood vessel to heal. He asked what I meant and I explained that I thought I had blown a blood vessel during a coughing fit a few days earlier and could only see out of half of my eye. He immediately pulled me back into a room and began looking over my eye and doing a couple of basic tests. He had worked at the Mayo Clinic previously and some of my symptoms were similiar to a person having a tumor on the pituitary gland. Since I am an Ovarian Cancer survivor, we already knew my body knew how to grow tumors. At this time I had only been free of the cancer for 2 years. So he was very concerned.
After a MRI, my doctor was able to determine that I did not have a tumor and he began looking at other possibilities. He immediately referred me to an eye doctor who specialized in the problems I was having. Needless to say, my husband was upset with me for keeping quiet about my little problem. LOL! I saw the eye doctor that afternoon and I was referred to an eye surgeon who specialized in retinal detachments. He was actually one of the top specialists in the nation.
I saw the doctor the next morning and he commented that my retina had detached and that the retina in the other eye was about to detach as well. He said I had a degenerative disease in my eyes. He did some laser welding on that eye hoping that it would buy me some extra time while my other eye healed from reattaching the retina that had detached. When I woke up from the surgery, I was completely blind. It was a week before we were able to remove the bandages and I was able to see just a little through the eye that he had done the laser welding on. I had truly experienced complete blindness during that week. It was dark and I quickly learned to rely on my hearing to help me as well as my sense of touch.
About a month later, the retina in the eye that had the laser welding detached. It was late at night, so I called early the next morning and found myself in surgery that afternoon. It was during this time that my drivers license was set to expire. Even though I had no desire to even attempt driving, I still needed my ID for things. The law where I lived said I only had to see 20/40 in ONE eye to get a license. We worked really hard to try to obtain that in my first eye. It was close, but we weren’t sure if I would make it or not.
When I went in to take the vision test, I still remember the girl asking me to read the smallest line I could in the machine. She had shut off the lens for the eye I had a chance with and I remember telling her I couldn’t see anything out of that eye. LOL! She tried the other and I managed to get 20/40! I felt like I was 16 years old all over again. And it was even my birthday. I was so proud of getting that license that day.
Since then, I have had cataract surgery due to one of the procedures they had to do. They had to place a gas bubble in my eye and the gas permeated through the lens of my eye, causing the cataract. Then this year, I was in the minority where I grew a membrane over the new lens and I had to have that zapped out with a laser. I was pretty nervous about it, but I had some wonderful friends and family praying for me. The doctor was able to fix it and I can see out of that eye once again.
I feel so blessed that the Lord restored that for me through the technology that we have today. You see, if I had experienced all of this a year or so earlier, I would be permanently blind. They could not have helped me. But God decided to bless me and I am so thankful. Even when I struggle a bit to clearly see things, I know that it could be so much worse. I am thankful that I got to learn the things I did through this experience. I know the fear of not seeing, as well as the fear of beginning to see again. I know how overwhelming seeing can be after being in the dark. I also know that with God, we can face our biggest fears and come out victorious. Before my experience, I was terrified of surgery on my eyes. I still don’t like it, but I know that God is in control and will help me as He sees fit.
Now for the update on this story. This past year, I had to have surgery on my other eye. I had cataract surgery on it and then followed with the Yag Laser just one month later. The cataract I had grown was super aggressive. So I needed to have it done so I could once again see. The main problem with this one was that they kept me awake for the surgery. I have always been put to sleep for my surgeries. So I was very nervous. I only almost got up off the table once. I was done. It was a good thing the doctor was just about done as well.
Anyway, I now have great vision for distance seeing. It’s just really hard to see things up close. I have to wear reading glasses in order to work on my computer or to read a book. I also need them to see the food I eat and to cut things up when I am preparing dinner. I am sure the ladies at the bank think I am a complete loon when I use the drive-thru and put my glasses on to read the window. I can’t see it otherwise. But I can’t drive with the glasses on or walk with them on. It makes me sick. It is definitely a different experience and not one I would purposely choose. I would never choose to have eyes that work like this. However, the alternative is to be blind. And when facing that, I am truly thankful that I am so blessed to be able to see. My eyes are truly a miracle.
So today, I am thankful that I can see.
What are you thankful for today?