“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~ Jonathan Swift

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010, You Win Again!

I am getting a little suspicious.

Something fishy seems to be happening.

My eye appointments are getting progressively...hopeful.

So I have to ask.

Universe, what's up?

As previously posted, my February appointment was positive. I was surprised--especially given the extraordinary stress and junk food consumption leading up to that last appointment. Doc told me to come back in two months. Like a toddler who has gotten away with some naughty behavior, I spent the interim period eating some more junk (including beef on occasion and lots of chocolate) and worse, actively creating junk for more consumption (in the form of baked goods...mmm chocolate chewies, buttermilk pancakes, lemon cake).

Who was I?! Let's just say, I ate some CRAP. If anything, the last appointment gave me permission to eat and drink lots of inflammatory things. And yes, if you must know, junk tastes great...always has, always will. Healthy eating is all good and well but honestly, junk food is just delicious. Anyways...

La la la. April 12th arrives, and it's Groundhog Day all over again. After some sweating in the waiting room, I am ushered into a back room to assess my vision. I struggle through four measly letters on the eye chart, all the while getting annoyed with the technician who wants me to hurry up ("You either see something or you don't". Wench.). All I can think about it is promising myself a giant ice cream when I'm done with the appointment because if-they-find-more-of-those-stupid-blood-vessels-who-cares-anymore-anyway?

Eventually, it's over and the technician doesn't comment on my progress, just shuffles me into another waiting room. After waiting three hours to see the doctor, I am greeted by one of the fellows, who shines lots of bright lights into my dilated eyes. I have learned that fellows love shining lights into eyes---it is like they are starved for the opportunity to interact with a patient or something. Let's just say he literally left me crying and seeing magenta afterward. Well, I couldn't stay mad all that long because he gave me a clean bill of health and could not detect any fluid. Hooray!

And even though I've been back to office for the past six years, I bombard him with the usual questions. Any research on the cause of MFC? Nope. It's probably auto-immune. Why me? No one knows. Life is unfair. But hey, it's really bizarre that it tends to affect young women. Can I do anything about this--I'm taking fish oil caplets? Sure, why not. Go for it.

Then he says "You've got some scarring on the retina. But that'll be taken care of in your lifetime."

I pause. What? What does that mean? In my lifetime?

He then goes on to tell me, in very hush hush tones...I'm not sure why we are whispering. But he then tells me that the next big thing in macular degeneration research is retina transplants. Apparently, there are lots of old folks who have significant amounts of retinal scarring, and animal testing has yielded some promising results with retina transplants. In a mere ten years, he believes that the technology will be good enough to allow regeneration of the retina. Through the cultivation of stem cells, patients would either receive surgical transplants or injections through the bloodstream. The scarred areas would then be supplanted by new retinal growth.

I then ask him the million dollar question "Are you telling me that one day I might be able to see again?"

He says, "Yes."

Holy holy holy smokes. The fellow then leaves, and I wait another hour to see the actual doctor. But I don't care because I am picturing a life of driving, reading, and seeing things in 3-D again.

When the doctor comes in, he shines bright lights into my eyes and confirms the good news. I spend the rest of the day walking and forego the ice cream. I feel pretty good without it.