I wish I hadn’t asked for specifics. My doctor, always a gentleman–or a very gentle man–tried to avoid specifics. He always told me, “Numbers don’t matter.” But then I thought if I knew the change I could see how fast my vision was deteriorating. Or not. I was hoping for the “or not.” Of course, it was.
This is the same doctor who told me three and a half years earlier, “You have the best non-yellowing optic nerve of any RP patient your age I have seen yet.” That was something. I kind of pictured me with the best orange lasso in the west. I couldn’t even catch all the rope in a circle let alone make a lasso but that’s what I imagined. Who knows? Maybe I should try lassoing an eye! The picture made me smile.
I knew when I couldn’t press the button very many times when I was supposed to click it any time I saw a speck of light flash that I had experienced a loss. A really big loss. Minutes would go by and suddenly I’d click it, sure I saw something. Even then I wondered if it was a false positive.
My opthalmologist hedged, “I could touch your eyes and bless them, say any words you want–but it wouldn’t change anything.”
I sighed. “It’s all right. I expected deterioration.” But how much?
He hated to say that I no longer had the best non-yellowing optic nerve in the west! It had discolored. Maybe turned yellow. I could only read the largest line (read GIANT print here). And I guessed at those few letters to boot. What a disappointment to us both. He’d have to give that honor to someone else now.
I imagined myself jumping up and down, “Give it back! Give it back! Mine’s the best! I earned it fair and square.”
The new award winner would walk away with a toss of her head (It would have to be a she. I really couldn’t bear a man walking away with my honor).
“Okay, doc. I can take it. How much?”
I don’t think doctors really want to give bad news to their patients. So they sigh. And you wait. And you read between the lines.
Finally, my precious, kind-hearted doctor said, “It’s like 20/8000–off the charts. You are doing much of your seeing with your right eye. It’s still pretty good. 20/30.”
I paused. It’s not like I’m dying or anything. This could be worse.
I knew God had blessed me since my cataract surgery in 2004 when I got it done. It helped me so much. I stopped seeing what I called Light Monsters – where the lights would get enormous, come up to me and want to swallow me whole, then begin to recede and finally, fade away, seemingly to spit me out, all in BLUR. The Light Monsters were in constant motion, which gave me headaches. Those had stopped since my surgery.
Now I realized that God had also seen to it that while I could see only blurred space with my left eye, my right eye still carried on with the bulk of the work.
I love my right eye!
Without it, I’d never see the computer screen.
I’d never see my face to put on make-up.
I’d never see the outline of a flower.
I’d never see the beauty of my nieces.
I tried to put this into simple words when I spoke to my sweet opthalmologist, “I am so grateful to you–”
He waved a hand away from himself as if to say, “Stop your foolish words!”
But I saw in him the gentle storyteller, a heart that tried to soften an inevitable blow, the humor that made it all bearable, that made me feel so blessed. He could have chosen NOT to care, but God has always chosen to fill me with hope through the kindness of others.
What my doctor actually said, “You could have come in and moaned, ‘If only I had come back last year maybe I’d have more vision now. ‘ But you didn’t. You smiled and laughed and said instead, ‘So I adapt and adjust some more.’ You see the glass twice as full…”
Do I? Will I?
IT’S SCARY! This vision is sneaking away. I don’t even know what I’m not seeing until I’m faced with a field of vision test three and a half years later and I can only press a button a couple of times in five minutes.
Now when I close my right eye, and I look at the computer screen, every single word fades away and I just see a white blur. I’m just a few inches away. But I can’t see a single thing. Not a simple word. It freaks me out! That’s lots worse than not being able to tell if a Spanish word has an accent or not. I didn’t know that my left eye had gone off the charts. Now I do. And unfortunately, I don’t mean music charts!
But God gave me humor to see me through each day, and a book to write to share my feelings. Fading Light. And publishers who appear interested in it.
Overflowing blessings! I hope I can communicate this in my book.
And keep my fears at bay.
How does this change my life?
My editor says that it opens a new chapter, it starts a new turning point in my book.
That is not a whole lot of comfort. But God’s word is.
God breathes new life into me through His promise, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5.
God makes me competent no matter what. It is not in what I do or don’t do, see or don’t see. His grace lifts me out of the darkness. It brings sunlight to my life.
When I pull the shades and let light into my vista, my right eye SEES. Hope SEES! It pushes my fear away.
And His SONlight lets me see my blessings even more clearly.
Thank you, Lord, for giving me a beautiful, functioning right eye and not taking them both at the same time.
I choose to focus not on what I can’t see but on what I can still see. It’s so much more fulfilling.
I choose hope and gratitude!
I choose to see beyond what I can see.