Wednesday, May 09, 2007

“Oh my friends have had lasiks” and other ramblings

It always ceases to amaze me how quickly time goes by when you’re not really paying attention.

My husband turned 30 two weeks ago. As a celebration on the actual day, I send a hot pink singing gorilla to his office to sing happy birthday in front of a room full of people. I had no idea it was going to be pink. It was super fabulous, I wish I could have been there.

I volunteered at my camp for a tremendous weekend for grandparents and caregivers. I had the pleasure of helping a family with a little girl with diabetes. It was both of her grand parents, two aunts and one uncle, and a little brother. The little brother happily played with his power rangers action figures as I helped the family learn what to do with the little girls diabetes, so she could come and visit for a sleep over. The camper was a trouper as each of her family members learned how to check her blood sugar, and give the appropriate dosage of insulin. I received saline shots in both arms as ‘practice.’ It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. Despite only getting a few hours of sleep each night, it was a total blast and reminded me how important camp is to my life. I so enjoy talking with families who are newer to diabetes, to let them know that with a little hard work, everything is going to be just fine. And personally, camp keeps me centered. It reminds me that while I may be going in 1,000 directions everyday, to remember that without my good health, nothing else matters.

I was riding high from my weekend when I went to see the nice folks at the pregnancy clinic and have my annual eye exam. I call my eye exam my ‘runner stamp’ exam because I make the same jokes every year, and always get a “looks good, no changes, and see you in a year.” I was all geared up for “doctor-a-poloza 2007” The day started just fine with an appointment with an endo. She was great and told me the things I needed to do to get this baby show on the road. Nothing that I hadn’t already thought or heard. I had an hour between her and the dietitian, so I went to the lab to get my a1c drawn. It is well documented that I hate the lab, but with that A1c number being so important for the baby machine, I was actually ok.

I went into the closet sized lab that they had in the doctor’s office. Sat down, told the nurse of my propensity to pass out, reclined and was thinking of what I should get for lunch (something fatty and yummy before the nutrition talk, or go with the safe salad and be able to say ‘yes, yes, I do eat my vegetables”) I wont bore you with the details but 4 butterfly needles, a “what have you eaten all day” and a few sweat beads on my brow later, I left the lab. It will indeed be a long 9 months if that’s the way it is going to go.

I decided to go with the salad, and then went to see the coolest nutritionist I’d ever seen. Very down to earth. I got some great tips and felt like I was ready to take on the world. I called my bestest friend (who happens to be type 1 and planning a baby too) We chatted and then I went for my eye appointment. I should have known that after the lab debacle, I may not be getting that rubber stamp after all. I didn’t.

I was tested for some narrow tunnel eye issue that the first doctor didn’t explain very well, but it involved some lense scope thing on my eye and a lot of “look at the light please” It was indeed uncomfortable, but apparently whatever they were testing for was ok. I waited for the dilation drops to work and then waited for the “real doctor” I kept checking for my husband/driver in the waiting room. The retinal specialist came in, and took out her lights. That woman knows how to shine, that’s for sure. My favorite is when they take the light and get the magnifying glass out, as if the regular light wasn’t enough. UGHGH. Then the words that turned my stomach. Retinopathy. In both eyes.

“Let’s take some pictures” she says. Wait in the lounge and they’ll come get you, then we will review them together.

I checked for Ryan again. As the tears welled up, he wasn’t there.

I had the photos taken. Yowzers. Talk about flash.

One last check for Ryan in the waiting room, and thankfully, through the blurred vision and spots from the flash, I saw that unmistakable silhouette. He knew something was wrong as I made him come in with me. I don’t need laser yet, but will likely need it soon. That has an 80% chance of fixing the problem. It won’t prevent me from carrying a baby. But there it was, in orange and red on the screen. Proof of my 25 years of diabetes.

I felt like a failure. I thought I was going to be the one to escape the nasty wrath of this disease. I went home and had a pitty party for myself and refused to talk about it.

A few days later, I came to grips with it all and know that I will be just fine. I dusted my self off and just kept going (not like I had any choice.) I did go ahead and tell my mom. And she, in all her attempts, said “oh I know friends that have had lasik surgery, it’s fine” totally and utterly missing the point … completely.


Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Caren,

I'm sorry to hear about the eye exam. I'm sure it's quite a blow to your self confidence to hear that a complication has reared its ugly head - but don't let it slow you down.

Stay strong and keep your chin up.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Nicole P said...

Hi Caren -

I too am sorry to hear about your eye exam. I know you'll handle whatever comes next with the same grace and strength you've handled diabetes and its issues since you were a camper at CBC all those years ago - just a few years behind me :).

I'm glad about all the GOOD baby news though. And I hope you are too.


5:03 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

Trust you opthalmologist, gather facts, ask questions and move on.
I'm sorry you are going through this. It is not fun, but, hopefully the days will put some distance on the "r" word.

6:20 PM  
Blogger caren said...

thank you. I needed that support!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Maura said...

You are so strong and you are always helping me keep my head above water. It's not cool what's happening. I support you.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

So much good news in this post, and then so much that made my stomach clench. But I agree with you, and with the other commenters - stay informed, do your best to stay in tight control, and keep on going.

Thinking of you.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Lyrehca said...

Oh, Sister. Been there, heard all that.

Laser and retinopathy all suck, but you can get through them. Email me if you want more details--I had laser twice during pregnancy and despite my enormous fears, I'm fine (and my vision seems unchanged, in a good way) six months later.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Kassie said...

damn. In the battle of Caren V Complications, I put my money on Caren. Good for you for staying on top of things and not letting this get ahead of you!

8:35 AM  
Blogger art-sweet said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Caren - diabetes has such a way of sneaking up on you and pulling the rug out from under you just when you least expect it. And I'm sure the "support" from your mom didn't help...

When I hit these moments I tell myself that all I can do is keep on keeping on and remembering the things that bring me joy and make life - even life with diabetes - worth it.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...


That stinks. Did they say it was proliferative or non-p? Where did you get the check-up done? (I'm just curious).

I know what you mean about expecting everything would be normal. That's a real surprise. I hope you feel more comfortable about this change before too long.

On a different topic, do you know about the pumper group meeting in Woburn this Saturday? Apparently they're going to demo the new Animas pump. E-mail me if you'd like details: bernard(dot)farrell(at)

1:02 PM  

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