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.