Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bleb, Blob and Blib

Let me tell you about how my friend Blob made me feel better recently. So did Blib! There were other caring angel-friends too.

This story is a closure to my last post. It's my final one for now about my eye surgeries and ongoing recovery. Please hang in there with me, because this is about so much more than medical problems.

I posted this on Facebook during the first week of April:
"Well Friends, I had another "first" yesterday since my eye surgeries. I was paying for my groceries at Walmart. The check-out young lady said "I don't mean to offend you but what is that thing in your eye?"  I explained that it's scar tissue from a recent eye surgery. Yes, my bleb shows. It will probably always show. I'm not too thrilled about that, but at least it has a funny name. Bleb. Things could be so much worse though."

Here are a couple of responses that made me laugh initially, then inspired deeper thoughts...
Friend One : "I just had a piece of my colon out.  Just in case we ever enter a room together, I'll name it Blob, so people can say "here comes Bleb and Blob"
Friend Two: "And even though I've had nothing taken out except my bank account, I will be Blib" 
There was a another cute comment from "Blob" about Blab and Blub not being far behind. Ha!

How did goofy names like Blob and Blib actually help me? It's true that I enjoy Dr. Suessish humor, but really- it's no small thing when a friend takes a moment to try to make you feel better.
A bigger deal yet is that my new buddy Blob just had colon surgery! And I happen to know that Blib had a very serious health scare last year.  Yep, potentially life-threatening problems.

I truly believe that timely encouragements aren't just coincidental. And the people who delivered them were my God-given helpers.

I wish I could list all my angels and how they assisted me, but here's a brief overview:

My husband, kids and a few local friends took great care of me, prayed for me, spent many hours driving me to and from my out-of-town doctor appointments. I couldn't have done this without them!

I had one special friend and one family member who patiently listened to me as I poured out my fears and frustrations. Both of them went through cancer scares during that time period!

Another friend has been very stressed in his job lately, but he sent me hilarious emails with uncanny timing! Always when I needed a laugh.

I got a needed reality check when a stage four cancer survivor reminded me that people endure things, but too many stay on the pity-pot too long. (Certainly not moi??) I sincerely thank you for saying that and for sharing your cancer story with me.

I want to share one more divine intervention!
On March 1, I received very bad news at my check-up: my December eye surgery had failed. My specialist wanted me to prepare for a 'last resort' procedure with a long recovery.

That was one of my toughest days! My emotions were somewhere between numb and panicked. I was angry too!

A couple of hours later, a woman who I rarely have contact with "just happened" to send me a message. She only knew a little about my recent medical situation. (And I hadn't told anyone yet about my frightening check-up that day.)

Mostly, she shared what she learned last year.  My forty-something friend had miraculously survived a serious heart attack. I'd known nothing about it.
She told me about her renewed faith and vision for her life plans. Gratefulness for her blessings. Her story left me in awe and so inspired me!

In conclusion, dear reader, please watch for those gifts to show up when you really need them. Train you heart and mind to pay attention. You'll be so blessed if you do!

This is a quote from my first post on this blog, posted November 8, 2015.
"While going through my crises (that's plural), I'd often receive a little light to get me through a dark day. Sometimes it was a song I'd hear. Other times it was a kind word from someone, at just the right time. Occasionally I'd read a story or a great quote."

Yep! Told ya so.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pardon Me, but Your Bleb is Showing

I had an experience in the check-out line at Walmart last week. It brought up conflicting emotions. I should have been able to laugh it off. Well I did laugh a little, but I cried too.

I sensed that I was being watched as I got my bank card out of my wallet and swiped it in the little machine. When I looked up, the young cashier said "I don't mean to offend you, but what is that thing in your eye?"

I said "Oh, it's okay. That's scar tissue from a recent eye surgery." She asked if it would go away as the eye heals. Nope, it's not likely.

The thing she saw in my eye is not really scar tissue. It was just easier to say that than to explain that the raised white patch on the upper part of my iris is a filter for eye fluid. It's called a bleb. Then I would've needed to explain that I have advanced glaucoma in that eye.

I'd continue to tell her that I had a tiny valve implanted in that eye (left) on December 17th, because three previous surgeries and all meds have failed. This means I've permanently lost eighty percent of my vision in that eye.

I would have added that I had cataract removal/lens replacement done at the same time. Then I had a glaucoma stent and a cataract/lens surgery done to my right eye in February.

I didn't explain everything because there was a line of people waiting behind me. Besides, ain't nobody got time for that!

I drove the short distance home after that brief exchange with the curious cashier.  I started laughing as I told my husband about what had happened. By the end of my story,  I heard my voice crack as my confused emotions came to the surface. The tears flowed.
Why did such a small incident trigger such a response in me?

It took me a couple of days to figure it out. Hindsight is 20/20! Pun intended.

Now I'd like to go back to Walmart and explain some things to that innocent, eighteenish year-old young lady...

During my recovery, I had disturbing complications. My left eye turned in for several weeks. I feared that I'd be permanently cross-eyed! There was a short period of time that I thought my driving days were over. I wasn't ready to accept that! It freaked me out and made me sad.

My distance perception was really screwed up for a while too.
I'd bump into door frames and sometimes I'd miss when I tried to put food on my fork. Now that I'm finally better, it's kind of funny! When I remember those times, it's like watching myself in a sitcom.

This cartoon represents the lesson. It's okay to struggle and doubt.
But don't stay alone in a pit while doing it.  Not a good sign when the pit starts to feel comfortable.

The new lenses have corrected my extreme nearsightedness to almost 20/20 in my right eye. Wow! I can now see distance but not up close. This is the opposite of how I've viewed the world my entire life! It's a huge blessing, but not an easy adjustment.

I've been in full menopausal mode the last few months too. (TMI!) One of the many symptoms is foggy brain syndrome. So... I couldn't focus and I couldn't focus!

Well, Inquisitive Walmart Clerk, as much as I hate to admit it, driving to the store and being in public that day was a big deal to me. I was somewhat proud of myself because I just recently started feeling braver and getting out more.

You might think I am being too sensitive when I say that your comment sounded to me like "Hey Lady, you look a bit freakish." I know you didn't mean it that way.

You won't likely get why I fought the urge to go back to being a hermit after that happened. I've always been an active, outgoing person, but being in my home feels safer and more comfortable now. I guess that means I wasn't prepared for the emotional and mental recovery from all this. Maybe I'm not as big and bad as I thought I was.

I really don't want to hide out though. I am blessed to have precious family members and friends who care too much to let me do that.  I thank God for them! They deserve a blog post of their own- and I'll do that next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

To Post or not to Post

Hi Friends,
This is a "note to my readers" post instead of my typical storytelling.

In January of this year, I posted a three part story, which chronicled my vision problems, from early childhood to present. It was entitled "A Guinea Pig's Perspective".

Like many writers, I often work through my difficult issues by writing them down. I had just had an eye surgery a month before I wrote that story.  I knew at the time that I had a second surgery scheduled for the next month.

I realized a couple of weeks after I shared those posts that I'd missed the purpose of this blog.
It was very good for me to write it because it helped me, but I decided it was better to keep for my eyes only. It was more like a personal journal entry.

My medical situation is not something that applies to most of my readers or the general public.  And you busy people ain't got time for that!

However, I've since discovered a magazine that wants to publish non-fiction, personal medical experiences. My story might be a fit! We'll see.

Anyway, I pulled "A Guinea Pig's Perspective" from this blog. I will still refer to my glaucoma problems sometimes because its a chronic disease that affects my life daily. But I think I'm back on track now, which is to focus most on the life lessons.

So I hope you will find time for that! To read my stories, that is.

Many bloggers find that they improve their writing skills a lot through blogging, but they actually learn most about themselves in the process. How true for me too!

Thanks to all of you for your support! I wouldn't have reason to continue this blog if it weren't for you.