Changes – Thursday 5/14
Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways. Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way. This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing. OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes. Were they expected or did they surprise you?
I read 2 of the posts this morning for the “Changes” theme while I waited at my retina specialist’s office. I had an early appointment. It was a gorgeous morning. I was ready. My referral however, was not. I have some new doctors since I had to change insurance coverage. When I worked with the insurance broker, there was ONE non negotiable for my medical team. I keep my eye doctor. No matter what, I keep my retina specialist.
When I was in my mid twenties I took a job in New York City. Maybe a year into the job, I was sitting at my office drafting table with a drawing on a piece of graph paper. I had an itch and rubbed my eye while looking at my drawing. Absolute and complete horror hit me. The graph paper turned wavy like that fisheye tool in Photoshop. I uncovered my eye and looked again. The graph paper looked fine. I covered my eye with my hand. The graph paper was wavy. I moved my head. The wavy lines moved. If there is a stronger word than horrified, than I was that word. I had changed to New York doctors but I’d never changed retina specialists since I’d moved. No way. I saw the same retina doctor every year from the time I was a little girl and he was considered one of the best in Philadelphia. Its all a blur now (ahhh bad joke), but I went to my parent’s and saw my doctor. Yes, non proliferative retinopathy. I had laser treatments. I was scared out of my damn mind. This kept up for maybe another year. I had to switch to a New York doctor. My Philly doctor was a big shot. He recommended a doctor group in New York. Only a few doctors in the group took my insurance. The Philly doctor immediately named one of them as the guy I needed to see (see? Oh man, I swear I’m not doing this on purpose). He told me he was young. I didn’t want young. I wanted seasoned. Philly Dr said this NY Dr just spoke at a retina conference and the head of the NY group was the doctor for a D celebrity. Ok. I’d give it a try.
I saw the NY Dr in the late 90s. Yes he seemed young. He told me I needed more laser. This scared me more. I didn’t know this doctor. He wasn’t the doctor who’d treated me for years. Then he told me I had 2 options. One was the current laser treatment protocol. The other was much more aggressive treatment. Something new. I am not doing justice to this story since my brain can’t remember all the technical aspects, but it involved using the laser to cauterize the bleeding vessels AND then to also treat other areas preemptively. If other places were going to bleed, to make it so those places would be further away from my center of vision. It made sense to me (sort of) and it involved a lot more laser than I’d previously had. I could get worse before it got better. I went for it. I’ve lost count of how many times he treated me. Sometimes a little laser, sometimes a lot. Both eyes were involved. He was so nice and enthusiastic and we’d talk design and he made it all seem so positive. I would be there for hours and hours waiting. Sometimes I cried afterward. And then there was a time I didn’t need any laser. And another time and another time. That last time was over 10 years ago (I think 13).
So I was the patient today without a referral. It took me forever to get someone at my new primary doctor’s office to answer the phone. I was apologizing to everyone in the damn office, as I knew I was screwing up the doctor’s schedule (apparently I really wasn’t but I felt like I was). Letters and numbers projected on a mirror, reading test, the wavy graph. I made lots of jokes. Waiting. Eye scans. The room for the tracking laser tomography. I walked in and called it “fancy” the technician shot me a look (it couldn’t be less fancy of a room). As she set everything up, I called it “exciting”. Then an “adventure”. She said, “well that’s one view of it”. So I explained it to her. If I consider this an adventure, that the equipment looks “fancy” and this is so freaking exciting, then its a positive set-up. Everything is less scary when it’s an adventure. She sat back and said, “Ok, let’s get you back on your fancy adventure”.
There were some hiccups when I got to see my doctor. They couldn’t get the scans to upload but when one of the technicians said, “There’s something wrong”, my stomach sank to my toe. (I thought they meant with my peepers, not uploading the scans). My doctor showed me how great my eyes are. How beautifully the laser from long ago worked. I saw the layers of my eyes and heard how thrilled he is with the results. Then he said it,
He told me how he thinks all my exercise continues to help my eyes. Then like everyone I now talk to, we spoke about cycling. Seriously I have nothing else to talk about anymore really. He is going on a cycling trip in Italy. His kids are no longer kids. And I walked out, dilated pupils like a cartoon character, and orange sunglasses I got for free at Food Bank event, I decided to walk the 30 blocks back to work. I put on my music and George Michael’s Freedom ’90 song. I know, I’m so old it’s ridiculous. I kept the song on repeat the entire walk. I was all smiles thinking about the theme of DBlogWeek being CHANGE today. If you know nothing about the song I type of, read this: George Michael’s Freedom ’90. It’s interesting, about his changing. I walked with swagger. I smiled at every damn person. No Change!
I walked in the door of my office and took my iTunes off repeat. Next up, Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy”. My fancy, exciting, adventure to the eye doctor. They won’t all be winners. I don’t expect them to be and there will be many more bumps in the road. But today, was a No Change.
So I have just been through something very similar but they told me that I didn’t need laser surgery. i’m relieved but I can’t understand why not because most people I’ve talked to have needed it. Do you know what you did back then or why you don’t know? (I know this might be too involved a question to get into but I’m curious)
Also, a great topic to cover on “change” 🙂
Alecia, I’m just so thrilled that there was no change. THRILLED! Yay! What a great way to (almost) start a weekend.
Every time that I think I “know” someone in the #DOC, I read more blogposts and learn that your story is more complicated and layered than I ever knew. But keep riding that bike and visiting wonderful doctors and I will sleep better knowing that you are in good hands.
Oh yeah. Oh me too. What a great post! Thank you so much for telling this. Am only a year into “No Change” and still terrified at every check up. Beautifully told, and again thank you!!
One of the most powerful moments in my diabetes life (so far) was Dr. Ben at CWD’s Friends for Life telling me he can see that I exercise a lot JUST FROM LOOKING AT MY EYEBALLS! Whoa… It was really encouraging to me, and I think about it almost every time I don’t feel like exercising. It helps me get up and get moving.
So I’m in agreement with your eye doc, and have a big smile on my face picturing you jamming out while walking.