April 9, 2007

Long Time, No See

Posted in doctors, Eye at 2:23 pm by way2much

So I haven’t been writing much on either of my blogs.

I have been so very busy doing nothing much!

Way back when, I posted about needing to go to Specialists such as gastrointerologist, eye doctors for my floater and a cardiologist. I obtained these referrals in August. What month is it now? April!

I finally made an appointment for an ophthalmologist. It was a good thing my husband was available that day to drive because when they called to confirm they told me I may need to have another driver since they were going to dilate my eyes with drops and I may have blurry vision for some time afterward. They were right! And not only were they blurry, the sunlight was a killer!

So back to the appointment. I was seeing a floater – a line in my left eye that starts in the upper right corner and floats down to the lower left. I see this mainly against a solid vision. White light. So to say.

We discuss some things and he does test. He tells me the floaters do not bother him- many people have floaters, most are harmless – annoying but harmless. Mine were the annoying kind, ones I see every once in a while. He explained my floaters in this way…

Did you catch my plural – floater(s). I thought I only had one! But apparently they are in my right eye as well.

Think of a projection screen. You will see a box of white light on the wall coming from the projector. There is always at least one in the crowd that will intercept that light projection and make finger puppets or whatever on the wall! If it is done in front of the white light, you see the shadow. If it is done above or below you do not see the shadow, but the gesture is still there. That is how it is with these protein deposits on my Vitreous Humor. If it doesn’t catch the light, you won’t see it. If it does, you see it! So it is normal and I shouldn’t worry about it.


And there is always a “however” with me.

He is concerned about the glaucoma that runs in my family. Preliminary tests that he took has my eye pressure at 20. Normal range, he says is from 10 – 21 so he is concerned. However the web site for the Glaucoma Research Foundation says that range is from 10 – 20.  Either way I am at the high end and he wants to take more tests and monitor me.

Here is where my neurosis comes in (neurosis as my doctor puts it not as hypochondria as I explained!)

He explained that my Glaucoma effects the optic nerve. I hear this and immediately think about an article I just read in my local paper about Multiple Sclerosis. It stated something about damage to the optic nerve. (Remember I also have herniated discs. So I think discs are herniated because my muscles are getting weak and putting pressure on my back. I also have pain in my arms, etc. which I attribute to undiagnosed herniated discs in my upper body.)

He then proceeds to tell me, I am being “neurotic”. I am basically telling him, “doctor, my foot hurts, I think I am having a heart attack.” I then tell him OK so maybe I am being a hypochondriac but I wanted to rule the possibility out. He then says, “no, a hypochondriac would have some basis for their fear such as ‘my foot hurts, I think I have gout.’ ”

Now, I do not think I am neurotic! He said optic nerve. MS effects the optic nerve. He explains, “but in a different way”. FINE – but I am not a doctor – so I had no idea! I went off on a tangent in my mind thinking “oh crap, I may have this disease…” without all the facts, but does that make me neurotic?? OK maybe.

BUT and I stress this emphatically – BUT we are always encouraged – warned even – to take an active role in our health care and be informed. Ask questions. Don’t let anything go unanswered. And I do take an active role. And I am now labeled hypochondriac and now neurotic as well. TERRIFIC!

Lessons to be  learned?:

  1. Everyone needs to see an eye specialist – EVERYONE by the age of 35.
  2. Glaucoma testing should be done every 1-2 years depending on your family history and other risk factors.
  3. Make a list of follow up questions you would need to ask – because there are so many I thought of AFTER the visit. (Yes, I will still ask since I am labeled anyway!! The only stupid question is the one unasked!)

Questions I have:

  1. These protein deposits in my eye – could wearing contacts have any effect? – ei. not rubbing them clean enough, not letting them soak the 8 hours they suggest, etc.
  2. Could these deposits be surgically removed?
  3. Web site for glaucoma says there is no cure – doctor says it is treatable – what is the case? what is the treatment?
  4. Thinking of lasik surgery (but afraid of the procedure!) – would I be a candidate even if I have glaucoma – if yes, would it help the glaucoma or make no difference?
  5. Others – just can’t think right now.

So in conclusion, I strongly suggest reading the web site links I provided. They have a lot of information. Glaucoma really shows no symptoms and MS early signs are only realized through hindsight.

I pray you all are healthy individuals, but if you have any concerns about your health DO NOT HESITATE TO MAKE A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT – I realize health insurance is a big factor. But I also know (through experience) the world is full of wonderful people. If you can’t afford treatment, there are so many good individuals out there that are willing to help either by setting up fundraisers or donating to your cause privately. Don’t let anything deter you from getting the care you need. Doctors always take payment plans as well – speak to them about setting up something workable for the two of you. Once your health is gone, it is extremely hard to recover.