Seeing the Forest for the Trees

September 19, 2018

I’ve worn glasses since I was in 3rd grade.  Every couple of years I need a new pair with a stronger prescription. I’m pretty much blind as a bat, my glasses have mostly been like Coke bottle bottoms since high school. My eyes are so bad that I’ve met only two people whose vision is worse than mine in my entire lifetime.

When I first started wearing glasses, they came with glass lenses. They were heavy, slid down my nose a lot and once in a while gave me a headache because I’d be holding my ears back all day to keep them on my face. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when they came out with lightweight plastic lenses. That meant I could wear them around the house more often without getting a headache. Because the glasses were always so heavy and a hassle, I started wearing contacts back in high school because they are more comfortable and I can actually see better with them than glasses. Plus, I don’t have good peripheral vision when I’m wearing glasses, and I don’t wear them enough to drive that my eyes make that adjustment, so if I am leaving the house, I’m wearing contacts.

I still have a pair and a spare of glasses that I generally wear between the bathroom and the bedroom and also to give my eyes a break from the contacts once in a while. When I got my diagnosis last year, and was on shitty chemo, I started wearing glasses at home more often than contacts.

A couple of years ago, I decided to try bifocal contacts. I couldn’t see well enough either for distance or reading, so I went back to regular single vision contacts and wear readers for the closer stuff. A lot of people think that’s crazy, but when you’ve worn heavy, expensive glasses most of your life, a pair of $40 readers that don’t weigh anything are kind of priceless. Anyway, during this whole process, I ended up with a different brand and prescription for the contacts, which now meant my glasses and contacts were further apart. This is important because your eyes have to adjust back and forth between contacts and glasses anyway, and the bigger the gap, the less adjusting your eyes really want to do. There wasn’t a big enough jump to warrant buying new lenses right away, plus my insurance only covers a new pair every 2 years. So… knowing my eyes would change enough again in another year or so, I was just pretty much biding my time until my next exam, which was early this summer.

I wasn’t happy with the service I was getting from either Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision, so I was doing some shopping around and taking my time. I was looking at online retailers, hybrid online/brick & mortar stores and a couple of others like Costco. Pretty much taking my time to decide the best place for me to buy. In the meantime, I’d started walking into things and having trouble navigating uneven pavements and things like that on a more regular basis. I have a certain level of astigmatism that isn’t corrected by contacts, so I’ve shoulder-checked walls and doors walking around corners my whole life, so this wasn’t anything new. It just seemed to be happening more often. I figured that I should get the new glasses sooner so that the contacts and glasses would be in better agreement with each other so my eyes didn’t have to adjust as much and those issues would go away. I ramped up the shopping process and ordered new glasses.

I’ve been on some pretty heavy duty chemos over the past year, including Cisplatin. My body’s starting to feel the effects and is protesting. My last post talked about the bruising. They aren’t taking significantly longer to go away, but I am getting them a lot more easily than I used to. For example, I’d been keeping the vacuum cleaner in front of my bedroom door to keep the pups off my bed while I was at the office or out running an errand. I’d tiptoed around that stupid thing all week. After the dogs went back home and I’d vacuumed the floor in my room, I put the vacuum back out in front of the door in the hallway because I was going to vacuum the rest of the hall. Well, I forgot it was there, didn’t see it, and snagged my toe on it hard enough that I thought I broke it. That prompted a call to my Oncology Nurse. I asked about my risk for getting a blood clot from the chemo. She called back with a bunch of questions, more about the bruising, thinking that maybe there was a lingering problem with my platelets after chemo. I told her that I was legitimately running into things, but I thought it was more of a chemobrain thing than a platelet thing because I was noticing some processing issues lately, too, like that I couldn’t read my tablet with my glasses on at the end of the day, which is when I normally read for pleasure, so my eyes were getting seemingly more tired at the end of the day than they were before chemo.

Then, that night, while I was watching TV, I started seeing pulsating colored lights in both eyes. At first, I thought there was an ambulance or something outside or that there was something flashing somewhere else in the house. Then I realized it was me. I’ve had migraines before but never had the aura a lot of people talk about. I figured that these lights were what those people were experiencing. For me, this was new and concerning. There was already a dialogue going with the Oncologist, I emailed the Oncologist again letting her know the timeline and these new things that were happening. She’s ordering an MRI of my brain just to rule things out. It’s scheduled for the same day as my 30-day radiation follow-up, which happens to be tomorrow. I’m still figuring this is an effect of chemo brain and is tied to multi-tasking, which I really haven’t been able to do for months. I guess we’ll find out more tomorrow.

About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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