Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Difficult Art of Seeing What Is In Front of You By Looking a Little to the Side

If you hang around this corner fairly often you probably know that I have been having terrible trouble with my vision for a long time.    I developed  a condition called wet macular degeneration I am not sure how many years ago and lost all central vision in my left eye in that initial attack.  I still have peripheral vision in that eye so I can find my way around a familiar room using it,  but it is not good for any kind of serious seeing    I can almost see everything I am not looking at  (if you can wrap your mind around that indigestible nugget).  A year of participating in the final FDA study of the drug Lucintas (which involved monthly visits to get a shot in my eyeball for a year......yes 12 pokes in the eye with a sharp stick) sadly though it stopped further damage it did not help my condition though many of the other people in the study had great improvement and the drug is now available.
At the time my right eye still had good vision though it showed signs of developing what they call dry macular degeneration....a less destructive variety but still a very bad thing.  Ever since, despite drinking gallons of fresh carrot juice and taking all the supplements known to be friendly to the eyes, my good  eye has gone steadily downhill.  Little by little the window of my clear vision shrank till,at this time, I can only see a single key on the keyboard or about 3 letters at a time in the word I have to read it mic.....ros.....oft and put the groups together in my mind and hope they make sense.  At the same time, the little window has developed a mist which gets foggier each day so seeing the important stuff clearly has become a huge struggle.....a real pain in the ass, you could, much worse.  Oy.  

I am not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me.  Sympathy is nice, but pity and suffering once removed is useless and a dreadful waste so please, don't feel my pain.    I have, of late, been living day to day, still able to  barely seee on the computer  because it is backlit, unable to locate the cursor unless I let my peripheral vision find a moving object,  and not sure even  how long that will last.  Have not figured out how I would live if I were to completely lose the central "seeing" vision in my good eye .......I am a fantastic problem solver,  but I have not figure that one out yet.   We just won't go there, OK?   BUT.....

A friend sent me an article announcing that the Hospital and Med Dept at UC Davis has developed  a telescopic implant which enables people with an impaired central macula to SEE by focusing the vision away from the bad spot in the center to the side where the macula is healthy.  It told of a success with an 89 year old lady, an artist, who had lost her vision and had it restored by this implanted lens.  "Holy bejeebers", I said, or words to that effect.  And of course, I proceeded to look into this immediastely, if  you will pardon my loose use of the word "look".

My plan was to somehow get on the top of the list up at UC Davis, even if I had to bribe/convince them of my worthiness by giving them all my money......(no use trying to sell my body anymore).   However, after ceasing to jump up and down and before starting the exhausting business of trying to get through to the right department and the right person at UC Davis, I decided to consult with my own high powered Retinologist to get his opinion about the procedure and, lo and  behold, I found that not only does he approve of the procedure, but that he actually is performing it right here in his clinics in Los Angeles.  Now if all that ain't a fucking miracle, I don't know what is.

I have an appointment at the end of July for a consult with him to see if I am a candidate.  The article stated that they were only performing the procedure on folks who were over 75.....I sure as hell qualify, and on the dry macular degeneration......right on again.  I even rushed to my Cardiologist to have him check me over to be sure I could undergo surgery and got a thumbs up.  To say I am excited would be ridiculous.  There is no word for the degree of hope and the degree of fear I am experiencing.  Fear only because I would hate to lose what little sight I still have if the operation should fail..... but I will find out the odds and then take my chances.

Meanwhile, if you know anyone with macular degeneration, please tell them about this new procedure.  I will post the website with the article at the bottom of this post.  After 10 years of saying "no" when people ask me,  "Can't anything  be done to help you?" it seems there is finally a YES - MAYBE answer to that question.

Do spread the word, please!