Tag: doctors

Pain Breakthrough

The problem disks!
The problem disks!

Let me tell you a little bit about my last 3 years…

It all started January 2011 when I tripped on the steep stairs of my Dad’s rental property putting away Christmas ornaments.  Because I was holding the ornaments I couldn’t catch myself and slammed head-first into the wall at the bottom of the stairs.  It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t move.

It was terrifying because nobody knew I was down there and I didn’t good reception down in the basement (don’t get good reception in Suncrest period).  When I did get through nobody was answering their phones.  I finally got a text out to an interested tenant who was coming to look at the house.  I told him ‘please come help me’.  Thankfully he did and we were able to reach my Uncle Jon and go to the emergency room.

https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/01/08/the-big-fall/

Dr #1

They took an xray at the time but it wasn’t a very accurate one.  I was in so much pain I couldn’t lift my hands above my head without literally screaming.  They said it was just muscle pain and I should push it as much as possible for it to recover.  They claimed the last thing I wanted to do was rest, so I worked hard and yet the pain persisted.

Dr #2

My body got more achy as the days persisted and so I went to my regular care doctor.  He was at least honest with me and said he had ‘no idea’ what was wrong.  I felt achy in my ribcage, lower back, and my exercise recovery was terrible.  I would spend hours in bed sometimes after a simple workout.

Dr #3 (and 4)

I was assured by so many people that it was just muscle aches that I wondered if it was some kind of flare up with my PCOS.  I had been seeing an endocrinologist in Salt Lake but I wasn’t very happy with him.  He treated me like a drama queen and didn’t answer my questions.  Based on one blood sugar reading after I’d had candy he said I was diabetic, freaked me out (I cried) and then retracted it the next time saying it was just so he could prescribe me the right medicine (which I hated see Victoza is Evil) I still can’t believe he would make up a diagnosis just to give me some prescription.

Then I found a new endocrinologist that I loved.  He would talk to you for literally an hour.  Unfortunately he shut down his practice because of Obamacare (his letter said it not me).  Sigh…

Dr #5

Because I was feeling pain in my ribcage I along with my back I wanted to make sure it wasn’t something serious like cancer.  I decided to try an internal med doctor and she was pretty good.  We did do an MRI and that’s where we figured out about my ‘healed fracture’ to my thoracic spine. I thought this might have been the trigger for the chronic pain (usually is a trigger for it).  Then we tried some thyroid meds and they seemed to help a lot.

It was actually a nurse practitioner at this doctor’s office that I loved.  She had fibromyalgia herself and so she understood chronic pain.  Was very sympathetic and thorough (we tested for everything).  I also refused to take pain meds because I didn’t want to get hooked on anything.

Well, just as we were making headway they fired the nurse practitioner and the doctor tried to prescribe a weight loss drug and didn’t tell me that it was also used to treat epilepsy and could lead your brain to be foggy and unclear….That was the end of that  doctor for me.  I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t tell me something like that.

I refuse to take medicine that alters my brain.  I respect those who make that choice but it is not for me.

Dr #6-

http://utahchronicpain.com/

In May I saw an ad for a place called Utah Chronic Pain Center.  They said they treated the patient from the inside out and that you got 2 free laser massages to try it out.  I figured why not? I went in a little skeptical but I learned that it was doctor supervised not some hippy mumbo-jumbo.

What impressed me the most was their dual approach. We did all the normal blood work, increased my thyroid meds to a more aggressive approach and started a treatment with laser massage, compression and other techniques.  It was hard but almost immediately I sensed a difference.  I started going 3 times a week, than 2, and now 1 time; however, if I miss that 1 time like I did on my trip to Cali I have serious pain.

In fact, I was having so much pain after Cali that Dr. Luddington suggested I get some x-rays just to rule certain things out like scoliosis. I went to the US MRI and the xrays only cost me $65 (I don’t have pre-existing condition coverage from my job with Poler until November).  Isn’t that a good deal?  We did 4 x-rays and they put it on a cd-rom for me to take to the dr.

back2

Today I went for a treatment with Dr. Luddington and looked at the x-rays.  The treatment went way better than last week (amazing what a difference it makes if I miss one).  After examining the x-rays he showed me how the disk in the lower back did not have the fullness of the other disks and that they were ‘degenerative’ meaning basically they had been flattened by an extreme event- like falling down a flight of stairs.  This had led to the chronic pain.

The good news is the doctor is confident if I keep with the treatment, keep swimming and stretch like I should than it will continue to grow and heal.

But just think what this means for a second- we now know for sure that I fractured a bone in my upper back and hurt a disk in my lower back and yet I kept on training?  How crazy is that?  Who says this girl can’t handle some serious stuff…

So now I’m armed with knowledge and a doctor that will treat me as long as I need (you pay up front for treatment until you are pain free!). I also have the comfort of hearing a doctor finally say

“So all that time you weren’t making it up.  You were really in pain”.

I really was.  I knew it.  I was just waiting to find someone who believed me.

Oh and I also had surgery on my eyes twice during this time.  Mama Mia!

Have any of you experienced this type of injury or related chronic pain?  What has helped you?  I’d love to hear your stories.

And to all you doctors maybe you should treat people like they are real human beings and believe them when they say they are hurting.  They aren’t drama queens and they don’t need you making up diagnosis, prescribing them weight loss drugs, telling her she needs gastric bypass and treating her like a child.  This is not an assembly line no matter how many patients you see a day.  This is 3 years of my life.  3 years!

Have any of you experienced this type of doctor drama?

 

Interesting Results and Hope

So this blog has road the ride of my crazy health the last year and a half.  In addition to the struggles of getting in shape and losing weight, I’ve faced borderline diabetes, PCOS, a fall down a stairs, unexplained ribcage pain for over a year, possible fibromyalgia and more.  I’ve had a hard time finding a doctor I can trust.  Because I was having so much ribcage pain I decided to go to an internal medicine doctor in August.  Dr.  Ling in American Fork.  Between her and her nurse practitioner Sarah Smith we have made headway.

Yet, still the pain persisted.  Finally Sarah ordered 14 tests last week and xrays. She said ‘we are going to test everything!’.  I really appreciate her investigative spirit.  I find this is the rarest but greatest trait in a medical professional.  I was going to meet with her next Monday but the anxiety (and pain) was making me crazy and I couldn’t take it another week.  So, I called and met with Dr.  Ling today.  I went in anticipating a ‘all your tests were normal’ response but after talking to the doctor she revealed some interesting results:

Low Thyroid level

Low vitamin B12

Low vitamin D.

(By the way this doctor’s office gives you a print out of notes from your visit. How great is that!)

I had been taking a B12 vitamin but evidently you need to have a sublingual pill for true absorption.  This is kind of like a melt-away.  You put it under your tongue and wait 30 seconds to swallow and it absorbs the vitamins into your blood stream faster.

I also got a thyroid med and a prescription vitamin D.  I had no idea before today that these deficiencies could cause pain. She said the pain meds don’t work very well because its not a muscle strain in the traditional sense.  It has more to do with the nerves and endocrine system.

I had also been tested for thyroid problems many times but evidently those ‘normal’ results needed to be dug into more completely. I’ve also learned there are 3 tests not just one TSH/T4/T3. Perhaps that test was done before.  Who knows.  All that matters is we had results now and we’re trying something out. That feels exciting! (I really feel like I should get an honorary medical degree after this year!).

Even if this isn’t the full answer I just feel excited to have a doctor who is asking questions and helping me figure things out.  I will meet with her again in 6 weeks, repeat the tests and see how things are going.  As I was leaving she said ‘I hope you feel better’.  I said ‘That’d be great but I really just want to know what it is I’m fighting against’.

We will see but I have hope and feel more encouragement than I have in over a year.  Still have the pain but at least some of the anxiety about the pain has lessened for the moment.

Will be sure to keep you posted! Anyone who has experience with any of these 3 deficiencies I would love to hear them.  Thanks in advance and thanks to everyone for all your support during this insane year and a half.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. What a journey! I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

Tonsils

So you won’t believe what I am about to write.  I am sick again!  This year has seriously been the worst year.  I feel like I just can’t catch a break.  I hate to think what’s next because clearly things can always get worse!

It just seems like a cruel irony to me that in the year I’m attempting to be my healthiest and most fit my body decides to go to hell in a handbasket.

When I was 8 years old I had to go through the terrible experience of having my tonsils removed because I had endured 6 cases of strep that year alone.

IT WAS AWFUL.  I remember crying from the pain and my Dad paying me $20 to take my medicine- wonder if that would still work today? 🙂

Little did I know that they had only removed 2 of my 3 tonsils.  Did you know that every human being has 3 sets of tonsils? (I swear I should get an honorary degree with all I’ve learned about the human body this year!).

The first is the Pharyngeal Tonsil (your adenoids), Palatine tonsils (the lovely suckers we can see dangling in the mirror) and lastly the lingual tonsils (these are behind the tongue and impossible to see without a camera.

They typically don’t remove the lingual tonsils because the tongue is a highly vascular area making the surgery risky.  Well, my friends my lovely lingual tonsils are pussy, red, and highly infected.  No wonder I have had a sore throat for weeks.

Evidently the rigorous amoxicillin regiment I went on in September was only enough to pacify the bacteria not make it go away. Gives a whole new meaning to my accomplishments at Slam the Dam– my throat was still probably swollen and fighting infection and yet I finished!

Now the doctors have me on a new antibiotic and with any luck (with this year I’m not holding my breath) I should be feeling better in a couple of days.  At least hopefully I will be able to eat again without tremendous pain.  There’s a thought!

I am grateful that I found a great ear nose and throat doctor and I must admit it was pretty amazing when they stuck the scope through my nose down my throat (they had numbed my nose so it didn’t hurt).  It really looked ghastly but I am sure a regular lingual tonsil would look somewhat gross also! (Honestly, it could have been worse.  It could have been cancer or a tumor.  Thank goodness for some good news!).

It is such a comforting thing when you find a good doctor who you can trust.  I wish I could find an endocrinologist like that.  All I seem to get in that department is people who don’t care and treat me like an assembly line or like ‘another obese person looking for a quick fix’.  It’s very frustrating!

I finally stopped going to my endocrinolgist in Salt Lake.  He didn’t listen or explore alternatives but kept piling on medication after medication.  The final straw was when it took them over 2 and 1/2 months to get my A1c score back last July.  I kept calling and no response.  And this I am paying $50 a visit for!  I don’t think so.  Even if I have to drive to Bountiful or even Logan, I have got to find someone I can trust that will listen.

Anyway, back to my lovely tonsils.  I actually don’t feel that bad. I was feverish on Sunday and had a temperature of 101 but since then I have felt alert and normal.  The only problem is that my throat is on fire.   This has made eating difficult and I have been forced to eat some sugar but am trying to keep it down.  I want to eat cold things so bad.  For instance, nothing tastes better than a slurpee.  I know it is so bad for me so I’ve tried to keep it to a minimum.

Its a real bummer getting tonsillitis this week because I have so much to do with the start of Poler and my other end of month responsibilities.  Luckily my employer is wonderful and flexible.  I am so grateful for my job in moments like these!

Please say a prayer for me that the antibiotic will work and that all will go well.

Thanks for all your love, support and for putting up with all of my moaning and groaning.  It has been a hard time for me!

Say No to Drugs

Today I want to make an announcement- I have given up my narcotics habit.  Let me explain.  For the past six months I have allowed my physicians to keep piling on the prescriptions to help with my hormone problems, sugar regulations, insomnia and other problems.  It kind of happened without me realizing, one prescription here, another there, until as of yesterday I was taking around 10 pills a day and an injection.

For little spurts I felt improvement from the various treatments but never the large-scale change which was promised.  I seem to have a weak stomach which is upset rather easily (even the anesthesia from the eye surgery made me sick).   As I reported in one of my posts a medicine called victoza made me particularly sick a couple of weeks ago.  I literally couldn’t eat for days and was vomiting non-stop.  It was awful.

With a optimisitic attitude I tried it again and felt good for a couple of weeks but when I stopped taking all my meds for my eye surgery ,and then started them all again, the negative symptoms returned.  From last Thursday to Sunday I could not keep any food down and had terrible nausea, vomiting and other GI problems.  I almost went to the hospital Sunday because I had not eaten in 4 days.  In the end, I went to Instacare and got some anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for a UTI.

I am sure all of that is an over-share but I wanted to explain how I came to my realization.  On Sunday I had a moment of clarity that said ‘nothing is worth feeling like this.  Nothing’.  At that moment I decided that if it takes me 5 years of grueling diet and exercise  as opposed to the more rapid help from the drugs that’s what I will have to do.  I will have to regulate my sugars and hormones the old-fashioned way.

Armed with this decision, I met with my doctor, and he was very supportive.  We decided to stop the victoza and metformin along with several other meds.  This reduces my meds to about 3 1/2 pills a day.  Pretty good, right?  The doctor is changing me to a different blood sugar med called onglyza that I only have to take 1/2 a pill a day and is better than either the victoza or metformin on the stomach.  I have bcp, lunesta for sleeping and one for my hormones called finasteride.

We may add or take away items as we go, but I feel good about this change.  I am not saying it is the right change for everyone, just for me.  I have felt very connected to the spirit during this whole process (finding my doctors, getting through treatment, trusting the diagnosis etc) and I think this is what it is telling me to do, for my body, at this moment.

The most important thing I have learned from the last 6-12 months is to take ownership of my body.  Only I know how I feel, and as brilliant as my doctors are they can only guide ME to make the decisions which affect ME.   My advice is to be open to try new things and treatments but in the end be brave enough to say ‘enough is enough.  I’m moving on.’

Thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me (and listening to me whine) while trying to figure all of this out.  Some day I hope to make it up to you but until then consider yourself forcibly electronically HUGGED.  I love you all so much!

One Eyed Vampire

So the surgery is come and gone.

Wednesday- went into hospital at 9:45 and filled out forms and got registered.  Once they called my name I went to the pre-op room.  In this small room they go over the procedures and ask me a million questions, which will then be asked again and again throughout the day (my name, birthdate, what surgery I’m having, when was the last time I ate, etc).  Next I had to get on my robe and other garments and get seated on the bed. Finally the nurses came in to try and ‘thread the IV’.  Unfortunately I have very small veins and even drawing blood regularly takes a skilled phlebotomist several tries.  Two different nurses tried on 5 pricks to no avail.  (I took a photo of me with my hands all bandaged but it didn’t turn out.).

With no IV in they wheeled me into the operating room.  Then I met the anesthesiologist who was a cheerful fellow who asked me more questions in a jolly way. Eventually he was able to thread the vein using a pediatric needle (I really do have small veins!).  Then came the sleep…

Waking up from anesthesia is a weird experience.  Its a foggy wake up where nothing makes sense.  I immediately felt hot, sweaty and nauseated. In fact, within a minute I yelled for the nurse and threw up this thick gooey substance and it was all over me.  (sorry for the overshare).  She came and gave me a bag and tried to calm me down.  At this point I wasnt even thinking about my eye.   The nurse was able to change my robe and get me a hot cloth that helped sooth me and it was only then that I thought “ooh, my eye hurts!”.    It hurts in a weird way.  It kind of feels like a pressure mixed with a sting.  Have you ever had a eye lash stuck in your eye?  It feels  a little like that but with all your eye lids.

this is my Doctor- Dr. Peterson. He did such a good job and is a very kind man.

After I was partly calm they moved me from post op to recovery where I could see my mom.  What a welcome sight and to feel her hand on my hand.  It was funny because she was so cold in the room that they gave her like 3 blankets.  Me, on the other hand, was roasting- sweat sticking to the bed.  The nurse tried to get me to drink cranberry juice and sprite but it was too sweet.  I wish they had something better for diabetics besides sweet sodas.  Finally I went with a diet pop but it didn’t help much.  I tried to eat 2 crackers but did not feel well. After resting for many minutes (and receiving medicine through the iv) I was finally ready to put on my clothes which felt heavy against my sweaty, weary body.  They rolled me out in a wheel chair and then I got into the car where I immediately got sick again and threw up.

Feeling awful we drove to the doctor’s office for the final adjustment to be done.  I was nervous about this but with the anesthesia gel it wasn’t too bad.  I told my doctor that getting my eye brow’s waxed hurts worse!  He is such a good doctor and just a kind man.   I am lucky to have found him.  The nurse who helped us at the doctor’s had the same surgery but she told me she needed it 6 times throughout her life!  I guess she was born with crossed eyes and it took many tries to get alignment.  Wow!  I can’t imagine going through this 6 times.  She did also say that my doctor was the one who could finally get the alignment right.  It seems like he is the best at this particular surgery and it is comforting to know you are in the hands of the best.

the patch helped for the first day

Finally after all that I could go home, take some lortab and rest.  Surprisingly looking at a laptop up close was easier than a far-away tv.  This is why I was able to post on facebook the day of the surgery.  It was especially easy because I used a patch for the first day which helped me to focus and helped the eye to heal.  Now things are fuzzier that I have to use both eyes.

My visiting teacher Brianna brought over Rumbi grill on Wednesday which I am so grateful for.  Since we didn’t get home until after 4 it was so wonderful to have food brought to us.  Thank you so much.  She even made sure my mom had gluten-free sauce and that we all had brown rice.

Thursday- After a night of interrupted but good sleep I woke up feeling groggy and a little hung over from the anesthesia.  I also felt tons of body aches after surgery.  My neck, back and chest were all very sore.  I felt like I had been in a car accident and was experiencing whiplash.  My mom thinks it may be something to do with the position they put me in for operating.  Who knows?

The whole rest of the day I wore the patch to help me see and to help me from poking at the eye.  We decided my pirate name is One Eyed McGee.  The eye hurt but there were also accompanying head aches that would take over my whole head.  Thank goodness for Lortab!  I just have 12 pills to get me through the worst of it because I know how dangerous it can be.  On Thursday I was grateful for it.  It was so nice having my mother here to talk with and help me take the medicine.  The eye drops are very important and I have to remember to take them 4 times a day.

Friday- Most of the grogginess is gone and doctor says I have to take off the patch for the day.  This makes things double and can be painful- particularly when my eye tries to move.  It is more like a pressure accompanied by a bit of a sting.   Still, there is definite improvement today.  We decide to visit my grandma (I figured sitting there not that different from sitting in my apartment).  That was a pleasant visit but I did get tired towards the end.  I think it will take a couple of days to be back to my usual effervescent self!

Not wearing the patch is hard.  I feel there is liquid coming and want to dab my eye or pick at it.  It takes all of my strength to leave it alone.  I don’t want infection to develop.  I must admit that despite my best efforts the skin under my eye is a little raw from the gauze rubbing against it.  today I must do better on that.  It’s just very tempting but I really dont’ want an infection.

Saturday- Today I feel pretty good.  I woke up with my eye caked over in fluid and the like, which I have read is common.  I do feel the sting and the throbbing are a little better.  I feel confident I should be able to drive tomorrow to take my mom to the airport.   Today we are going to try going out with friends for lunch and maybe going to Ikea.  We will see.  Now I look like a one-eyed vampire.  The strangest thing is I cannot open my right eye completely because of the sutures- so one eye looks big and the other freakishly small.  Oh well!  All part of the healing process.

Today I am transitioning off of lortab to Tylenol and ibuprofen.  I know how dangerous lortab can be and do not want to become an addict.  Still, it was nice to have for a few days to relieve pain.

I am confident of my healing moving forward.  Thank you for all the support and encouragement I have received.  Its been quite the journey but soon I will be able to see differently than ever before.  I will be curious to hear your feedback about my eye contact and other things you see as improvements post surgery.  My friend Melissa said she could already see a new alignment and that she thought I looked prettier!  That made my day.  Nothing like being told your pretty when you look like a one-eyed vampire!  I really am curious to know if you see anything different in my face and how I interact with you.  My eye contact should at least be better.

If any of you are going through surgery- particularly this surgery- know it will be rough but you will get through it.  Lean on the support of those you loved and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  I am so grateful to those who have helped me especially my Mom.

To healing and getting stronger each day!  Please keep the prayers and thoughts coming.  Love, Rachel

What a Week!

Do you ever have those weeks where you think- “How did I survive it all and stay sane (or relatively so)?”

This has been such a week for me.  I feel like I’ve been collecting medical diagnosis’- like a stamp collector but with doctors! It reminds me of a carnival barker yelling “come one, come all- get your diagnosis while they are still hot!’

The thing is I don’t feel like anyone has given me much of anything.  I am the health detective on the case of ‘Rachel’s Body 2011’ and while I’m deeply grateful for my doctors, none of them would have gotten to this weeks conclusions without my copious notes, my obnoxious questions and my stubborn insistence on finding a result.

You see, the problem is many of my symptoms for both the diabetes and the eyes can and have been explained in a variety of other ways. Over the years I’ve heard everything from chronic fatigue to fibermyalgia, to dyslexia and the common cold.

My favorite diagnosis is when the doctor says ‘Just the lose the weight and you will feel better!’  As if I can waive a magic wand and ‘oh the weight is gone!’.  If reading this blog over the last 14 months has taught you anything, you should be well aware weight loss is not an easy thing for me.

The most frustrating aspect to such a flimsy diagnosis is it made me feel like my lack of health was my fault, that somehow I was misusing, neglecting or hurting my body.  For years I subtly bought into this idea but felt there was nothing I could do to solve the problem.  For some reason 14 months ago I decided I was tired of the low energy and the fatigue and that I was going to do all in my power to fix things.

Naturally I started on the obvious route- watch what I eat and exercise.  While this had some marginal results for weight loss it was not what everyone had told me would happen.  In 14 months of exercising I never once felt energized, excited or good about working out.  My body was constantly tired and worn out- even more so then when I had started.  I expected such results for a few weeks but after nearly a year it didn’t make sense.  The weight loss was also slow, slow, slow.

Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t the simple solution to a new me that everyone promised.  Knowing I had done the traditional route and it still wasn’t working I began seeing my endocrinologist in January.  He has been amazing and his entire office has been great at listening to how I actually feel.

In January things started to move with my PCOS diagnosis and treatment.  I still believe in this diagnosis and feel strongly it is something I was born with.  If you look at the symptoms they match up perfectly with the story of my life. Early maturation, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight,  energy problems, hormone problems etc.

While this was a significant piece of the puzzle I still felt like something was missing.  I still didn’t feel good. A side of me said ‘well, maybe that’s just how my body is- tired, haggard, weak?’ .  However, I was not willing to give up just yet.  I continued to keep track of my blood sugars and be super strict on my diet.  After 3 more visits with my endocrinologist we finally had the revelation of diabetes on Monday.  Like I said, the doctor may look at it as his diagnosis but I look at it as mine- my victory for my body.

The same story can be told with the eye problems.  I always wondered if there was something wrong with the way I saw things but when you see a certain way since you were born its hard to doubt it.  For some reason this year I asked the questions and have figured out the answers.

If you can learn anything from me don’t accept the lame answers like ‘just lose weight and you will feel better’.  How lame can doctors be!  Be your own health detective and don’t give up!

I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to know that this behemoth of a trial in my life was not solely my fault.  I’m not saying I was perfect in my food and lifestyle but NOTHING I could have done would have solved the problem without this week of diagnosis.  It really is a 20 year burden removed from my shoulders.

A burden I have felt since the first time my parents sat me down at around the age of 9 and told me I needed to lose weight and that I ‘weighed as much as some grown men’.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live- immediately I went from a floating little girl to someone who was unwillingly inflicting an evil on her body.

It seemed out of my control, yet somehow the world told me it should be in my control? I will also never forget the jabs, mockery and frustrations that came in each year that followed.  Eventually I worked out a self-confidence I wish all big girls had but I still deep down thought the weight and the fatigue was my fault.

Ahhh! It wasn’t.  I can’t explain how much that means.  I feel like shouting for joy and wish I could tell the whole world.  (thank you blog for allowing me to do that!).

I still have a long road ahead of me but today I am focusing on having the most calming relaxing day I can have.  After the chaos and emotions of this week I could use it!  I am listening to my Enya cd and enjoying the beautiful spring day (while working of course!). I feel like I’m in the ‘vacant and pensive mood’ described by Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils.  I did it! As crazy as this week has been I know it is monumental in my life and I did it! Wow!   Thank you to everyone who believed in and loved me regardless of my size, energy level or other problems.  You will always be my treasures.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

Strabismus Surgery

So the long strange story of my health continued today with a visit to a ophthalmologist (eye specialist).  As most of my friends know for years I have struggled with a lazy eye (the doctor said I’ve had it since I was born).   It’s a little hard to explain but it has always taken effort for me to focus on things clearly.  Once I have the focus I see very well but it goes in and out.  I also have terrible depth perception making driving, tennis, baseball other activities difficult.

In addition, sometimes I see double.  Since this is the way I have always seen for years I didn’t recognize it as a problem.  The only reason I became aware was about 5 years ago I went to the DMV.  As part of the eye exam they ask you to look in the box and tell them which side lights appear.  You can imagine my surprise when I didn’t see any lights!  Naturally in order to get my license I had to go to an eye doctor and get the problem looked at.  Unfortunately I went to a run of the mill eye doctor (that’s one thing I’ve learned specialists make all the difference in the world) and the idiot said ‘you have a lazy eye but glasses won’t help so there’ s nothing we can really do).

Zoom ahead to this year.  As you can imagine over the last few months I have become very aware of my body.  I have always felt there was something wrong inside me but could brush it aside as stress, fatigue, an illness ect.  However, this year was different.  I was doing everything right and still not feeling well, still feeling haggard.

About 6 months ago started noticing when singing music the words would get blurry and be difficult to read.  (the doctor says if I was a veracious reader before I should be through the roof after treatment.  He said my family may not see me for a week I will be reading so much!).  Obviously this was a concern so I went to an eye doctor near my gym.  I honestly figured they would be a high-class doctor because of the designer frames sold in the store.  With my insurance the copayment is the same so I decided to go for the exclusive looking doctor.  Unlike the lame doctor of 5 years ago this man did a number of tests including taking images of my eyes.  He agreed that I had a lazy eye and that glasses would not help. However, he did not agree nothing else could be done.

So this brings us to today.  On the advice of my doctor I went to the specialist, Dr. Petersen at the Rocky Mountain Eye Care Associates in Salt Lake.  After a number of tests he said I have intermittent exotropia or in other words, my eyes are not aligned correctly.  This causes problems with double vision, head aches, fatigue, and other problems.

To solve the problem he is recommending I have a strabismus surgery where they actually loosen and reposition the muscles in my eyes to make them align correctly.   While we have not scheduled the surgery yet it looks like it will be sometime in May.  The doctor said the recovery can take up to a week and he recommends I work from home, which is no problem for me!  (Can I say too many times how grateful I am for my job?)

The doctor said post-surgery I should experience a noticeable difference in my depth perception, head aches, fatigue and energy level in general.  Between the new energy from this and the diabetes shots I should have super powers!  I’m excited! (A little scared but excited too!).

the muscles in my eye(s) will be changed so the eyes align and see correctly

Well, I still have a lot to learn but hopefully I’ve explained this in a way that makes some sense.  This has been such a crazy, difficult journey but I am so grateful to be finally figuring these problems out.  I feel like a detective who has found the key clues to the big case- a case of why can’t Rachel lose weight and why is she always so tired?

Who knew the road to health was fraught with such peril!  Thanks for all of your current and continuing support.  Please keep the prayers coming. Love you!