Many of you noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks, and I wanted to explain to everyone what’s been going on in my life recently.
The morning of May 23th started like any other day. I got up, put on my workout clothes, and started doing my cardio routine for the day. Barely three minutes into my workout, I started experiencing some vision problems, and told my husband what was going on. He suggested I sit down for a few minutes and eat some breakfast, thinking I had simply overexerted myself.
Unfortunately, 10 minutes had passed, and my vision was still “off”.. The best way I can describe it is if someone took a grey crayon and colored over the top portion of my right eye. It’s a very disorienting feeling.
My husband called our eye doctor and explained what was going on. They told us to jump in the car and come over immediately. And that we did.
After 30 minutes of exhaustive tests, the doctor came into the room, and he gave me a diagnosis I was never expecting. Branch Retinal Artery Occlusion (BRAO). What this means is that a clot of some sort got into an artery in my eye, blocking blood flow to the rest of the eye. It’s similar to a stroke, but instead of the clot affecting my brain, it instead affected my eye.
Then came the kicker. The vision loss would be permanent. I immediately started crying, unable to imagine life with this “visual defect” in my eye.
They sent us to a Retina specialist, and I prayed that they misdiagnosed my condition. But after a quick evaluation, the specialist came to the same conclusion. The puzzling part is that BRAO typically affects people in their 60’s, and I’m a seemingly healthy 36 year old. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t have any of the risk factors typically associated with this.
So they sent me to all kinds of doctors to run a variety of tests. I’ve seen a radiologist, cardiologist, hematologist, and tomorrow I’m seeing a neurologist. Because they still don’t know what caused this, my doctors won’t allow me to travel. That meant missing my best friend’s wedding (which I was in), which was 3 days after this happened. It also means missing a trip to California with my husband, which I was supposed to leave for on Wednesday.
My vision hasn’t improved (there was a 1% chance that it might, but that window has passed), and I’m trying to just cope with it day by day, while dealing with the anxiety that plagues me now. It’s a struggle, but people keep reminding me that others have it worse, and I should be lucky that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I’m sure in time I’ll come to appreciate that, but right now they just feel like empty words.
As if this wasn’t enough, I get a call at work last Thursday morning. My Dad had a heart attack, and he was being rushed to the hospital! 8+ hours and 3 hospitals later, they tell us that the blockage had been removed, but that he’s got to be kept under observation for a few days until they determine the next course of action. He’s undergoing another procedure today, and we’re waiting to hear back what’s next.
Needless to day, these past few weeks have been a living nightmare..