Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Light, More Light!

CAUTION:  Not for the medically squeamish 

Last weekend I suffered a recurrence of a problem I had 2 years ago--a spontaneous tear in the retina of my eye. The retina did not detach, thank goodness (that can lead to blindness if not treated immediately), but that is always a concern and the Dr needed to use a laser procedure last time to make sure the tear was sealed and the retina remained intact.

The cause? I wish I could say that I was training for a triathlon or taking skydiving lessons, but it just happened because I am very, very nearsighted, middle aged (who me? Yikes! When did THAT happen?) and, as my Dr explained, the shape of my myopic eyeball caused the retina to stretch too thin until it just popped. Then there's a little tear that causes bleeding and results in cloudy vision for quite awhile. Not painful, but it's the worst annoyance--overwhelming and totally frustrating, particularly now, as I am in the middle of writing my fourth book. I simply CAN'T SEE out of my right eye and my livelihood currently depends on good eyesight. The last time this happened, it took over a year before I could focus clearly without thinking about how one eye was slightly blurry. I was also between books.

Rigby as seen with my left eye:

Rigby with my right eye:

Actually, it's a little worse than that but that's as blurry as my photo editor would go. The eyestrain from using one eye causes constant headaches if I try to do too much close work or sewing and then I have to give both eyes a good rest before I can do anything else. I can't exercise or lift anything for awhile. So the going will be slow. I alerted my editor and the new book will remain on the schedule. They're willing to work with my disability; I'll simply have to work at a slower pace and get help when I need it with some of the projects. But at least there will still BE a book, so there's that to be grateful for.

In most other respects I've been blessed with good health--this thing happens to have a genetic factor because 2 of my sisters also experienced the same problem within the last several years and my adult niece  had a retinal detachment a few years back. Luckily for me, I recognized the symptoms. Two of my friends who are my age also have had the flashing lights experience and they too avoided retinal detachment. Seriously, nothing to mess with. I had a million questions and my Dr assured me I did nothing to cause this. It also has NOTHING to do with straining your eyes from doing close work like hand quilting, too much reading (guilty) or sitting too close to the television for too many hours, LOL, as our parents warned us.

More info than you probably care to read about retinas . . .

So let this be a lesson AND a public service announcement--Visit your eye Dr regularly for a thorough exam, particularly if you are near or over 50, have seen ANY flashing lights in either eye or notice even a slight loss of vision or an increase in floaters. I shudder to think what COULD have happened if I had not been quick to seek medical attention when one day out of the blue I noticed a flood of floaters .

In the past 2 years, full spectrum lighting has become my quilting friend and I have a hard time sewing or reading without it. I even use those OTT light bulbs over the kitchen island to spread more light everywhere so the whole family can benefit. According to many in the health field: "Light has the profound power to heal our bodies and restore our spirits." As Martha would say: Light--it's a good thing.


I'll be using it even more over the next couple of months. (Please escuse any typos.)


Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Oh Kathleen, that was so scary. I hope that your eye will heal quickly. Best wishes.

Chris from NJ said...

The fluid in my eye is also separating from the retina. I have to go and have it checked periodically to make sure it does not tear the retina. I know what you are going through.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the news re: your eye. Hope that you have a fast recovery.


Lucy said...

I'm so sorry to read about your eye. I hope it will be better soon.

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I appreciate your visit very much!

Lucy ( the Netherlands)

Kathleen Tracy said...

Thanks for all the sympathetic words and thoughts--I really don't mean to sound like a big whining baby, just want to let people know why I probably won't be blogging as much as I'd like to. Sympathy DOES make me feel better, however, LOL.

Chris, I'm sorry you have had to go through this too. It's just not fair for quilters to have eye problems!

Lucy, EVERYBODY loves your blog and we can't stay away! I remember when my very first book came out and you e-mailed me. How fun to see that same quilt in Quiltmania magazine recently!

Darla said...

Wow! The difference between the two pictures! I feel for you! Is this your dog? - Rigby. He looks much like my "little baby" Lucy :)

Though I am a very "unknown" to you, I feel like I "know" you as I have all your books and love them so much. :) If you put a piece of your heart in your books, well then, yep, I think I know you then :) Your quilting and love for small quilts and dolls is very paralell with my interested and I even have many of the same fabrics in my stash as you have in yours :)

Hopefully your eye is getting better day by day.

Darla in WI


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