Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Seeing is neat-o!

Firstly, I miss blogging. There have been many reasons for my absence and probably a blog post for each of them.

Maybe I’ll go into detail… if there were more hours in the day. I miss it a lot.

Onwards! on Friday I got laser eye surgery to correct my near-sightedness. This comes with a story of course! Needless to say it'll be a long one. I'm not offended if you just skip to the end where I write about the funny things. Kind of like the blooper reel!

So laser eye surgery is nothing new. With diabetes though it poses more risks. Obviously when it first came out I wanted it but my vision was continuing to degrade and the procedure was super expensive.

Year after year my prescription got worse. Getting laser would be pointless if I would be in glasses a year later. 5 years ago I totally abused my eyeballs. I over-did it on the contacts to the point where I eventually (and permanently) ruined my eyelids from over-use. I was forced to wear glasses full time. I HATED glasses. I asked my optometrist what she thought about laser. My vision had stayed stable for over a year. She wasn't keen on it at all, she was concerned about my diabetes. However, she also wasn't educated with laser (at all) maybe because she would lose my business. I went to a very reputable centre for a consult to investigate.

I was told there were 4 tests to pass to qualify to be a candidate.
1: my vision needed to not change for at least a year.
2: I needed to have sufficient cornea depth.
3: No history of any damage to my eyes from diabetes and no sign of damage
4: my A1C needed to be low’ish but more importantly, no drastic changes in the past year.

At that time I qualified. However the cost was going to be over $5000 and they wouldn't do both eyes at the same time because of the risk with having diabetes. That didn't make any sense to me but I couldn't afford it any way.

A couple months ago I was losing my shit and my patience with not knowing what seeing was. With contacts I could see but only out of one eye. For some reason one of them never EVER sat right. It caused me stress headaches and irritation so thick and bitchy that you could almost touch it. I used them for sports ONLY. Glasses? I could sort of see if I tilted my head back and looked through the centre of the lens. I can attest that driving wasn't overly safe. I had these stupid fucking clip on sunglasses which I called my “granny glasses” and they never left the car because they were so ugly.

I went back for a laser consult this time with the intention of having it done no matter what the cost. It was $3800 for the record. I would finance it. I passed all the tests again and this time I went in with a good consistent lower A1C than I've ever had. They told me I was a perfect candidate and made very little mention of my diabetes. It wasn't even an issue.

Now, for the first time in what feels like a lifetime, I can see! I can see EVERYTHING! I can see far! I can read signs! I feel so absolutely privileged now. I'm sure the novelty will wear off but I don't think I'll ever forget how lucky I am or how long I waited for this day.

I realize there may be a future risk with my vision due to diabetes that I'm concerned about. After all, my initial T1D diagnoses was given to me by my optometrist. I made an emergency appointment with her because my vision suddenly changed over night. It wasn't the insane thirst or fatigue of typical diabetes diagnoses, it was my eyes. Most of those kind of changes are temporary though and I've had nothing even close to that happen in the almost 11 years since diagnosis.

The procedure:
The actual surgery was pretty neat. I am fascinated with science and technology and found myself just amazed at what they were doing. It was short. Maybe only a couple minutes per eye and most of that was the preparation before the laser. The worst of it was the pressure from the suctions they use to hold my eyeball still (and maybe the smell of burning eyeball during the few seconds of the laser part). There was no pain since my eyes were numb from the drops. I could immediately see the moment it was done but it was like looking through a frosted glass window. The worst part about the whole thing was the few hours immediately following the surgery once the numbing wore off. Yeah it hurt like a mother fucker and I really couldn't open my eyes for a few hours. Ryan nailed towels over the window to make the bedroom as dark as possible. I listened to lectures while trying not to roast in the slow cooker that was our bedroom since the temperature was ridiculous outside. Copious amounts of Advil did wonders for the pain and I was up and about the apartment by the evening. 

The things I'm noticing:
-I still move my head away while pouring boiling water (it would fog up my glasses) or opening the oven
-While driving I habitually tilt my head up to look through the part of my glasses to read signs
-Slapping my hand all over my bedside table looking for my glasses before I open my eyes in the morning.
-Shaving my legs in the shower!!!
-At night, I can see stuff
-I keep expecting my "contacts" to irritate my eyes
-I don't see double lines on my computer at work (that means I should be more proficient now, right? At least less lost time to migraines).......
-.......Less migraines from straining to see
-When I get out of my car there are no clip-on granny glasses to take off (yet I still try)
-one word..... SUNGLASSES!
-after washing my face I don't have to get an inch from the mirror to see myself
-When I snuggle Ryan I don't get greasy nose prints
-plucking my eyebrows just became so much easier
-I can read street signs! Wait, did I already say that one?
-Throwing out all contact lenses, solution, cases and cleaners. Minimalism.
-Falling asleep in front of the TV
-I am still pushing my imaginary glasses up my nose
-I can see what time it is on my phone when I wake up in the middle of the night
-Subsequently, I can see what my BG is when I wake up in the middle of the night to test
-I cut up an onion the other day and it didn't burn my eyeballs
-I just can't stop staring out the window
-I keep feeling "exposed"
-I will miss how glasses helped to hide my tired baggy eyes in the morning
-I'm looking forward to yoga and not having my glasses on my forehead during inverted poses
-Waking up next to Ryan and other things I can't write about

So best shit ever. I can NOT wait to ride my bike! It will be a whole new world of seeing.

The only downside right now is the incessant migraines. It's been a constant reminder of just how much I didn't see before because it's overwhelming me right now.


  1. Congrats on being able to see! Now, go get yourself some glasses so that you don't hurt your eyes while you're riding. :^)

  2. AWESOME!!! Congrats! I go in for my normal eye check-up today. I do wear contacts, but it's a super low prescription strength. Glad the surgery went well.

  3. Glad you're seeing great again! I'm thinking it may be time for a pair of smokin' Ray-Bans or aviator sunglasses.

  4. I had basically the exact experience as you, except chopping onions burns my eyes like nothing else now! I think wearing contacts used to protect me before, but now I tear up right away. I chew gum sometimes when it's really bad, and that usually helps. No clue why. I tell everyone that LASIK was the best money I ever spent, and my T1 didn't affect it at all. Five years later, I'm still 20/20.

  5. Super fist pump in the air over here for you! I can tell how excited you are and it is awesome. Although I still have to wear reading glasses in front of the computer or when reading stuff up close, being able to see without contacts is still amazing to me. Things are so much more colourful! The eyebrow thing made me laugh. I remember looking in the mirror for the first time without glasses/contacts and being amazed at how out of control they were :) Very happy for you!!

  6. Awesome!

    I totally crinkled my nose at the burning eyeball part - eww! :-)

    And I LOL'd at Jeff's comment about having to go get some eyeglasses!

  7. That's Awesome! Contacts and glasses are both annoying. It was good to hear they didn't give you too much crap about the diabetes, I was wondering about that, as I'm considering having laser surgery at some point...

  8. Wow... thanks for writing about all of this. (I waited two days until I really had time to read it clearly and think about it). I'd contemplated Laser Vision surgery for awhile, and was ready to go ahead with it, but then chickened out because of the potential diabetes-related complications. Now I'm thinking of it again..

    I actually stopped wearing contacts a couple of years ago because the daily scratching of the eyeballs was, I figured, not a particularly good idea. So I play the games with the glasses you're talking about (no, I don't shave my legs, but I shave my head, and the glasses-on, glasses-off game is no fun!). I'll be really interested in any follow-ups you have on this...


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