Tag Archives: Glaucoma

Feeling My Feelings

30 Aug

Hurricane Isabel, as seen from the International Space Station – Or my swirling feelings

I know things have been quiet on my blog so far this week.  One of the reasons is that I have been trying to process all of my feelings.  Monday I was virtually useless all day.  I couldn’t get my mind off of my dog’s vet appointment the next day.  I don’t even remember one single detail from Monday.  Nothing.  I know I got up and went to work.  I can’t remember if I ate or, if I did, what I ate.  I have no idea what clothes I wore.  I can’t remember what I did that evening.  Mr. Mess was at school all day from 7 am to about 10:30 pm, so I didn’t even get to talk to him beyond a few quick check-ins.  I went through the entire day on autopilot, zoned out.

When Tuesday morning finally rolled along, I was glad to get the ophthalmologist visit taken care of.  I had to lead a conference call for work that morning on the way to the vet.  As I was getting Buddy together, loading the car, juggling my phone on speaker, a leash and my purse, driving to the vet, and trying to facilitate the call, I realized it was too much.  I was going to go back to work after the appointment, even if he had to get surgery, then come pick him up later.  Somewhere during that call I decided that was not going to happen.  I could not handle it emotionally, in the least.

The appointment was depressingly short.  The actual ophthalmologist (the other person I saw was just filling in for him during vacation), was very personable, knowledgeable, and gentle with Buddy.  Unfortunately, when he took the pressure in his eye it was still quite elevated.  A quick look inside at the optical nerve verified what he suspected – there really was no hope for Buddy’s left eye.  I had a sinking feeling all week that would be the case, so I should have been prepared.  I didn’t cry or get upset or even react much at all; I was just numb.  He said that they were ready to do the procedure immediately to stop fluid production in that eye, which would also lead to permanent vision loss.  While they had him under, the vet said he would confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma and check the other eye for a malformation.  With that, he walked out, one of the ladies from the front desk walked in, and I watched them take Buddy away to the back.

My Mom and I had already decided to have lunch together, so I gave her a call as I was walking out, even though it was only 9:30 am.  I told her what was going on, and she suggested that I come by her house right then.  Grateful for something to distract myself with, I headed her way.  Our original plan was to go shoe shopping, check out some clearance sales, and have lunch together – a few hours of mindless fun.  When I got there we started comparing recent purchases, and I talked her into keeping some really cute, cheap shoes that she had purchased the week before.  We talked about what kind of outfits would go with them, how sexy my step-Dad thought the red pair was, and other completely shallow stuff that was as far away from the anxiety-producing thoughts of my dog going under the knife as possible.

My Mom is great.  She can read me.  She understands all of the emotions I have bubbling just under the surface.  She offered her support and some calm reassurance.  She played to my rational side, and treated this like what it was – a minor procedure necessary to help Buddy be comfortable and more healthy.  She gave me a few minutes to call work and let them know I wasn’t coming in, then we moved right along with the business of going shopping in each other’s closets.

A few days before we were on the phone talking about random things, which my Mom is an expert at (we can literally have a conversation that lasts hours and isn’t really about anything in particular).  She told me that she has been looking for a pair of flat boots to wear to college football games.  Coincidentally, I had a pair that I purchased 2 years ago or so when I sprained my ankle.  They were cute, but I found that I really never wore them.  Those boots, along with light brown leather cowboy boots that were slightly too narrow for me and a few other adorable shoes that always seemed to be sitting in the back of my closet unworn went into a bag for my Mom.  Tuesday I unloaded that bag, and she tried on the various shoes.  She loved them all.  That meant I didn’t have to worry about donating them or listing them on eBay.  It’s great to have the same foot size as your Mom!

We then went upstairs where it was my turn to shop.  My Mom has been on the South Beach diet for the past 3 years or so (usually on phase 3, but sometimes going back to the earlier ones for a weight-loss boost).  She is about 2 sizes smaller than I am now, but there was a time she was in the same transition phase as me.  After losing approximately 25 pounds in the past 2 months, I also lost about 2 pants sizes.  That meant I could fit into some of the nice clothes that are too big for her and have been just taking up space.  I played dress-up there in my Mom’s big walk-in closet and found that her old clothes look amazing on me.  My ass is killer!  I ended up going home with 4 new-to-me pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, 2 cardigans, a fly-away jacket, a necklace, and an amazing pair of khaki colored boots.  Score!

We also went to lunch at an amazing little restaurant run by a well-known chef.  Right as we were completing our lunch order I got a call from the vet.  Buddy had come our of surgery well, was just now coming around from the anesthesia, and would be ready for pick-up in about an hour.  I fought my natural urge to jump out of the booth and go speeding over to get him.  Instead, we had a nice lunch followed by a trip to Sally’s next door where I picked up two new hair accessories and admired pretty-colored nail polish.

I had ridden with my Mom to lunch, so we returned to her house where I gathered up my bags of clothing.  After a quick pit-stop, I found a special treat for Buddy waiting next to my purse on the table.  If I weren’t so numb I probably would have cried.  I gave my Mom a hug, and thanked her for lunch and the great, free shopping trip, then headed out.

When I arrived to pick up Buddy they gave me some medicine to give him over the next few days and a piece of paper that said (in part):

Diagnoses Left Eye: Primary Glaucoma, chronic

Diagnoses Right Eye:  Narrow angle

Gonioscopic examination of the right eye indicated a significant risk of glaucoma

There it was in black and white.  I knew it, in my head.  I thought I had accepted it.  Buddy wasn’t making it a big deal.  So why did that hurt so bad?  The vet explained there was really nothing I could have done.  He said that usually by the time the damage is noticeable it is usually too late to do anything.  He said that it was a good thing that he is 9 years old when it first presented, not 2.  He also said that we now are ahead of it in the other eye.  We have medication to delay its progress.  We have an emergency plan and medicine in case his other eye acts up.  We are really in a much better place with Buddy’s health this week than last week or even the week before.

I guess it just made me have to recognize the fact that Buddy will not live forever.  I knew that, too.  I’m not a moron.  I am just very connected to him.  My husband has made fun of his sister for saying she would sleep in a tent before she got rid of her dogs, but I get it.  He is my family.  His whole body wiggles with joy when he sees me.  He snuggles up to me in the most adorable way.  He has been there for me through lots of tears, and he always makes me feel better.  When I got him home he was still groggy from the anesthesia, and he fell asleep on my lap.  He is so sweet and soft and wonderful.  I know he isn’t mourning the loss of his left eye, but I am.  I am mourning the fact that he is getting old and may die sometime sooner than I am willing to admit to myself.  He may have 5 years left, maybe more.  It doesn’t seem like enough.  Once again, I am faced with something I cannot control, and I do NOT like it.  Not one little bit.

Yesterday I had a long day.  I left my house at 5:30 am and didn’t get back until after 8:30 pm.  I had a training/ roadshow for work yesterday that was held 3 hours away, then had to play IT person when I got back because internet had been down most of the day and no one knew how to fix it.  I didn’t have a chance to think much at all.  The last week I have also been pushing my feelings down with shopping.  That worked for a little while, and I am definitely more stylish and confident today because of it, but that high finally ended.  Today I am crashing.  I am finally feeling my feelings.  It feels crappy.

I know, I know…  It’s necessary.  We have to sit with bad feelings, give ourselves a chance to mourn for things that are lost, even if they are intangible.  I have to get better about that.  I need to stop avoiding my feelings.  Today they caught up with me, and I’m feeling down.  That’s okay, though.  Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter.  In the meantime, I haven’t forgotten about doing at least one thing for myself.  Today I took the time to write this blog.  I also wore a cute new pair of pants, one of the flirty cardigans from my Mom, a teal, ruffled, lace shirt that I haven’t worn in ages, and these fantastic new shoes.

I hope everyone else is having a good Thursday.  If you have some good news, a funny story, or are having an especially great week so far, I would love to hear about it.  I need a little sunshine today.

Monday Stealing

20 Aug

There’s a lot going on in my head today while, simultaneously, there is nothing going on at all.  Confusing?  Yeah, it is for me, too.  I don’t really have any one particular thing I’m thinking about (not enough to make a coherent blog post, anyway), but I have too much going on to really focus.  Sooo….  I’ve decided to do a fun survey from Sunday Stealing – on a Monday, as was my previous tradition.

Before I start with that, I have a quick update on Buddy (my cocker spaniel).  He definitely has glaucoma.  We visited the ophthalmologist today, who said that his intraocular pressure (IOP) is still elevated.  Normal is about 10.  His was 70 on Thursday and 45 today.  He gave me two more drops to add to his regimen of medicine, and we have another appointment in a week to check everything out again.  Right now he has limited to no vision in his left eye and his optic nerve is damaged, although the doctor said it “isn’t the worst [he’s] ever seen.”  Most likely Buddy will have to get a shot in his left eye to stop fluid production, which will also cause him to lose all sight in his left eye.  Right now our focus is mostly going to be on saving the right eye, unless the next week produces some sort of a miracle.

Now for the silly stuff…

1.  How long have you been blogging?
I actually had to go to my blog and scroll down to the archives to answer this.  I have been blogging since April of this year, more specifically the 9th.  Although it has only been 4 months, sometimes it seems like this is something I should have been doing my entire life.  Blogging really clears my mind and helps me to understand my own thoughts.

2.  Did you go to college?
Yep.  I didn’t do the traditional college-right-after-High-School thing, though.  Lots of people thought I should, and I had grades and SAT scores that had lots and lots of colleges trying to recruit me.  Instead, I decided to travel (more on that below).  I made that decision partially for a really, REALLY dumb reason (teenage “love), but I’m actually glad now that I delayed things.  It allowed me to buy a house, get a fairly good job, and start establishing myself as an independent person.

When I was ready to go to college about 4 or 5 years after high school graduation I still got a full scholarship.  That was thanks in part to my grades and testing but mostly due to my writing and world experience (the scholarship was based largely on the answer to an entrance question about why you want to go to college).  My essay focused on being my own person, figuring out what I want for myself, and going against the grain.  It also talked about my travels and why I felt it was a good time to focus on academics.  Their gamble on me paid off, and I graduated Summa Cum Laude 3 1/2 years later with degrees in Criminal Justice and History.  Too bad I’m not actually using those degrees on a daily basis…  except for the critical thought aspect, which I find to be the most important part.

3.  Where have you traveled?
I traveled a bit with my family growing up because we always took at least one big family vacation.  The one that took me through the most states was a trip from Virginia to Oklahoma and back again, all driven in a large wood-paneled van with no air conditioning.  In August.  With my Mom, Dad, brother and sister.  The whole thing must have taken around 3 weeks.  We traveled through different states on the way there and back, stopping along the way at places like the Kentucky Horse Park where I marveled at Man o’ War‘s statue (on the way there), and the Gateway Archin St. Louis (on the way back).  We also took a car trip up to Maine, where I stayed for the summer with friends of the family.

In High School I got to travel quite a bit with my chorus group.  We went to Branson, MO and Disney (in Florida), but our biggest trip was to London.  That was amazing, and sparked my interest in Europe and history.  After high school I used money I had saved while working during High School to fund a trip all around Europe.  I traveled to 13 countries – England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Monaco, and France.  That was the trip of a lifetime, and I saw and learned more things than I could ever describe.  Unfortunately, I had a film camera back then, so I will have to get some of my photos and scan them in to make them digital so I can share them with everyone. I have also gone to the Bahamas, Cancun, Grand Cayman Island, and Haiti.  Unfortunately, I have yet to visit Canada.

4.  Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Rose from Two and a Half Men.  The actress is named Melanie Lynskey, but no one seems to know that.  I get mistaken for her quite a bit, actually.  I think she is very pretty and quite quirky on the show, which I like a lot, so I take it as a complement.  Also, Mr. Mess should be well-warned that I could have a little streak of crazy in me that might bring me to push a serial-cheating husband in front of a train.  😉

5.  What are your three biggest pet peeves?
 People who are late (so rude!), people who drive without their headlights on at night or in the rain (do you WANT to be hit?), and people with illogical opinions about… well… anything.

6.  What is your favorite movie?
Like potato chips, I can never choose just ONE favorite movie.  I have one for every mood.  Fried Green Tomatoes is probably the closest to my “one” movie.  It is perfect when I want to laugh, cry, or just enjoy a great story-line with wonderful acting.  There are so many fantastic lines.  My favorite of all time?

Cover of "Fried Green Tomatoes (Widescree...

[Evelyn is cut off in a parking lot]
Evelyn Couch: Hey! I was waiting for that spot!
Girl #1: Face it, lady, we’re younger and faster!
[Evelyn rear-ends the other car six times]
Girl #1: What are you *doing*?
Girl #2: Are you *crazy*?
Evelyn Couch: Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.

I also love 28 Days Later if I’m in the mood for something scary or with zombies, 40-Year-Old Virgin or Hitch if I want to snort my beverage through my nose from laughing, House of Glass and Fog or Crash if I’m contemplative or need a good sob, and several others that I could watch again and again.
7.  What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor.  Or Water, Soda, Tea?
Water, water, and more water.  I drink almost 90 ounces of water most days.  I don’t really drink any soda, no tea, absolutely no coffee (gross), and very little alcohol.  I occasionally enjoy a glass of good, sweet white wine.
8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?
Reading.  I rediscovered my love of reading this past weekend on my fishing trip.  Since then I have devoured about 5 books.  I also really enjoy sleeping in and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m pretty boring when I’m doing “me time.”  Sometimes I might leave the house for a massage or pedicure, but relaxing me is almost always at home.
9. What is your biggest phobia?
I don’t really have anything that I would call a “phobia.”  I’m not too keen on the idea of burning to death, but I love fire.  Give me a good campfire and I can be mesmerized for hours, plus the smell of burning wood is one of my favorite scents of all time.  I suppose I’m just a study in contradictions.
10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?
Tell me why I would want to do that….  Nothing really comes to mind immediately, but I do know my Dad used to embarrass me constantly.  He was always the one yelling at the top of his lungs at every softball game.  He also used to look around at the scenery so much while he was driving that we once got pulled by a cop on our way home from church because of how much he was swerving.  That is a funny memory now, but I was mortified back then.
11. What day would you love to relive again? Why?
That’s kinda hard.  There isn’t one particular day that stands out as the one day I would want to live again because it was so fantastic.  I guess I will have to pick a day that I made a mistake that I wish I could undo.  I am keeping the exact day and mistake to myself. 
12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you?
This is a strange one.  Who has ever had this conversation with a friend?  Also, what am I – a mind reader?
13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?
File clerk, J.C. Penney associate, call center staff.
14. Show us a picture from high school or college.
I did just find this horribly grainy, teeny picture of me from a larger, scanned picture of our entire showchoir my freshman year of high school.  Take out your magnifying glass!
15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
On a trip around the world, duh!   Why limit yourself to one location when you can pick everywhere?
16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now?
That is a really random number of years from now…  Let’s see…  I will be one month past my 34th birthday.  I hope that I am happy, healthy, and in a fulfilling marriage with a recovering sex addict who is 8 years sober.  I also hope that I have finally gotten a chance to see Canada!
17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why?
I don’t want to stay one age forever.  I look forward to growing old, changing, maturing, and experiencing every part of life.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick “Middle School”, “High School”, “College”, “Post College” or any format you like.)
I know I have at least 5 songs on my blog thus far.  Click the “Music” category to the right and pick a few.  They are all there because they are part of my life.

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts?
I can’t wait until this election is over so people will finally talk about something else!

Bad News and Continued Birthday Celebrations

17 Aug

The photo above is my dog, Buddy.  He was previously introduced to you all in another post (My Adorable Cocker Spaniel).  That cute, pooped look on his face after a session of tennis ball chasing is a little like how I feel today.  Buddy’s left eye has been really red, and yesterday Mr. Mess took him to the vet.  Unfortunately, we discovered that he has increased intraocular pressure that is pressing on his blood vessels, causing them to be red and inflamed.  It is most likely due to glaucoma.  😦

I didn’t know a lot (okay, really anything) about glaucoma until yesterday.  Now I’m scared.  Glaucoma in dogs and humans is basically the same thing.  In fact, it even uses the same medicine (it felt funny filling a prescription for a dog at a people-pharmacy).  I discovered that glaucoma is caused by increased fluid pressure in the eye, and cocker spaniels are one of the breeds most likely to inherit glaucoma.  According to Wikipedia,

“Glaucoma has been called the ‘silent thief of sight’ because the loss of vision often occurs gradually over a long period of time, and symptoms only occur when the disease is quite advanced.”

Great – now I feel even worse.  If we had somehow been able to catch it earlier, it probably wouldn’t be as bad as it is now.  The scariest part is that there really isn’t a cure.  Again from Wikipedia, “Once lost, vision cannot normally be recovered, so treatment is aimed at preventing further loss.”  The worst-case scenario is that he could lose vision and both of his eyes.  Although only one is affected right now, according to eHow and every other source on the internet:

“…glaucoma can affect one or both eyes, but if a dog has glaucoma in  one eye, the chances are high that the other eye will be affected as well.”

Read more:  Glaucoma in Dogs | eHow.com

I’m going to stop quoting things because I am getting agitated again.  I will just summarize the rest of what I learned last night.  Glaucoma is serious, and possibly the most complicated and expensive disease to treat in dogs.  That, again, is because there is no cure.  We can relieve some of the pressure with eye drops and an ointment, which we have to apply directly to his eyeball, twice per day each with at least 30 minutes in between.

We will be taking him to see a doggy opthamologist (who even knew those existed?) on Monday.  From what I have read, no matter what he will most likely need a surgery.  The type of surgery will depend on how far along things are.  They may be able to open up the drainage area for the fluid, called aqueous humor, to reduce the pressure.  They can also do an “endolaser cyclophotocoagulation” (ECPC) laser surgery if he has enough vision left.  I’m not going to go into the process, but it sounds painful and is definitely expensive.  Other options include removing part or all of his eye and replacing it with an artificial lens or eye.  If he got an artificial lens he still may keep some limited vision.

Buddy is the best pet I have owned in my entire life, and I’ve had quite a few.  I picked him out as a tiny puppy (he peed on my shirt) not long after renting my very first apartment, and have had him ever since.  He is 9 years old now.  He is so sweet, and very gentle.  He loves cuddling (and long walks on the beach LOL).  He actually could be a vegetarian.  He will eat any vegetable, and I mean ANY vegetable, even ones I don’t like.  He is also a bit of a digger (oh well), but mostly to go after the annoying voles in our backyard.  He has these huge paws and an adorable face, and he loves me sooo much.

I know that dogs don’t live forever and pure-breeds usually have health issues, but this kinda hit me out of left field.  He isn’t dying, and they say that dogs adapt very well to not being able to see.  I still wish I could have done something to prevent him from dealing with this.  Apparently glaucoma is very painful, and poor Buddy is probably having migraines.  You just can’t tell when dogs are in pain the same way you can with humans.  He is whining or anything, but he does keep rubbing his eye with his paw.  It makes me sad.

On the other hand, he is probably loving life right now.  He got special food:  wet food that we don’t usually give them, and even people-food (chicken), which he never, ever gets.  He has also been getting tons of treats after eat time we have to put something in his eye.  On top of that, the drops should be working by now to reduce the pressure, so he should be feeling better.  He even got to spend a little time in our bed last night, something I swore to never do.  Pets have always had their own sleeping space and I’ve had mine, but I just wanted to snuggle with him a bit (until he got tired of me and jumped off the bed).  I’m sure he will be fine, I’m just worried for him and for us a bit financially.  I guess it’s good I like to save money so much!

Now for a much lighter topic…  We are finishing up the birthday celebration today.  I made reservations at Morton’s Steakhouse for tonight.  We love going there.  They have the most wonderful steaks, and a fantastic atmosphere.  They always make up special birthday menus and sprinkle confetti all over the table.  We have reserved a booth, which are usually cushy and romantic.  While I’m not feeling especially romantic, I do like to feel special and Morton’s  is definitely good at that.

One of the coolest things, though, is that they are having a special on 2-pound lobsters for $29.99.  Steak and lobster are both on my diet, and my favorite is filet mignon, which they cook to perfection.  It really takes a steakhouse to cook a proper rare steak.  🙂  I’m looking forward to dinner, and there is a special 3-course menu that comes with dessert.  I think I’m going to indulge, and maybe even share a bottle of wine with my husband.  Afterall, I have lost 20 pounds so far and those two pieces of cake on my husband’s birthday didn’t add anything!  I think I deserve a little food therapy tonight.  I will leave you with a picture of my two main men taken a few years back.

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