O Lord, you are my lamp.
The Lord lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
Some things you learn by experience, others by trial and error, and some through education. My hope is that this post will be both helpful and encouraging to you.
Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This was not a surprise since both of my parents had suffered with it — my mother had the wet and my father, the dry. My initial diagnosis was the dry kind for which there is no treatment other than vitamins containing Lutein and regular check-ups.
Early last year, my opthamologist announced, at the end of his annual examination, that I would not be driving in five years. What a blow! I drove to a nearby mall, sat on the first bench I found, and wept.
A few days later, I mentioned my distress during an appointment with my primary care doctor and she suggested I get a second opinion with a retina specialist at University Medical Center. My exam with the new doctor confirmed that I have AMD but he didn’t think it was a dire as predicted. Thank you, God.
Life, with its broken foot and respiratory illness, kept me inside most of the winter. However, when I started driving again, my vision just seemed to be off. I thought I needed a change in contacts. However, when I got home, I checked the Amsler Grid and instead of straight vertical and horizontal lines, they were all wound tightly in a circle. Of course, it was a Saturday, but Monday morning I headed to the doctor.
After a battery of tests, he reported that my left eye had changed from dry AMD to wet. I realized I had been holding my breath and when he paused, I burst into tears. This time, however, I knew a little something about the wet — it was treatable. My mother had been part of the clinical trials for Lucentis, a solution that is injected directly into the eye that closes the leaking blood vessels and restores the vision.
So began a series of three injections from February to May. A vision check revealed that my eyesight was back to normal and I could finally get a new prescription and glasses that would work.
Or so I thought. When the glasses arrived, I still couldn’t see well. The refraction was redone and a few changes made. More waiting.
During this time, we flew to California for Kate’s graduation. I noticed that a blackened area had developed in my line of vision and when I checked the Amsler Grip, it was distorted. I knew we had a problem.
The morning after we returned, I was again at the doctor’s office. Same tests. Same result—fluid was back in my left eye. Same treatment.
There are a couple of schools of thought on this problem. Some doctors automatically give an injection every month. My doctor is of the mind to give a series, check, and then hope that the eye will heal itself. We will see. (no pun intended.)
The new glasses arrived and the vision is still distorted but the doctor assures me it will get better and the optometrist is going to work with me to find the right prescription.
I’m usually a pretty optimistic person but this has all been very difficult. I watched my dad suffer to the end with near blindness. My mom died soon after completing the trials and never really enjoyed the better vision. The loss of independence is my greatest fear.
But God. He is so faithful to supply just the people and encouragement that I need each day. I had the right doctor to call when I needed it. I have a dear friend who has spent her entire career teaching newly blind adults. She assures me that I can do it.
I ran across Jennifer Rothschild on Facebook and am reading her book, God is Just Not Fair, Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense. An eye disease rendered Jennifer blind at the age of 16. Yet, she lives a full life as a speaker, writer, singer, wife, mother. She writes honestly about her frustration and weariness of blindness but her encouragement speaks to my heart.
My family and friends are with me every step of the way.
And in the end, I have hope when I read, “O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.” He is there and this is part of His plan. I will trust that His way is best.