Yesterday, I turned the page on a chapter of my life that, although painful, stressful, and scary, taught me so much about my incredible "Me". Three and half year after I was diagnosed with 6th-nerve palsy, and almost three years to the day that I started rehabilitation, I am finally cured, and my left eye is back to normal. And I am in awe at the strength and resilience of the human body.
It began in the August of 2007 when I started to experience daily headaches. In early September, I had made an appointment to see my doctor and on my way there, in the car, I started seeing double. I pulled over and realized then that this was more than simple headaches. My doctor perplexed, sent me to the hospital where Iwas given very powerful drugs. The docs were thinking the headache was causing the double vision. When the headache was gone and the double vision remained, the look on their face said it all. They said "Cat-Scan" and I realized they thought something was wrong with my brain. I immediately thought brain-tumour and spent the next few hours being more scared than I had ever been before. Thankfully, the cat-scan showed nothing and I was extremely relieved. They sent me home, not knowing what else to do. I went back a day later, when my left eye froze and wouldn't move from the middle of the eye to the outer corner. I could move it from the middle inward, but not outward. Once back in emergency, I had an MRI, which showed nothing again thankfully. I was diagnosed with 6th nerve palsy then but the cause wasn't known yet. Eventually, I received a spinal tap, and the resident in my care, said "you have pressure in your brain." He said the spinal tap showed intracranial pressure, and that extra pressure caused the optic nerve to compress, which caused the 6th nerve palsy. He was thrilled, gave me so pills and told me, you'll be good in a few days.
|Soon after the diagnosis. My left eye, which is on the right side, froze and pulled inward.|
The diagnosis of idiopathic causes, though good news in the sense that it wasn't any of the big, serious diseases, still left me unsettled. There is a part of me that wants to know why it happened, because maybe if understood why it happened, I could prevent it in from happening again in the future. I've learned since then that I don't have such power, nor much control and I just have to accept that. I have a theory that the palsy was caused by a medication I was on, but the gods of medicine have ignored my theory.
Living with the 6th-nerve palsy was difficult in the beginning. I had to wear an eye-patch so I could see in single vision only. Seeing double all the time is disorienting and disabilitating and my double vision was so severe that only the eye patch made me able to function. I had to learn to drive with the eye patch as well.
|My first eye patch was a simple gauze taped over the eye|
|The next generation eye patch (or ipatch 2...that would be catchy wouldn't it?!)|
In November 2007, two months after my eye froze, it started moving again. Slowly at first, and then normally. Hope swelled in my chest when my eye started moving again. I was still seeing double, but my eye was moving and this was the first sign that maybe I could heal.
In May of 2009, I went to see an optometrist about doing some eye rehabilitation. From that first appointment, my healing took another step forward. I was given some prism glasses which would slowly train my eye muscles to work together again. The eyes are supposed to move together in exactly the same way in order to have single vision. If there is a slight deviation, double vision occurs. My deviation was huge. Thankfully, technology has allowed for the creation of film prisms that just stick to the glasses, a much better alternative to the coke-bottle look.
|The prism glasses. You can see vertical lines on the glass, one for each prism.|
I have a deeper appreciation of health, a better perspective of how lucky "normal" really is, and how quickly one can get from "normal" to life-changing and debilitating. I am one of the lucky ones, because I've been given a second chance. I was given the gift of healing. I could just as quickly have been given the other diagnosis, the permanent one, the other side of the coin that doesn't heal. When I start feeling sorry for myself, I remember that perspective. And I smarten up and count my blessings.
Take good care of your "Me" today, and be grateful for all that it is right now, in this very moment. Your "Me" is worthy of being celebrated, yet we often neglect it. Try and spend a moment each day to appreciate the gift of life, the gift of health, the gift of simply being "Me".
What will you do for your "Me" today?