The Eyes Have It

I had my ‘annual’ eye exam yesterday. I say ‘annual’ because this is my first annual exam (I had one last year in September as well) in many, many years. Clearly my tumor wasn’t affecting my vision last year because my doctor declared my eyes healthy and remarked on how well I was doing fending off the inevitable post-40 need for reading glasses. A month later I was in the hospital having a craniotomy to remove a 3.5 cm malignant tumor.

I got glasses when I was in the 2nd grade. I remember going to the optometrist, having an exam, and being excited to pick out new glasses. I apparently wanted to be like my big brother SO much that I picked out glasses just like his – plastic, aviator style (i.e. hideous). Bless my mom for letting me pick the ones I wanted. It made the process so much more fun and it was a sure-fire way to get me to wear them. Plastic, aviator style glasses were not the most flattering look for a 7-year-old girl, but I loved them, just like I loved my big brother.

Getting glasses in the 70’s and 80’s meant some interesting looks – not only aviator frames, but GIANT round/squarish frames with curved bows that filled half of my face. I was stylin’ at the time, but I’ve hidden the pictures and will not share them with you – don’t even ask. Ok…I’ll think about it.  I got contacts when I was 16 and only had glasses as a back up. I don’t remember any of them because I wore them as little as possible.

Eventually, my eyes started to get irritated by contacts and I couldn’t wear them anymore.  Faced with a life with glasses again, I ended up getting Lasik (laser eye surgery). I remember waking up the day after surgery and seeing perfectly. I hadn’t woken up and seen clearly without glasses in 24 years at that point. It was pretty amazing.

Yesterday at my eye appointment, I was told my vision is starting to deteriorate a little more – because I’m 44, not because I have brain cancer. Not bad enough to do anything about it unless I’m feeling severe eye strain – which I’m not (yet).

So, here’s why I bring up my eyeballs…during the discussion with my optometrist, he explained that I’d likely need to do something within the next few years to help me see better. My options when that time comes are to get glasses (again) or go back in for Lasik. I sat there as he explained my future options and thought to myself, “In a ‘few’ years, I may not be alive to worry about it.” These are the thoughts that those of us with brain cancer have even on our most positive days, reminders of our mortality pop into our heads without warning. They’re fleeting and we’ll quickly go back to living our lives filled with hope and positive energy, but it’s another example of that damn beast hanging over us, watching…waiting.

When the time comes and my vision shows my age, I’ll be thrilled to wear glasses. I’d be happy wear those hideous (but totally cool in the 80’s) glasses of my youth. I’d even be willing to add in braces, headgear and acne. I’ll do it with pride, because I’ll be alive.

Notice the ratio of glasses to face area and the feeble attempt at Farrah feathers. Very 80's.

Notice the ratio of glasses to face area and the feeble attempt at Farrah feathers. Very 80’s.

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