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Vitreous Humour.

"Do you want to see your retinas?"

Who can resist that question?  

"Yes.  I totally do."

They look like giant, back-lit pumpkins on the screen, and for a few seconds, I forget those pumpkins are actually my eyeballs, photographed just seconds prior. 

"So these are the veins," he traced the photo with the computer's magnifying glass.  "And these are the arteries.  This part here is the optic nerve.  And this is your macula."

(The macula looks a lot like a weird eyeball nipple.  But this is a thought I kept to myself, for awkwardnesses sake.)

"And this web-looking part is where those cotton wool spots are.  And this light area, right near the macula?  That's the spot everyone watched during your pregnancy."

"So that's my c-section spot, right?  The one that determined how I delivered?"

"Exactly."

I paused, not sure how to ask my next question without it sounding too loaded.  "So do my eyes look like they belong to a diabetic?"

"No.  Twenty-something years with type 1?  These eyes look great.  And I'm happy to see that everything looks old ... none of these issues are new, and none of these bleeds are fresh.  I'm looking at an eye that is continuing to heal.  But if it came to determining whether or not you'd want to change medication levels for your blood pressure meds, or if you wanted to have another baby, that's a discussion for your team at Joslin.  I'm forwarding all of this information on to them this afternoon."

Eyeball casserole.  First phrase I thought of, and I'm sticking with it.

I forget sometimes how delicate the eye is.  I think about it briefly every night before I go to bed when I put that ointment in my eye to protect my cornea from reissuing a tear (thank you, Birdy thumb nail), but I forget how many small, spidery blood vessels are mapped out in my eye.  I don't often think about how the placement of one, small hemorrhage in my eye determined how my child was brought into the world.  Seeing a photograph of a giant, delicate looking balloon is one thing, until I remember that orb is in my head, and its safety determines so much of my quality of life. 

I don't have perfect eyes, and I know this.  My diabetes complication isn't one you can see, but it's one that I closely monitor and take very seriously.  It's part of what fuels me to test my blood sugar in the morning, even before firing up the coffee machine.  It's part of what makes me tie the laces on my (albeit horrendously ugly) running sneakers every day and get my body moving.  And it's part of what makes me, after twenty-six years with a disease that takes and takes and takes, constantly motivated to move forward and keep it as much at bay as I can manage. 

... and now some vitreous humour.  (My personal favorite?  Question: What do you call a fish with no eyes? Answer: A fsh)

Comments

Glad to hear all is Eye-K, and that you're seeing good eye health. And moving full speed eye-head after 26 years with D. Um, OK... I'm taking my lameness somewhere else - preferably a place with a coffee pot. (To which you reply: Eye Eye, captain.)

I have had type 1 for almost 19 years now, and been blessed with great eyes....until I apparently had a weird macular bleed happen 2 weeks ago. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be diabetes related, and hopefully is just a 1 time thing, but we'll see! (ha, ha) I still can see the image of the clotted blood (eww) in my field of vision, but it's small and we're hoping it will disperse/heal on it's own. Gooooooo eyeballs!!

I hate having my eyes dilated but I know it is so important. Glad to hear such good news Kerri! Go Eyes!

Thanks for posting this. Caring for my guy, who has been at this for 5 years, tends to usually be all about the moment. Those complications people talk about seem so futuristic. Plus, my Pollyanna side always justifies "that can't happen to MY guy." But seeing it here in print and coming from someone I trust, fuels my fire to care for him even better too! Thanks for the swift kick in the ass!

Your horrible fsh joke reminded me of this one. What is this? ld

The i-less lid (Horrible, horrible Lord of the Rings joke)!

The first dilated eye exam I had after my diabetes diagnosis was somewhat unsettling. After the exam the doc said “good news, no retinopathy”, but he had his hand on my knee. Then he said “but you have Fuchs dystrophy”. I think the next several sentences had a lot of information but all I heard was “blind, blah, blah, blah, genetic, blah, blah, and blah”. It took me a few days to work up the nerve to look up the information. Fuchs Dystrophy, genetic, autosomal dominant with a 50% transmission rate. One of my parents would have to have been a carrier for me to have this. Half of my six siblings may have this. My daughter may have this. Oy. I can not conjure one blind relative past or present. I think he’s wrong. At my next endo appointment my doc exclaims “What the heck is that, I never heard of it, we want a 2nd opinion”. The 2nd opinion was the same as the first. I said to him “six of one, half dozen of another, you go blind or you go blind”. “Oh no, no” says he, your corneas go, we can give you new ones, wreck the retina and you are out of luck” So, we have to keep those retinas healthy.
My corneas that were doing so well for several years are fading faster now. At last year’s appointment he said “maybe next year”. Oh boy, new eyeballs!

I happen to have some of the WORST vision (that is, thankfully, correctable to something a drop better than 20/20). AND I have floaters! At least my eye problems aren't blood sugar related! But why does everything about my body have to be special? I hate getting my eyes dilated...

after 26 yrs., great news !
eye ad-m-eye-er you

I'm amazed that you could see the eyeball photos. When I get the photos done I feel like all I can see is that giant circular flash for 30 minutes! I'm usually walking into walls on my way out!

God bless you and thanks so much for what you do...for yourself, and for us!

Yay! My eye doc also compliments my eyes when I see him! It feels so amazing to hear a doc say - you're eyes are in amazing condition for someone who has had diabetes for 29 years!! So great to hear especially when for so many years growing up we were warned about all the bad things that happen with D...
And even now we usually hear from our team that we can be doing better.
I asked my eye doc how often people actually go blind now due to complications from D and he said not many, that he could count on one hand how many patients he's had that are. And it's not because he has a lack of patients either - he is one of the top eye docs Toronto.
Good eye news all around today!
Time rest them now!

Thank you for posting this. I always am nervous before any exam including eye exams, because I am always afraid to hear bad news as to what kind of damage the diabetes has caused. But it's always a great reminder as to why we work so hard!

Hi Kerri,
Glad to hear your eyes are ok. Thanks for the Joke in the morning.
Have a good one.

Hi Kerri,
Here is a suggesion. Ask the eye doctor for an AMSLER GRID. The idea is to focus on the grid with each eye individually and together. Any detected movement or change in shape of the grid lines is a sign that something is up. As we "mature" there are other factors that can come into play. As always have a great day.
Dan

So glad to hear it, Kerri!

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