What they found: a “cotton wool spot along the vascular arcade superior temporal in the right eye.”
What that is: a swelling of the surface layer of the retina, when a part of the eye isn’t provided with enough oxygen due to a damaged blood vessel.
What They said: “Don’t get worked up about it. It could have been there last year when your eyes were dilated and it was too small to see. Or it could have come up in the past few months. Either way, it may repair itself on its own. Don’t worry too much. Just keep your blood sugars in control. And do not go online and check it out – that will just make you worry too much. Keep your sugars down as much as possible. And cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week. We’ll re-dilate in September.”
What I did: Felt really surprised. Replaced by a hollow fear. I’ve never had anyone even allude to a diabetic complication before. My eyes had been fine, my feet are fine, my blood work and urine microalbumin are always fine. I don’t have gastroparesis. Or nerve damage. Or anything.
So when the doctor said that there was a slight problem with my right eye, it filled with tears. The left one did, too. I blotted my eyes with a tissue, blaming the leaking on the bright light the doctor had just shined in my eyes. She told me to sit in the waiting room for a few minutes while my eyes readjusted to the office lighting and, in the meantime, she would develop the pictures of my retina and the cotton wool spot.
I didn’t tell my mom until today. I didn’t want her to worry. I told my friend that night, and I told The Boy after the appointment was over. I don’t want people to worry. “I’m fine… don’t worry, I’m fine.” I assert, just as much for my benefit as for theirs. I don’t want to worry, either.
I’m not sure what else to write about it because I’m still not sure what to think. I don’t think I’ll be blind in the morning. But I don’t know what to think. I want to go to the gym. I want to keep my blood sugars in tight control and my mind in a state as close to Relaxed as possible. There are so many things I feel I haven’t done yet. I want a career. I want a good relationship filled with laughter. I want a beautiful child. I want to be a healthy twenty-six year old girl with a limitless future.
He made me feel better, though. In the middle of the night, as my troubled mind whirled a mix of thoughts, I told him I was scared. And he said it would be okay. I asked how he knew.
He responded with a tightened arm around my shoulders. “I don’t know.”
And the honesty of that statement made my feelings of anxiety and fear subside. I have no idea how it will be okay. I have no idea what may lie ahead … if the next dilation will reveal more of these spots, or if a few months of very careful control will keep its progression at bay. If this is the beginning of a long road of complications or the proverbial wake up call. I have no idea. How it will be okay, I am not sure.
But it will be.
(…and of course I went online and scared myself silly by looking up “cotton wool spot” and cross referencing “diabetes.” Listen to doctors when they say “Don’t look it up online.” They are absolutely right. And I am absolutely retarded for doing it. I had to immediately Google “Volkswagen” and “diabetes” in effort to calm down a little bit. I came across a website that made me laugh. Click on this messof a site, scroll down to the chaos titled “ROLLS-ROYCES AND VOLKSWAGENS” and keep in mind that I drive a little 1996 VW…)