Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jump Right In...

Sit right down! For real, you might want to be sitting. Because I'm going to tell you all about the last month or so of my life, and it's going to take awhile.

Let's start with a couple of things that happened BEFORE the last month or so, but since my last post (the one about Pepper, not the Pokemon Go post). We adopted a new dog named Penny Lane, who is an adorable, tiny schnauzer mix that I love with all my heart. We've had her for almost a year and a half now. This spring I finally graduated from PSU (huzzah!!) and had a graduation party, which was awesome. I turned 31 and then 32, which isn't as awesome, but definitely not bad. And, um... Yeah, that about covers things.

The last month of my life has been many things. Stressful probably tops the list. For the most part, it started right around August 10th, though I didn't know it at the time. It was hot and humid here in the land of Sconnie, and when you wear glasses in the humidity, a few things happen. One is that your lenses tend to fog up when you step out of the beautiful A/C into the tropic-like moisture that 80% humidity offers. Another is that your glasses slide a lot (yay, sweat) and you're constantly pushing them back to their rightful place. Basically, your glasses end up pretty dirty and smudged. Add two excitable dogs and putting a camera to your face a bunch and you start to assume the world is supposed to look slightly blurred or blobby. At least, I did.

It started with me just thinking my glasses were constantly dirty. And while that was mostly true, I eventually realized that cleaning them wasn't fixing the problem. Things were still... off. By Saturday, August 13th, I knew something was amiss. I was trying to read something and realized that it was taking longer than normal because I was hunting around for the letters. I felt like I could see the words on the page, but I couldn't see the whole word at once. Odd.

I closed my left eye and nothing was wrong. I closed my right eye and holy shit, what happened to the world?! With my left eye alone, bits and pieces of my sight appeared to be missing, which I determined couldn't be a good thing. Maybe my sight has been slowly getting worse and I'm just now realizing it? Yeah, that must be it. So I made an appointment with an optometrist for late September.

Image result for optic neuritis
Image from MS Unites (msunites.com)
As I was explaining things to Hubby, I realized that it wasn't just the sight itself. Colors were muted and things looked faded or dulled. I went back online and found an earlier appointment; I wasn't going to wait for this to get worse before I did something. In fact, I almost had Hubby take me to urgent care or the ER because I was terrified that I was experiencing retinal detachment. But then I finally searched for the color loss and found Optic Neuritis (ON), which seemed to fit what I was experiencing. So I calmed my tits and we waited for the appointment.

On the 17th, Hubby and I went to the optometrist. While I can still technically see with that eye (in fact, my prescription only changed by the smallest amount it possibly can), she said my symptoms sounded like an optic nerve issue. She referred me to an ophthalmologist and said she'd call the clinic to get me in sooner rather than later. Someone from the clinic called me the next morning and we scheduled an appointment for Friday afternoon.

In the meantime, I had plenty of time to research ON. Inflammation of the optic nerve. Usually affects just one eye. Color loss can occur. Typically resolves on its own in a few months (ugh, months?). Strongly associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

Wait, what? Back that up a minute, please. MS? No, no. That can't be right... Can it?

The more I read about the relationship between ON and MS, the more I was looking for something else - ANYTHING else - it could be. (An ocular migraine, maybe? Or Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension? That one affects overweight women of child-bearing age - that description fits me to a T! Could that be it?) Unfortunately, the more I read about ON, the more it sounded spot on, and the more anxious I got. I tried to reassure myself by going over the symptoms of MS (none of which I had, save ON) and by reading about isolated occurrences of ON. But the seed had been planted, and I was just pouring on the water and fertilizer. I was terrified I had MS.
Image result for optic neuritis
I actually missed numbers for the 1st time in my life.

Hubby was (very fortunately) able to accompany me to my appointment. I don't know what I'd have done if he wasn't there, so I'm just glad he was. After a few quick tests, those awful eye drops that turn your eyes yellow (which Hubby hadn't seen before), and some "pictures" of my optic nerve, it all came down to one conclusion: I had ON. I had correctly self-diagnosed.

I'll save the rest for later. Stay tuned.

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