If I knew one thing for sure, my vision was not normal. Now, I’ve never had normal vision in my lifetime, but this change in my vision was not typical even for my case. Everything was overly bright around me, and at the corner of my eye, I saw a distorted, shimmery spot that moved as my eyes tracked back and forth. I comforted myself with the assurance that I wasn’t seeing floaters or bright flashes of light; those symptoms would have denoted something really serious. But even so, I was concerned because it just didn’t seem right.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m not the most positive when it comes to unexpected situations like this. I immediately went to the worst case scenarios. What if it was my glaucoma pressure, sky-rocketing out of control at very high levels? What if I had a torn retina or my retina was even detached? I would surely lose my vsion. What would I do then?
Now, I’ve faced allergies, lost my voice, and had trouble breathing. All of that was terrifying and brought a great deal of stress. At times, I wondered how I would react should I ever be faced with losing my vision. I would often think that surely I could handle such an ordeal. I had already gone through most of my life with limited vision, so I figured I would have no trouble adapting to any change in my sight. But as I contemplated the worst case scenario, I found myself back-tracking. No, I couldn’t lose my vision! That would be the worst thing that could happen! I didn’t want to lose my independence. I had come too far to be forced to start all over again.
I had to go to the doctor to konw what I was up against. I made an emergency appointment with my glaucoma doctor and was soon on my way to Mayo. Upon examing my eyes, the doctor concluded that he had found nothing significant; there was no obvious reason why my eye was distorted in vision and so light sensitive. He concluded that perhaps I had dry-eye and needed to take some drops to alleviate my symptoms.
“What?!” I thought to myself. “I came all this way for you to tell me I just have dry-eye? You mean to tell me that there’s nothing more serious going on? Check again! Surely you’ll find something you didn’t catch before!”
Of course, I didn’t say any of this out loud, but my thoughts were out of control. Instead of hearing the good news from the doctor that there was nothing serious going on, I instead focused on the negative. The symptoms were still there and I had no relief. It was hard for me to contemplate leaving the exam room without getting a clear answer. “You have severe dry-eye” was not good enough for me; I wanted something more definitive.
To my horror, I felt the tears building up at the back of my eyes, and I held my breath to stave off the storm of emotion I know was bubbling up inside of me. My mother was in the exam room with me, and she asked if I was okay. I tried to talk but no sound came out. Instead, I gasped— the sudden intake of air causing me to convulse in full-fledged panic. My breathing was rapid and irregular, punctuated by painful gasps that made me jerk almost involentarily. I was a wreck, and the doctor, the tech, and my mother could see that. To set my mind at ease, they scheduled me for an ultrasound, hoping that the results would prove there was nothing going on in my eye that would warrant concern.
In the waiting room, my parents and sister tried to calm me down. But nothing they said seemed to resonate with me. My dad tried to console me with the realization that maybe my sensitivity to light was a sign that God was healing me and enhancing my vision. I refused to believe that. Why would healing be so painful and uncomfortable? I didn’t doubt that God could heal me, but I questioned how I could deserve such a miraculous outcome. Again, I was focusing on the negative and not the positive. Deep down, I just knew they were going to find something terrible from that ultrasound. I was probably going to lose my vision and that would be that.
But God wasn’t going to give up on me. The ultrasound found nothing abnormal in my eye, and the doctors did their best to reassure me that I was fine. They encouraged me to pursue the dry-eye diagnosis and take the drops to see if that would make a difference.
Over the next few days, I tried to stay positive— to have a vertical mind-set of God at work instead of the negative worst-case-scenario attitude. It wasn’t easy, but my family was there with me every step of the way. Instead of going home to an empty apartment after the tests at Mayo, I traveled to my parents’ house to stay for a few days. All of my sisters were there and we had a chance to reconnect. One sister had been with me at the clinic, and I was grateful to her for her jokes and silly comments that distracted me and made me laugh. Another sister and I sat together at the piano and worked on a song I had been writing. Yet another sister patiently worked with me to order a new purse at a house party that she hosted during my visit. My parents, too, were supportive and patient with me— letting me cry out the fear and worry and then letting me crash their couples outing to the Olive Garden on Saturday evening. The time with family was just what I needed to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the aspects of life that I couldn’t control.
Today, my vision is still not back to normal, but it is improving somewhat. I am continually reminded of the weekend with my family, and their postive perspective is helping to motivate me forward as I return to my regular routine. Whenever I begin to dwell in negativity, I stop and say a quick prayer and lift my light-sensitive eyes up to Jesus and ask Him for peace for the moment. And then I smile when I think of my niece’s funny antics or my sister’s jokes at the clinic. It is then that I realize that a vertical perspective is better and dispels the fear. Although it might be difficult to always be positive, the vertical mindset is one I will choose to pursue in the coming weeks.

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