Born A Cyclops
Yep, I was born blind in my right eye. No one even noticed until I was 10...I was just thought to be a lil clumsy. I remember when I was 2 or 3 asking dad why I couldn't see out of that eye and he didn't understand the question. He replied that everyone has a master eye...one eye that you see better out of thatn the other. In my 3 year old mind that made sense and that was that...my left eye was my master eye :)
Then when I was 10 some friends of my parents became a little concerned with how my clumsiness only ever happened on my right side so they determined to find out just how bad my vision was in the right eye. They first had me cover my right eye and read an eye chart. Better than perfect vision there. Then they had me cover the right eye and asked what I could see. "Nothing" I said. They asked "What do you mean ' Nothing'???". "I mean Nothing. I told you, that's not my master eye...I can't see from it."
Thatswhen I found out the difference between a blind eye and one with limited vision :D
My parents rushed my from specialist to specialist and not one had any idea what they were looking at. Apparently the retina was in 10s of thousands of micro-fragments.
When I was 12 a massive cataract grew in there and colored the pupil whitish gray, but since it was a useless eye anyway, we just left it.
Everything was fine for many years after and the lack of depth perception didn't ever pose any problems for me....with the exception of being able to catch a baseball. Even so, I could still play well enough to play for the Dodgers :p lol
Then one bright sunny morning in June of '02 I looked in the mirror and noticed my right pupil was an odd shape. As I studied it the pupil when back to a rounded shape so I decided not to worry about it. The next day It was odd again, and this time it didn't go back quite so easily. A week later it began to hurt a bit so I went to see a doctor about it. The ophthalmologist I saw first took a look…and then another look…and finally asked if I would mind if he got a specialist colleague to take a look as he had no idea what he was looking at. A few minutes later an ophthalmic surgeon came in, take a look and almost immediately knew what it was. For the life of me I can’t remember the diagnosis name, just that it was extremely rare (I’m like #5 or #6 in medical history) and meant that the eye was falling apart for no known reason. The fibers that hold the lens in place were breaking, the inner tissues were dissolving and the eye was no longer producing enough fluid to hold its shape.
We started with steroid drops and a vicoden prescription. A few weeks later it was apparent that this wasn’t working so we started on a few other treatment eye drops and bumped the pain meds up to norcos. Another few weeks go by and still no progress…in fact it was getting worse. We started with still more drops and a higher level of norco. August rolls around and by now the pain is indescribable…sorta like having a red hot knife stuck in it twisting around all day. The kidney stone I had last year ranks as a distant second in the pain index. To top it off, my good eye was starting to do sympathy pain in the form of extreme light sensitivity…I had to wear sunglasses that were almost dark enough to weld with in order to watch TV and I couldn’t go outside at all, not even at night due to headlights and streetlights. At this point I was taking 6 to 8 norco per day, washing down the pain pills with liquor, and getting VERY stoned on pot all day just to keep the pain down to a mildly intolerable level.
Finally in September the doctor says there is nothing more that can be done to save the eye. The choices were to live with the pain (yeah right!), remove the eye completely, or perform an evisceration…the latter of which was the recommended course of action. I went with the evisceration.
I hadn’t been working in months, so I was broke and had no insurance. I thank the Gods for my girlfriend at the time…she was very supportive and without her I really don’t know what would have happened. The doctor was amazing as well. He donated his time, rounded up a surgery staff who all donated their time and got a surgery room donated to the cause as well. I’m still in awe of all that being done for me.
One of the great things to come out of this was that during the physical I had to have before the surgery another doctor found a spot on my back that looked menacing. She removed it and had a biopsy done. Turns out that it was a pre-cancerous melanoma growth that was about 2 months from being full blown cancer…they caught it just in time!
So, 8 years later now and all is well. I still haven’t have a glass eye made for it yet, but that is something I have decided to save up and do this year. I’m still researching the doctors that do it, but I just met someone else who went through something similar and was given the name of a doctor in the LA area that does amazing work…I couldn’t even tell it was a glass eye after it was pointed out! It tracks with the other eye and looks identical. I’ll probably go to him in a few months :)
So, that’s my story…a little long, I know. To those of you that read all the way to here, Thank you! :)