I mentioned in a post last week that I’d write more about my eye appointment later. It’s been looming over me all weekend, and I realized I was feeling reluctant to put the words on paper (or computer screen….) because I’m having a hard time with what happened at my eye appointment. But it’s time to get this off my chest.
After almost 20 years with diabetes, and worrying every year when this day would come, it finally did: The doctor found a tiny spot of retinopathy in my right eye.
Whew. There. I said it. I put words around the raincloud that’s been on my shoulder since Wednesday afternoon when the doctor leaned back from her chair and the spaceship-steering-wheel-contraption they use to look at the back of your eye and said “you do have a little speck of retinopathy back there. It’s so small that I can’t even classify it as a Stage anything at this point, but you should know its there.”
I’ve always dreaded my annual eye appointmen. More than a foot inspection, more than any A1c, more than any diabetes-related appointment ever. I’ve always had anticipation and anxiety if this would be the time they find that “something.” I’ve wondered that for almost 20 years now, and on Wednesday, “something” had finally arrived. So there’s that.
Now the question is what to do about that. More importantly, how to feel about that. The doctor had her recomendation: “keep doing what you’re doing. Your A1c is great. Work on minimizing fluctuations in your blood sugar.” I get all that. I know I’m doing a good job. In fact I know I’m doing the best I can. In that respect, I feel pretty good about all this. I feel like at least it is only a speck. For now.
But perhaps because you put in so much effort, you want to always come away from these appointments with “nothing” instead of “something,” no matter how small. Even if it is “nothing to worry about” in the words of the doctor, it’s there. It’s that reminder that diabetes is creeping around your body, wreaking havoc, while you are out here in the world trying your damn hardest to stop its evil mission, trying to control everything in your life just keep diabetes ”happy.” That little speck sums up exactly what’s so frustrating about this disease: it doesn’t play fair.
Finding out this information is really about having another choice (as if we didn’t have enough choices to make with diabetes already). The choice is this: let that little speck define me, make me feel like a failure, make me feel like diabetes is winning, make me want to give up on all the hard work I’ve been putting in for 20 years.
Or, I can let it be what it is: Just a little speck. A tiny little dot that has no bearing on who I am as a person, as a warrior against diabetes, as a person who IS trying her hardest and should celebrate that and the fact that she is incredibly healthy despite this little dot of perturbance in one eyeball. It’s one speck. One tiny upset in a lifetime’s worth of wins against diabetes. And that’s all I’m going to let it be.