better sooner than later

It has been exactly 3 weeks since I was last able to work. Honestly, it feels much longer than that because getting through each day has been such a struggle. But despite the unfortunate nature of this experience, I’ve been pretty lucky that things have been happening unbelievably quickly for me. Like Ann said, hopefully this luck will stay with me and things will turn out okay.

So far, I’ve been pretty happy with the medical attention I’ve received. My optometrist, Dr. Craig Millar, was REALLY good (it was actually my first time seeing him). He was very patient and thorough with my examination, and even asked me do two extra tests to verify his observations. Not only did I not have to pay for those two extra tests, I ended up getting a refund of $70 for my eye examination because OHIP covered my case.

My family physician, Dr. James Leung, then reviewed my report from the optometrist and decided to schedule an urgent appointment for me with a neurologist. He reiterated that an appointment with any specialist these days can be anywhere from a 2-week to a 2-month wait. Well, Dr. Leung sure worked his magic because 5 days later, I was seeing the neurologist.

Now, Dr. Leung warned me about this neurologist. He said there are two things you must know about Dr. Kester Kong: 1) you CAN NOT be late, and 2) don’t ask too many questions. So I looked him up on www.rateMDs.com and out of 7 comments, 5 were negative. By the time I arrived at his office, I was quite skeptical about the doctor. Then to top it off, an old man who was waiting beside me said Dr. Kong is very mean. You can imagine what I was thinking at the time.

When I finally met Dr. Kong though, he didn’t turn out to be half as bad as what I had heard. He joked with me and we even talked about books. He is a very fast person who talks fast and moves fast; I can see how he’d be impatient with some older people who ask endless amounts of stupid questions. But he was thorough in explaining to me what was happening and he made sure to explain it in a way that I can understand. We seemed to get along. He said he would put in an urgent MRI request for me and that he would make sure I get it done within the month (note: MRI appointments tend to have a month or two waiting period). Again, I was very lucky and I got my first MRI done a week and a half later.

The doctors have gotten me this far in 3 weeks time. There’s not much more I can do right now other than wait for the results. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research (*typical virgo here!) and I know how minor AND serious this condition may be. It could be as serious as having a tumor in my head that’s putting pressure on the sixth nerve or it can be idiopathic and it’ll go away eventually without us ever knowing what caused it. Not knowing is frightening. Good or bad, I just want to know. And I’d much rather know sooner than later.

day 13 and i’m still seeing double

I was in for my blood test results this past Friday. To my surprise, the reports showed that I am quite healthy; I was kind of expecting to maybe have some deficiencies (or maybe I was just really hoping to find the cause of this problem so I can stop wondering what it is). I was also pleasantly surprised to learn I have successfully lowered my LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to a near optimal level and have maintained a high level of HDL (good cholesterol). At least I’ve been doing SOMETHING right :)

The good news is I’m healthy internally, as far as my body goes. But that also means the root of my problem is inside my head. I’m a bit more afraid of that because the head is such a complicated structure. According to my neurologist, there are basically two possibilities: 1) there is something (that shouldn’t be there) putting pressure on the nerve, or 2) there is just something wrong with the nerve that will naturally resolve within time. An MRI is the only way to see what is going on inside my head, and I’ve been very lucky to get an appointment for this coming Friday. I should be able to have a more definite answer two weeks after that.

The uncertainty of what lies ahead is frightening, but I’m doing my best not to think about it too much. Just taking it a day at a time. I think the most painful part to this disruption of vision is being isolated from the world. For someone like me who is always working and always out dining with friends, going to the gym or just doing something, being forced to do absolutely nothing feels like punishment. Everyday I long to be able to go outside, but it is incredibly hard for me to do it when I can’t see properly. And so my only avenue to keeping in touch with the rest of the world is…well, online. [In case you're wondering how I'm able to type, the trick is covering one eye. But I can't do that for too long otherwise it strains my functioning eye. I pretty much use this trick whenever I really need to see what I'm doing.]

Sincere thanks to Danny for stopping by last night with this yummy cheesecake. He should be very proud to know he contributed to my daily servings of fruit :p

take a look at this beautiful world…for me

4 years ago, there was a time when I lost my vision. It was just temporarily, a mere 20 minutes or so, but to me it felt like eternity. I guess I should have taken that as a warning. My body tried talking to me, but I didn’t listen. And now, this is what my world looks like.

It happened very suddenly. Like most people, I had never heard about this condition before. It is called a “6th cranial nerve palsy”. Basically, it is a dysfunction of a nerve in the brain that affects the muscle surrounding the eye, preventing the eye to move horizontally as it should. In other words, my left eye can’t really move. This causes an onset of double vision [medical term: diplopia] because the eyes are no longer aligned properly.

Many people have asked how I am doing and are concerned. As far as I know, this is not a life-threatening condition. However, I have yet to confirm it is not caused by other minor/serious health issues. I want to thank everyone for their well wishes via Facebook comments, messages, emails, tweets, texts, and phone calls. I cannot express just how much this all means to me right now. I ensure you, I will keep everyone posted and will do my best to remain positive.

My message here today is simple: Cherish what you have now and don’t take the little things in life for granted. The little things such as your vision. Often times we neglect the things that come to us naturally and take for granted what we are born with, let it be our motor skills or our family. I hope this experience inspires myself and others to become more appreciative of life.

Turn around and take one look at this world, at the beautiful people around you, and just be thankful you are alive.