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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All the Best News...and Pictures as Proof of how Random my Life is...

**Since none of the pictures I'm putting on here really relate to what's in the blog, I'm putting them at the top. Basically, they are snapshots (mostly from my phone) of my life as of late.**

<3 Pictures <3
1) What my book club meetings (SCI) look like via Skype--when somebody is talking, their box glows.
2) One of the 3 homemade pizzas I made with my Mom the other day--this one is Canadian Bacon and Pineapple--YUM!
3) This is what happens when my Mom and I shop for anything remotely serious... we turn into little kids.
4) Sunset outside of my work when I went in to help out one night on my day off (I typically work days and love it).
5) Fortunes from lunch at Mandarin Garden while in Atlanta shopping for Jamie's wedding dress. The top is Jamie's, the middle is Karen's, and mine is on the bottom.
6) An invention of Bill's at work: A Frozey Palmer--or a frozen Arnold Palmer (which, to those who sadly don't know, is sweet tea and lemonade). There is also the BFrozey Palmer, which has blackberry in it. They are stupidly good.
7) My mom found this picture as she was cleaning out the office at home. It is from a football game when she was at Ole Miss--and probably the coolest thing I've ever seen. So proud of my mom, and forever grateful that I could follow in her footsteps to Ole Miss. Plus, she's in the paper for being at a game--why didn't I ever get that deal?!

As per usual, it's been a little while since I posted a blog. I blame the fact that work has been busy (and fun!), but also because I haven't thought anything in my life has been too terribly interesting, at least not enough to write about. Turns out, once things started to get interesting again, I looked back and realized the sequence of events leading up to the interesting parts were actually kind of blog worthy themselves. So...sit back and prepare for a long I'm totally NOT going to write one, just you wait and see.

My last post was on July 19th, so it's just three days shy of a month since I last updated the world about my life. I'm just going to have to start from my sweet news in the past few days, and work backwards if I feel extra information is needed. First, Rachael had her baby, Eli Thomas Cade, on August 11th. He is completely and totally adorable, and I'm in love with his name. Obviously, I've only seen pictures (they live many, many miles away from me), but I can tell he is going to be such a precious child--and totally a little stinker! Rachael and Matt's personalities--fun, loud, opinionated and the life of pretty much every party--couldn't possibly produce an uncool child. I'm so happy that Rachael and I are on speaking terms again--it's not even that we ever weren't, but we're both stubborn so we just didn't talk for a while. When I heard she was pregnant, my joy for her negated any stubbornness I cared to possess. Though we haven't spoken on the phone (so weird!), we have exchanged numerous FB messages and wall posts, but the thing that makes me know it's going to be okay is the way we comment on each other's pictures. When you look at those comments, it's like nothing has changed and there never was any falling out. Basically, I told her that, though I don't regret my decision to not be in her wedding or the reasons behind it, I very much regret the way I handled myself and that I opted out so close to the big day. Part of me DOES wish I would have been there, mostly because it's one of those lifetime moments you never want in the lives of your friends, but I don't think I would have completely fulfilled my role (for many reasons) as a proper maid of honor--and she deserved that. The important thing now is that I have a friend that I shared so many memories with back in my life, and I fully plan to create many more with her, especially now with her adorable baby. Side note--it's so weird that I have a friend I'm that close to (and close in age!) who has a child now--hell, she's even younger than me!. I was just getting used to my friends getting married--SLOW DOWN EVERYBODY! Well, not really. All I want is for my friends to be happy...I just don't want to be reminded that I'm getting older all the time ;)

Okay, now the news that I hope all works out because it would make me so happy. The fluke way it all happened about is pretty weird in and of itself, for one thing. A couple of weeks ago (maybe a month?), I was talking to Lauren through text and I suddenly just knew I had to visit her. It's been at least two years since I've seen her, and that fact seemed to hit me amidst our relatively typical conversation. Knowing that my new year of vacation days starts sometime either at the end middle or end of February, I decided I would make a concerted effort to go visit her in March (I planned to use probably about 3 of my PTO days and work the other days into my normal weekly days off, as I did for the California trip). It's pretty far away, so I hadn't put much thought into detailed planning...and then my Mom told me she wants to dance in the Iowa Dancesport March. What are the odds? It would work out perfectly, as the comp is about half an hour or so away from Lauren. I really hope this works out, because it would be a great chance to road trip with my Mom, see her dance again, and see my dear Lauren. Win-win-win!

Well, less than a week after I got that exciting news, Lauren told me she wanted to go to Oxford in October. Lo and behold, if all works out, my Mom, Amy, and I could go for a visit during the Ole Miss v. Alabama game on October 15th--in perfect time to celebrate my Mom's birthday AND see Lauren and Elise! I'm hoping Elise can make something happen on a hotel room for Mom and Amy, but if not, there are places available a few miles down the road. Lauren and I would be staying with Elise, of course, and I'd finally get to meet Lauren's boyfriend, Justin. Once again, please keep your fingers crossed this works out. I desparately miss my girls and need to see them!

So...those are kind of the big news things. Next month, on September 7th, my Mom is taking me to Huntsville to visit my eye surgeon. When I turn 26 next May, I'll be officially off of my parents' insurance, so I'm trying to squeeze in all the appointments I can before I have to pay my own deductibles and what not (my medicine will be expensive enough!). This particualr one is especially important, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to require a second surgery--one I had been told I would likely need in the future after my last one four years ago. It's a more invasive surgery with a longer recovery time, but if successful, will lessen the strain on my functioning eye, improving the vision in it and also relieving the intensity and frequency of my tension headaches. I would say that I hope I don't have to have the surgery, but I honestly would be relieved to have it. Without it, my good eye will much more rapidly decline in function and my headaches will get worse. At this point in time, I'm fully aware that I will most likely completely lose vision at some point in my life--at least legally, but also for the use of driving and reading--but a successful surgery could add years or even decades to the amount of time I will retain my sight. And who knows? By the time I reach that vision loss point in my life, they may very well have found a way to fix it completely. Big time fingers crossed on that one! Compared to what so many others have to go through medically, being unable to drive and read in a typical manner are not the end of the world. My big fear, however, is that once my vision in my other eye goes bad, I will see out of it just as I see out of my bad eye. For me, that means I wouldn't be able to see the details of my loved ones' faces, or my beloved sunsets, or any of those little things that add up to making a life with vision so precious. Sure, I would remember my friends as young long after they began to age and that's not so terrible, but the older I get, the more I want to see us all age together--quirky, crazy, and beautiful for years to come. As I've known about the possibility of losing my sight in the future for quite some time, I've accepted it more than I thought possible, and therefore take the time to appreciate the beauty of the world and those people (and animals!) that make my life so sweet. I'm forever grateful that I was confronted with something so early that made me want to absorb everything while I can, and now I know that I am entirely capable of living life one day without vision. Still, I would love to take that lesson and live that way the rest of my life with vision instead of without it, and I know that my intense appreciation for even the simplest of beauty will never fade at this point--even if they told me tomorrow that they have found a way for me to keep my vision my entire life. Between being raised to love and respect everybody and everything (even if it takes a little work to do so) and then being told that I may one day not be able to physically see all those remarkable things has forever, unalterably, made me appreciate what we have in this world (good and bad) no matter what may happen in the future. So...I hope I can see for the rest of my life, but I'm living right now as if I won't be able to one day. And really, is there a better way to live?

Also, my admiration of my other senses has increased with the decrease in my sharp vision (I say this with the understanding that, since I've had this vision issue for what we think is my entire life, I've never really had stellar vision)**. Sounds have so much more meaning and are often poignantly beautiful; smells can literally transport me to specific, and a lot of times pretty old, memories. I think my ability to listen and fully absorb what others' say--a big part of pscychology!--is greatly aided by this, especially in regards to my actual hearing, but also in terms of smell too. I'm sure my other senses are heightened, but I mostly notice the sight and smell aspects more acutely.

At any rate, here's to hoping my plans for the next few months--and trips--work out, and to praying they suggest (I'm almost positive they will) surgery for me--one that prove exceedingly beneficial to me. Love to all!

**been able to see out of both eyes. Considering how quickly and blatantly obvious my vision problem was the second I went to take my eye exam, it makes me pretty angry that NOT ONE pediatrician noticed I couldn't see out of that eye. Typically, my lazy eye was pretty unnoticeable to the average person, so I don't even remotely blame any of my teachers, friends, family members, etc. for not noticing. As I got older--ie the years between the discovery of the disease at age 15 and the surgery at age 21--the lazy eye became more noticeable in that it would float up when I became tired drunk. An interesting part of that last statement was that my eye would float upwards as opposed to inwards or outwards. Obviously, as with any medical condition, there are exceptions to the following rule, but my surgeon told me that roughly 95%+ of the cases where the eye floats up and not to either side stem from an accident and aren't typically the way the condition presents if a child is born with it. So, it's like I have an eye disease caused by an accident, which is kind of contradictory. The older I get, the worse my parents seem to feel about this fact. Sometimes, I give my Dad a hard time and tell him that the time he let me leap off a counter when I was a year old (he turned around to get a rag to clean up some juice I spilled--it took me literally 3.5 seconds to decide and go through with the idea of jumping off the counter) totally caused the problem--but the truth is, we have no idea. I seriously doubt that incident caused the issue, though admittedly it is possible. Babies and children run into things and knock their heads of stuff all the time, though, and all it takes is that one time where the hit is hard enough and the positioning of the child's head is just so...and BOOM! DISASTER! It's actually not that uncommon for amblyopia to appear because of tiny bumps that nobody thinks anything about; once again, not a big deal if found early enough and 100% avoidable for blindness to occur. Sometimes, I think all the times I fainted in the shower because of eating disoders may have caused it--mostly because it's easy to blame that on the EDs along with my back, joint, heart, and lung issues--but I know that it is HIGHLY unlikely. Because I never really realized my vision was off or any different than anybody else's, it is pretty safe to assume that the accident occurred when I was fairly young--likely before I went to school or perhaps while in preschool. I will say that something pretty neat happened when I was younger in that my good (right) eye adapted quickly to overcompensate for the lack of substantial vision in my bad (left) eye, so with the exception of those freaking "Magic Eye" things that required you to cross your eyes to see the hidden object and the old fashioned (blue and red glasses) 3D movies, there were very few things that I couldn't see growing up. Luckily, the newer 3D technology works in a way that I'm able to see in 3D now, so that's pretty neat. I'm sure I didn't have great periforial vision to the left as a child (if any at all, as I'm 100% blind in it now), but it didn't seem to affect my life much. Now, with that random increased guilt, my parents (especially my Dad) are always asking me what I can see. I understand that it is probably kind of complicated to fully comprehend for most people--because I'm describing vision problems that I haven't ever lived without, so it's hard for me to understand normal vision in both eyes enough to adequately describe why mine is different--what the world looks like to me. The simplest explanation is this: in my right eye, I've lived pretty much my entire life, until very recently (due to eye strain from doing all the work and regular aging), with 20/25 (I think--or nearly perfect) vision. The periforial to my right is pretty awesome even still, and I've maintained a good degree of my depth perception because of the weird vision in my left eye. This is where it gets more complicated. The vision in my left eye is alway getting worse, but I've always been legally blind in it. Weird?--YEAH. At the inside corner of my left eye (next to my nose), I have pretty good sight---though the space this encompasses is getting smaller now--so really my right eye used it's essentially perfect vision and merged with the okay vision in the corner of my left eye (I always see the middle of sunglasses and regular glasses because the vision essentially widens to encompass that sight instead of using two eyes), so head on I can see pretty well--thus the okay depth perception. From about the middle of my left eye (and getting smaller) through the periforial, it is pretty much black, or more accurately, everything looks like it is covered by a dark shadow. That part of my eye is pretty useless, so the eye is blind and unable to focus. My first surgery entailed clipping the main muscle at the base of my eye and attaching it higher to essentially anchor my eye in place and prevent it from floating--pretty cool, but useless to restore any vision. If I have the second surgery, they will be doing something similar to the main muscle at the top of my eye. It will also help anchor my eye, but the placement will (hopefully) alleviate tension headaches and help me keep the side vision a little longer, therefore lessening the strain on my good eye and keeping it from getting worse.>