Come What May, ‘Till The End

I’m a big believer in the old adage that things happen for a reason. We just have to stop ourselves from being too busy to listen to the messages and signs we are generously given along the way. When we listen, good things happen. When we are too busy to be bothered, the opposite can be true and we have to painfully learn our lessons.

Since my early twenties, I’ve been glaucoma “suspect.” Glaucoma is one of those nasty little degenerative diseases that rob you of one of your senses: your sight. My sight happens to be one of my top five favorite senses and I don’t want to see it go. So, “somewhat” diligently, I’ve been “kind of” going bi-annually to visit my eye doctor for a pressure and field of vision test…”sort of” “fairly” religiously.

Long story short, I missed my last Glaucoma test. No biggie, I thought. I’ve missed them before, and the news was always the same,

“Tonia, you are suspect for Glaucoma. Come back in six months for a recheck.”

This past Thursday, I dropped everything and raced to see my eye doctor with some hellacious pain in my eye. Turns out I have a Chalazion. In medical terms that’s a benign cyst in the eyelid due to a blocked gland. In layman’s terms: It’s no biggie, but I look like an ogre, it hurts like an SOB and feels like I’m giving birth through my eyelashes. But it’s not related to Glaucoma. No, that’s because Glaucoma is painless. Like most degenerative or hereditary diseases, it is silent, and creeps stealthily into your body while you are unaware and strips you of something that is rightfully yours, even if you’ve always taken it for granted.

Because I am Glaucoma “suspect”, my eye doctor decided to go ahead and do a quick pressure test while I was in getting my Chalupa (family joke) looked at. When the doctor concluded the test, he looked me straight in my baby blues and for the first time in over twenty years, I was taken completely off guard by what he said,

“Tonia. I think I’m now looking at someone with Glaucoma. My notes indicate that you missed your last field of vision test. We need to get you scheduled soon to be sure.”

My eyes fell. Guilt overtook me, and defensively the last few months of my life flashed across my mind. I’ve been busy. My business has been busy. I’m publishing children’s picture books to boot. Then there were the holidays, along with that short winter vacation, after I had a kid sick at home from school for a week. Then I began to reason with myself. Well, I didget my son to his annual physical, had my own annual OB-GYN appointment, a teeth cleaning, even scheduled a Mammogram, and saw my regular doctor for a check-up…then there was that cracked windshield from an errant rock, biz travels and gearing- up my son for his archery State Championships…and the house, and homework, and…and I never even got the Christmas cards in the mail.

Then, it occurred to me. Things happen for a reason. Maybe the Chalazion, a strange condition I’d never heard of before, which caused an ugly “something” to take up temporary residence on my face–something I could see and feel and loathe with contention and disgust, was there for a reason. It was the sign I needed to get into the eye doctor who hopefully caught the glaucoma in time.

Glaucoma is very treatable. But, any existing damage is non-reversible. Given that I probably wouldn’t have scheduled my glaucoma test anytime soon without that giant Chalupa of a Chalazion rearing it’s ugly head; it’s fair to say I’m indebted to it–ugliness and all, even though it’s timing couldn’t have been worse. I missed my son’s archery State Championships, because my eye was swollen and sore. I missed “seeing” him taking the Gold in his division, something I will never get back. But hopefully I’ll be able to “see” my son shoot for a long time to come because it reminded me and my doctor of something more important, something more permanent, like my sight.

Come what may. As we start to age, our bodies give us signs and messages…or maybe they come from our God, Angels, Mother Earth, Ghosts or Spirit Guides, whomever you believe in or fancy the most. But, in any case, be sure to stop and listen too to your body, heart and mind along the journey. It’s okay to miss some important things along the way. Imagine if you had to miss it all. Take care of yourself.  I’ll do the same.

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