In 2014 I learned the words Ocular Melanoma.
It was August. I was in Florida visiting my parents, and I decided to get new glasses.
This time, however, the doctor found what he called a worrying little freckle, and thought it would be a good idea to consult a Retina Specialist.
That week, I went from Retina Specialist to various appointments at Bascom Palmer.
I was diagnosed with OM and my plaque week was set for August 19th. My parents lived about 4 hours away from Miami, so I had to stay at the hospital for my plaque week.
At the hospital, I was monitored daily with a Geiger meter to make sure the radiation levels were ok, and my husband was told to stay 10 feet away from my bed.
The nurses who came into the room wore lead aprons. It was an immensely lonely experience, but the staff at Bascom Palmer did all they could to make me feel comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation.
During the procedure, my eye muscle was cut to make room for the plaque. That caused more complications than I could have foreseen. The following weeks feel like a blur now, but I remember falling in love with cold compresses and watching a ton of Veronica Mars.
When I healed slightly from the radiation surgery, It was time to handle the muscles, and that following year I had strabismus surgery. Since that time, I have gone through ups and downs with how to manage.
My eyes have good days and really bad days. Sunglasses have become a permanent fixture on my face, Cocoons are the best! I hung up blackout curtains for the nighttime lights. I have learned to live in the perimeters of what my eyes can do, and thankful for each day I get to walk with my husband and remember to take each bumpy road as it comes.
I have started to sketch and play guitar. It’s not an easy journey, but I’ve learned so much going through this storm, Don’t give up, embrace your support systems, cause they are our rocks! And remember, if we are to dispel the darkness, we must only believe in the light.
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