Tears of Joy
I heard her words and I instantly felt the tears.
I replayed her words over and over and over.
I wouldn’t forget them; I probably couldn’t even if I tried.
I wanted to embrace her and let her wonderment meet my gratitude.
I felt guilty.
Within the last month I got my eyes dilated, but I had heard that the retinal screening at Friends for Life was worth getting even if I’m diligent with my doctor. I had also heard that pressure is measured, and flying can change the pressure of your eyes, so I scheduled my appointment for Friday, July 4. It was the first thing I did that day (besides coffee) and even though I had positive results last month, I was still nervous. I went through all the stations. “But you’re 28. How is it possible to have diabetes for 25 years?” I did the vision test, the look at the red x, the pressure, etc. All anyone kept saying was, “okay, go to this station.” Finally I made it to the end and had to wait to meet with a doctor. The last station had a flash (I assume this is where the pictures come from, but I cannot be sure.) I could not see anything other than the flash out of my right eye and I was freaking out. This clearly (to me) meant something was wrong. To see a picture of your eyes is totally freaky and AMAZING. She explained everything from all the different sessions; showed me how she knows my eyes have no pigmentation and “do you wear sunglasses?” She then looked for bleeds.
“After 10, 15 definitely 20 years, we expect to see bleeding. You’re at 25 years and you have NOTHING.”
I have a few reasons to think that I have lucky genes, and this enhanced that feeling. Knowing how common eye problems can be, and the amount of time in which the doctors expect to find bleeds, left me thinking that I’m probably not the first person to walk out of that room crying. However, I think most people are not experiencing happy tears. I texted Christel and Kerri, because I needed to share with people who would understand, be happy for me, and help me with my tears. The hugs I got were incredible. My lack of being able to speak without crying was a little embarrassing. People were congratulating me on 25 years of diabetes, and asking if I was okay. Christel told me not to feel guilty and to tell people. So I did. By the end of the day when one of the CDEs said “tell me something good,” I jumped and braced my feet and said, “are you ready?” It was the best thing that could have happened on my 25th dia-versary.
I had no idea which of these is the left or the right, but Kerri (or maybe the doctors) named the files. The only way I could “keep” my eyes was to download them onto a USB, and I didn’t have one with me, and assumed the price of one at the hotel would exorbitant. Instead, I stole Kerri’s, and she held on to my eyes for me and now I have them and even though I have no idea what I’m looking at, I just can’t stop looking. They’re so damn beautiful.