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  • Kim Van Sandt

More about the Artist - TMI really!

(the somewhat visually challenged beachy one)

I used to work in Human Resources, in all kinds of really boring stuff that only mattered to those getting paid, in trouble, or needing insurance. I was really good on computer, data management, etc. I liked it a lot of the time, it fit my mild OCD tendencies, but dealing with 20-30,000 line spreadsheets was not kind to my eyes

I already had severe myopia (nearsightedness). High myopia is often defined as -6 D or worse, which affects maybe 4% of the population. Now you note above I said ‘severe’, which I think is a reasonable assessment, considering my prescription is at -11 D (the one area where I get to be the ‘elite’!). This messes with the shape of your eye (elongates it) and puts stress on various parts of the eye. The various effects my myopia have included some pretty major floaters (like the size of an inch-worm on your glasses but see-thru), and some extra optometrist visits, then shifting to many visits at the retinal specialists. My vocabulary has increased exponentially, including terms like pigmented epithelial detachment, choroidal neovascularization, central serous chorizo retinopathy, and such.

At first it was just checking things out and investigative, but my nemesis has turned out to be myopic foveoschisis (for now). All that shape-stress on my eyes causes a separation in the layers in the back of my eye, allowing for fluid to accumulate where it shouldn’t be. If the fluid accumulation gets too bad, it allows blood or tiny vessels. The fluid causes a blurry spot in the center of my vision (think greasy thumbprint in the center of your glasses). The blood or vessels can block my vision in that center spot completely (more like a chocolate frosting thumbprint).

In the process of investigating and addressing all this at various points in time in the few years, I have experienced squiggly lines that are supposed to be straight, the greasy thumbprint, and even the chocolate thumbprint. A little scary overall. And I haven’t talked about the treatment yet. There is a medicine that can help, and has helped bring me from chocolate frosting back to greasy thumbprint, it’s called avastin. The challenge is, to get it where it needs to be. It is delivered by injection. Yup, injection. In. The. Eye. Not fun would be a slight understatement.

I am getting pretty good at it though. The injection is very quick. The challenge is that all the drops they put in your eye are rough, and they can take until the next day to work out of your eye. The alternative is, at the second retinal specialists office, in my second round of these shots (I think I’ve had twelve of these as of writing this) they rinse the betadine, numbing gel and such out of your eye. But it only works if you let them hold your eye open and pour saline in it until it feels like you are drowning through your eye. At points the rinsing has been more difficult to withstand than the shots. Rinsing really well means the subsequent headache can be gone in an hour. Not rinsing means solid headache and swollen eye till about noon the next day. Lest you think I am too tough, I usually skip meals for a good four hrs before an appointment to prevent my nervousness from turning into a barfarama horror movie scene. And a new adventure yesterday, the injection for the first time left me with a little extra red-eye, the little broken vessels you get sometimes that go away, but look creepy.

The good thing is…(yes there is something good about all this) HR was not such a good place for me to work anymore. I started my art/craft business, and though the vision struggles affect it some, it is easier to adjust and cause less strain on my eyes. Besides all that, I can incorporate my relationship with the Lord, and make beautiful things to minister to others, draw people’s attention to his creation, and share the peacefulness of all that with others. That’s TMI about me.

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