Saturday, November 17, 2007

Less Than One Percent

Saw my doctor yesterday, got injected with a new drug, Lucentis, about which I know nothing except the name -- a better drug than macugen, which I used to get injected with.

Good news/bad news, but way more good than bad. The right eye has gone off again, and is getting worse ... which of itself is almost good news. I used to be hugely right eye dominant. What's supposed to happen after you become visually impaired is that your brain learns to map the images from the two eyes back together, picking the good image from the remaining good eye as the dominant image. This didn't happen with me; I had too much light coming in the right eye, and my brain insisted on trying to look out of that, for the most part, for all the three years since this happened. So I wore the patch, which I admit I like much of the time -- but even liking the look, it's a pain to make sure you have it with you everywhere you go. But the option is reading with one eye closed, driving with one eye closed, etc. So I lived with the patch, liking it and being annoyed by it at the same time.

The right eye going further south has freed me from the patch, it appears. If my doctor fixes the eye up again and gets some light coming back through the eye again, I may have to resume the patch -- and I suppose I should hope for that; the better shape the right eye stays in, the better chance I have of getting the entire eye back some day, with stem cell research that looks encouraging in this area ...

But I won't be much depressed if it turns out that the right eye stays dark. I see better that way.

Here's the good news/good news part of this post, however ... when the eye went bad 3 years ago, I asked my doctor what the odds were of it happening in the left eye as well. He couldn't or wouldn't tell me at the time -- I asked him again this time, and after 3 years of seeing the eye (if that's what it was) -- he said the odds were good. I pressed him -- better than even money? One in ten of the left eye going bad? "Oh, no," he said, "less than one percent."

My head feels like I got hit with the flat of a shovel at the moment, but I've been happy about this all day. I can live with those odds. I've been making long-term plans for my kids -- you have to -- but I hadn't really been making long-term plans for myself. Too much up in the air. And now I can ...

It's good to be me.


Sean Fagan said...

Oh, thank goodness -- the less than 1% thing, I mean.

Daniel Dvorkin said...

Good news about the left eye. As for the right ... that's also good news, if it makes your life easier.

Dealing with physical disability or serious illness is a real mindbender. My mother wrote a book titled Why I'm Glad I Had Breast Cancer, and she meant it. I read the book, and told her flat out that although I understood what she said, I still couldn't get my head around it. The closest I've ever come to anything that serious was when I broke my leg, very badly (a good chunk of it is still metal) a couple of years ago ... and I knew that I was eventually going to get better. Permanent changes in the body are, I think, like combat, or religious experiences, or extreme poverty: if you weren't there, you really don't understand.

Steve Perry said...

I know the feeling, Dan. Some years back, my right eye fuzzed over. One day, blap, no warning.

Doctors did tests. First one said, "Huh. Never saw anything like that before." Which is not something you want to hear.

After three specialist and injections of this and that, they whittled down the diagnoses: Probably wasn't histoplasmosis; and they decided, it was idiopathic macular degeneration -- which in layman's terms meant: my eye fuzzed over and they didn't know what caused it.

Thank you so much.

Eventually, it sorta resolved. I still play hell looking at a Fanchler grid, and they don't know if it will get worse, though it definitely won't get better.

Love those ticking time bombs.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Steve, that does sound a lot like what happened to me, down to the idiopathic part, except my fuzz was more like a big blanket ... If you havent seen a doctor recently about this, the state of the art has hugely improved. Lucentis is supposed to actually improve vision, which no drug before did.

Neil said...

Congrats, Dan. That is fantasic news.

My father has something very similar having lost the vision in one eye. I know how precious the vision in the other one becomes.

nathan kaiser said...

Congrats. A 1% chance is heads and tales better than a 10% chance. I have a knack for the obvious.

My Grandfather has started to take Lucentis and he has seen some improvement as well. Hopefully, we will continue to see improvements in this area!

Anonymous said...

Good to hear about the <1%.

In that light here's something I hope you can appreciate:


Seriously tho, good on ya. :D

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Your eyes are only 2 inches apart -- no one has depth perception outside about 18 feet.

Now if the monster's outside shot is off, that's a different matter. Me, I went blind and suddenly couldn't shoot free throws -- but my stroke from the arc (never great, admittedly) didn't get any worse.

Odysseus is in trouble....