Let’s try typing now. Still rather blurry, but I can read this without too much work. 60 pt font though, still.

According to the doctor, I’m now at the line for legally blind, which is a HUGE improvement. Wait, weren’t you legally blind before? There’s a difference? How is this an improvement?

Well, I’m starting to be able to read signs and such, and I don’t have to hold things as close to read them as I used to. I’ve not progressed as well as they’d hoped, but none of us did, so it’s OK. They think I’ll be a lot better on Monday, after the bandage contacts come off.

It might take me a month to get “normal” sight. I hope not… but now that I have clearer, more well defined expectations, I can handle the wait.

In the meantime, doctor’s orders call… 1 lortab, some eye drops, eye shields, pretty music, and sleep here I come.


Because we are stronger for the sharing...

I know this is huge, and yet, it’s a little fuzzy for me, but I wanted you to see where I am tonight. (Galatians 6:11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!)

I had a procedure similar to LASIK done this morning, well… it was this afternoon before they actually got to me.

In LASIK, in case you don’t know, an ophthalmic surgeon carefully removes a slice off the surface of the eye, folding it to the side, out of the way, and then a preprogrammed laser fires on the eye and shapes the cornea beneath to correct, inside the eye itself, the vision problem that has required a patient to wear corrective lenses. After the laser is done, they gently fold the flap back, and the surgery is finished.

When I was being evaluated, I discovered that my prescription (which I knew was around -11.25) was almost too steep to be done at all. In fact, to correct my vision, the doctor couldn’t do the normal procedure; he had to do what is called Advanced Surface Ablation (or ASA for short). See, in creating the tiny thin flap for LASIK, they actually cut into the cornea itself, and some of the corneal structure (called the stroma, if I recall correctly) is lost to the flap (it doesn’t disappear completely; it’s just unshapable because it’s in the flap, off to the side). They needed every micrometer of my cornea to do the correction for me, so they couldn’t risk the flap. ASA instead places a small ring on the eye itself and then removes the epithelium (sort of like the top layer of your skin, only on the eye itself). Then, with every micrometer of the cornea intact, they do the same procedure with the laser shaping the cornea to the new prescription. Because they actually removed some of the covering of the eye, it takes longer to heal, and it’s more uncomfortable.

Now that the science is out of the way, we get to where I am tonight as I sit up in front of my monitor, typing in a 60 point font (don’t worry, when I publish this, I’ll shrink most of it down to a size you can deal with).

You see, I’m disappointed, afraid, discouraged, and impatient. I had believed that I’d see a dramatic improvement in my sight as soon as I got off the table, that I’d be just able to see… and while I knew there would be fuzziness that would last, I wasn’t expecting to still be blind. And yet, blind I am.

My husband tells me that they were trying to guess where my vision would be tomorrow… and the number he quoted me is so far better than I’ve ever seen that I don’t even know how to imagine what that would be like. If they’re right, then a good night’s sleep will see enough healing to let me finally not be blind… for the first time that I can remember.

I didn’t know that when I left today. I thought I’d get off the table and be a little fuzzy, but with ready vision. No one explained that it would have to heal through the stages of blindness to wholeness… perhaps I’d have been better equipped for the outcome, be less depressed tonight, be less upset.

So here I am, only now hearing thirdhand where they thought I’d be tomorrow, only now realizing that I never understood really how this would happen for me, that maybe, just maybe, the horrible mistake I’ve feared all day hasn’t happened, that I’m exactly where I should be, that maybe I can be hopeful instead in despair.

Surprisingly, there’s music playing on repeat as I write this, helping to soothe this savage breast, to salve this broken heart (*If you know me at all, you know the above is said tongue firmly in cheek). It’s Nichole again, singing a song I sang to myself this morning as I waited for my turn under the laser, as I prayed for wisdom for the doctors and calmness for me in place of anxiety. How did I get through my day and lose this prayer, this focus?

Rolling River God

Little stones are smoothed

Only once the water passes through

So I am a stone

Rough and grainy still

Trying to reconcile this River’s chill

But when I close my eyes

And feel You rushing by

I know that time brings change

And change takes time

And when the sunset comes, my prayer would be this one:

That You might pick me up and notice that I am

Just a little smoother in Your hand.

Sometimes raging wild

Sometimes swollen high

Never have I known this River dry

The deepest part of You

Is where I want to stay

And feel the sharpest edges wash away

But when I close my eyes

And feel You rushing by

I know that time brings change

And change takes time

And when the sunset comes,

My prayer would be just one:

That You might pick me up and notice that I am

Just a little smoother in Your hands

Rolling River God

Little stones are smoothed only once the water passes through

What a beautiful melody, almost like a stone skipping in progressive waves over the surface of a river, and her soft voice almost a ballad.

I’m done weeping in fear. I’m done being discouraged. I’m done letting the Enemy define who I am.

If my fears are right, and this went wrong, and I will remain blind (or even be uncorrectibly so), this is no disaster. Men and women deal with worse every day. There are worse things out there than the loss of what little sight I had. Besides, all of this fear preys on me before the healing process has the time it needs to bring the change it will. I may yet be the exciting case they talk about, going from blind, unable to imagine life without glasses, to being free again.

My rolling river God has never let me down yet. My rolling river God never will. He still holds me in the palm of His hand, and there, curled against Him who created me, who formed me, yes, even these imperfect eyes, there I will rest and let the physical laws He put in motion work. I will give Him the time that change needs to be effective.

And when the despair comes again? I’ll come back to my rolling river God.

And you’ll get messages each day updating my progress… because I suspect that this time next week, I will live a life I never imagined would be mine.

Despair comes. But it doesn’t have to be our companion. Dive into the River God and let Him wash you clean, polish away everything until we are just a little smoother in His hands. Rolling River God… Little stones are smoothed only once the water passes through.


Didn't want to lose this

I posted the following on a message board 6 December 2007. I didn't want to lose it when it scrolls off the board.

Until October 2004, I went through SERIOUS depressions every 6 or so months. My husband would have to physically restrain me to stop me from doing harm to myself. The last suicidal ideations I had was in Feb 2004.

That year, I finished a brutal first and last year of teaching... and I only finished my contract for love of my students, highschoolers all of them. My Seniors, all 5 of them, hadn't had an English teacher start and finish the year with them since 8th grade. Of the 4 core teachers, 3 of us were new to the school and the fourth was starting his 2nd year (or 3rd, perhaps) at the school. One of the teachers and I got along excellently, but he had a worse year than I did (His house was broken into and his wife attacked one day while he was teaching; he had to leave in a hurry to go take care of her, and his anxiety, which understandably overlapped into his already overloaded schedule, meant that the school refused to renew his contract (which wound up being a moot point as the school was so poorly run it closed before the next term)). Many of my students loved me (and I still keep in touch with 3 of my seniors; spent my birthday with 2 of them, and they came and spent her birthday with me yesterday), and that helped immensely.

That summer, my Zoey-bug was born. The last week of June, I went on a trip with my adoptive family and their 5 children (6 and younger). The second oldest came to me on her own, suddenly, and announced she loved me. Now, they'd told me they loved me before, but usually after I'd given them gifts or played with them; this summer, my knees were troubling me and I couldn't spend as much time with them, and I hadn't just given her something... this was unprovoked and beautiful.

I went the second week of July and saw my sweet Zoeybug just after she'd been born.My GOD, how I love her. How I loved her. I would hold her to me, rocking her softly, bouncing her to sleep, just looking at her beautiful face. There was nothing my sweet Zoey could do to earn my love, and yet love her I did (I do), desperately. I realized I'd spent my entire life trying to earn the love of my family. I saw my aunts and uncle, my grandparents... and I realized they love me the way I adored Zoey. I'd never had to do anything for them to love me; what I'd accomplished in my life was the icing on the cake... not the cake itself.

I took a trip by myself up to see where my father had been laid to rest, and then up to see his sister... she brought in her son, whom I hadn't seen in over a decade, who brought his fiancee and son to meet me, excited by the prospect. They heaped high praise and complements upon me... that I felt I never deserved. By the time I came home, I had a lot to ponder.

I had started one Bible study by Beth Moore (Beloved Disciple) and then another (Breaking Free). They were spectacular, and I soon added what I was learning in the study to what I had to ponder. One night in October, as I was thinking of them, I broke free.

I was MADE to be loved. I've ALWAYS been loved. I NEVER had to earn it. So are you. I know that as deeply in my soul as I know my own name, as I deeply as I know that I AM.

I had been suicidal for SO long because I was tired. I was tired of EARNING love, tired of working for the right, the permission to draw the next breath. I knew that my husband loved me, but I also knew that when I died, he'd get over it, he'd go on with life, and he'd find love, real love, with the sort of woman he deserved. (I am in tears as I tell you this). I was selfish in my suicidal ideations... it wasn't that I wanted to die, just that I was far too tired to keep going. But I considered very seriously the people around me.

One of my attempts, one of my more serious and more nearly successful, was when I was a teenager. I overdosed on my antidepressant after a very bad day, and I purposely fought to stay awake, to stay up after I'd taken the pills until I could put my sisters to bed and go to sleep... they'd be taken care of, and I'd just never wake up.

Until the truth was tattooed on my heart, I couldn't see what I was doing to the ones I loved the most. I couldn't see how horribly selfish it was. Until I learned that I was loved, I couldn't fall in love with life.It's been over 3 years now since the last time I was suicidal. My life is so remarkably different.

Please, be aware that people who are suicidal are in more pain than they know how to cope with.

And please, be aware, that those the suicidal leave behind hurt and miss the ones they've lost more than the lost one can imagine.

Suicide is about pain, on both sides.If you're considering ending your life for whatever reason, please, please know you will be desperately missed, more than you can imagine. Please, give us a chance to help carry your burden before it drags you beyond our reach.

You are loved. You ARE loved. YOU ARE LOVED.