Monday, November 21, 2011

Changes I Wasn't Expecting

Part of the fear I had going into LASIK was I felt it would be a life changing event, though when asked I couldn't exactly say why.  I knew the simple aspects of it:  no more going to the eye doctor on an annual basis.  No more glasses, no more contacts. No more expense that goes with wearing contacts.  Being able to see when I open my eyes with no corrective lenses.  Being able to go swimming and actually see-I can take water aerobics now!  Things like that but nothing that was really earth shattering, other than it was change and I'm not a big fan of change. 

So I had it done.  And then I got sick.  It was just a cold; I'd been fighting it leading up to the procedure so it wasn't really a surprise when it hit full on a few days after.  But apparently that wasn't enough because a little over a week after I had LASIK, in addition to the cold, I came down with food poisoning.  Or so I thought.  But it wouldn't go away.  So after 36 hours of throwing up, I went to the doctor (mainly because my co-worker told me too). 

I had an instinctive feeling before I left for the doctor so I checked the item that started the throwing up (vegetarian buffalo wings and yes, they were actually pretty good-until I threw them up) and found onions buried deep in the list.  I then checked the ingredients of the noodles I'd eaten the next day and also threw up.  And found they had onions too. So I told the doctor I was no longer sure it was food poisoning but thought it might be an allergic reaction to onions.  I told him I'd had environmental allergy testing but not food and asked to have that done.  So he sent me to the lab for blood work and told me to eat bland foods, such as bread and crackers until my stomach could tolerate food again.

So I did what the doctor said but just wasn't getting any better.  It was frustrating and getting a little scary wondering why I just wasn't getting over this.  I thought that perhaps healing from eye surgery, the cold and whatever was going on with my stomach was too much for my body to handle all at once.  And then I got a call from the doctor's office.  They had the results of my blood tests:  the CBC and the hydration tests came back normal.  But something popped on the allergy test:  I'm allergic to baker's yeast. 

Naturally, the first thing I did was ask if baker's yeast and regular yeast were the same thing.  Since the advice nurse didn't know, I looked it up.  And found all kinds of contradictory information.  For one thing, there are two types of yeast:  one that is derived from a fungus and is used in baking to make bread rise.  The other is bacterial and grows naturally in our systems.  This is the yeast that causes yeast infections.  The frustration I'm running into with trying to determine what to eat or not eat with being allergic to yeast is that most sites seem to intertwine the two.  What one site says is okay to eat with a yeast allergy is not allowed on another.  The only thing that seems consistent is yeast (obviously), vinegar and anything fermented.

Another thing I have read consistently is the symptoms of a yeast allergy are not your "typical" allergy symptoms.  They include fatigue, depression, nausea, vomiting and "fog head" - feeling light headed or dizzy.  All things I have been experiencing for years and contributed to other things; mainly grief.  So now I'm on a quest to find a nutritionist who specializes in food allergies to find out what I can and cannot eat from a credible source.

I kept saying getting LASIK was going to change my life.  I never expected to go have my eyes done and come out allergic to food!  (Okay, so that's not what happened, just how it came to light).  On one hand, this is a pretty odd allergy and as I said, frustrating at this point.  On the other hand, I am looking forward to hopefully actually feeling good for the first time in years once I get it under control. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now...

On October 7, 1984, my dad married the woman I refer to as "the evil-ex."  The ceremony was actually held on the 6th, but they didn't file for the license in time so it was official on the 7th.  On October 27th, 1997, I started my job at the local Caterpillar dealership-my second professional job and one that lasted five years.  These were both significant events in my life for vastly different reasons:  one led to the destruction of my self-worth. The other led me to James. 

In 1989, as a freshman in high school, it became apparent I needed glasses.  Which I was told I had to pay for myself but was ultimately given as a Valentine's Day gift.  Looking back at the pictures, I definitely had the typically 1990's style glasses!  In 1995, as a junior in college, I started to wear contacts.  For the last 16 years, I have alternated between glasses and contacts, primarily wearing contacts. 

James also wore glasses.  While I was okay with it, he didn't really want to wear them anymore and looked into LASIK several times, even going as far as to having a consultation.  He learned he could have it done but would still need reading glasses so he decided not to go through with it.  He encouraged me to look into it as well but other than asking my eye doctor if he thought I'd be a candidate in passing, I never did.  I was too afraid.  I'd be the one millionth patient in which there was an earthquake that caused a bus to crash into building causing the equipment to malfunction leaving me blind. 

So it was a topic that came up but not one I had explored lately.  It sort of died when James did.  Until recently.  It came up at bunco in July-one of my bunco mates was having it done the next day.  One of my best friends was subbing for our group that night and she had it done as well.  Prior to leaving for Labor Day weekend, I had a conversation with another friend who had also had it done.  All three had gone to the same doctor.  I also received first a post card and then a voice mail message from my eye doctor that I was due for an appointment.  I kept hearing commercials on the radio for LASIK.  And, I needed to fill out a new Flex benefit form at work.

Before I knew it, I was texting my two friends mentioned above I was thinking about going in for a consultation to see if I was a candidate.  Surprisingly, it was more of the casual friend who was the most excited about this, offering to take me to the appointment if I was in fact a candidate.

On October 7th, I found out that I was in fact, a candidate.  There was a part of me that honestly didn't think I would be and I don't know what outcome I actually wanted.  I spent the next couple of weeks alternating between numbness, shock and fear.  I'm a single woman, living alone with no family in the area, in a two-story house with two dogs that are fully dependent on me.  What the HELL was I thinking?? I was planning to do something that could potentially leave me blind-and why wasn't anyone stopping me?? And how could I do this without the one person who was supposed to be by my side for these things?

I realized the fear went deeper than that.  I had to have faith.  I'm a control freak.  I don't do faith.  And yet I had to have faith not only that the doctor knew what he was doing, but that the machine wasn't going to fail leaving my blind.  And I realized that no, James was not here to hold my hand but someone else had stepped up to be there for me.  Someone I didn't ask-he volunteered.  And that was perhaps the scariest thing of all:  I had to have faith in someone I didn't know if I could trust. 

On October 27th, I had LASIK.  There were definitely a few moments when I seriously considered not going through with it. To say I was scared is an understatement!  I threw up three times that morning.  My friend came through for me and was by my side the whole time other than when they wouldn't let him be.  He did later confess that he was sure I was going to change my mind, right up until the time they were finished with the procedure.  He wasn't the only one-a week later I still can't believe I went through it!

And now I can see without glasses or contacts.  The machine didn't fail.  There were no earthquakes or bus crashes.  There were several friends rooting for me.  I could not have done this without their support, especially since when I called my mom to tell her it went well when I didn't hear from her, I learned she forgot about it.  Seriously?  I don't care how old I am.  What parent forgets their child is having a procedure that can potentially leave them blind?  Thanks for the support, Mom.  But whatever.

The irony of the dates did not escape my notice.  I didn't choose them intentionally-it's just the way it worked out.  I'm glad I went through with it-that I faced that fear.  I'm hoping that doing so will help me find a way to rebuild my confidence.  Conquering fear is a pretty amazing thing. So is being able to see a little better than 20/20 without corrective lenses.