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.