Blindness

I want to let you know that due to a sudden blindness in my left eye I spent a night in the hospital between April 30th and May 1st.

Blindness from CARO
Central Retinal Arterial Occlusion

Originally, they diagnosed me with #CRAO or Central Retinal Arterial Occlusion. Essentially, a stroke in the eye. That scared me. They checked me in as a precaution and tons of tests, but fortunately, they found nothing. The picture is not of my eye but it clearly shows the problem.

After several tests done over the subsequent month, the likely cause is an old infection from a single cell parasite (#Toxoplasmosis) that once found a home in my eye. It’s detectable from the antibodies my body produced to fight the infection.

Why the blindness?

All my life, I’ve known I had a blind spot there, but it never bothered me. The blind spot immediately raised concerns with my retina specialist. The suspicion is that the parasite remained dormant all these years, waking up for a brief time and causing my blindness. They put me on a treatment of anti-bacterial/anti-parasitics, which I suspect allowed me the little vision improvement I achieved.

Toxoplasmosis-spread
Toxoplasmosis in utero

Research into the parasite revealed that it is transmitted either in-utero (from my mother while I was still a fetus inside her womb) or from cats in their feces. Growing up, Mom had lots of cats in the house, and one time, there were 23, though that was an aberration. On average, we had anywhere from 6 to 10 during most of my childhood. Cleaning their litter pans was most likely the means of transmission. Subconsciously, I’ve not liked cats since becoming an adult, though I did have one during my early years. I wasn’t upset when it was killed in the street.

Toxoplasma IgG
Toxoplasmosis spread

Initially, I was 85% or so blind, but I’ve improved over the last two months, so now I think I am only about 65% blind in that eye. Of course, the blindness is directly in front of wherever I look, and I can only see in the periphery to the left.

Since then, I have tremendous headaches, compounding my already ongoing post-concussion headaches over the past four years and extreme fatigue as my brain tries to make sense out of the confusing signals it is getting from each eye.

What to do?

However, I am in good spirits. I quickly accepted my #blindness and my new view of life, knowing that there was nothing I could do about it. I wear an eye patch at times to minimize the battle going on between them, and I wear eyeglasses or sunglasses more frequently. As I write this note, I am wearing an eye patch. I now have several different styles of eye patches, but this one is a black and red snakeskin pattern. It’s cool. I like it.

There’s nothing anyone can do. Perhaps I will improve or perhaps not.

I’ve not written in this blog in all this time for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t want work to find out about my condition while working from home. I wanted to prove to them that I could still do the job. I did. They have since called me back to report in person, and I am doing well.

The second reason is that early on and even though today, it’s hard to write creatively. Repetitive tasks that don’t require too much brain power are easy enough, but pushing beyond those boundaries is another story. I’ve worked on the same chapter I started before my blindness and scraped what I wrote again and again. That sucks. It’s not writer’s block. It’s all about fatigue. I run out of energy too soon every day, and I am tired of resting.

Next week, I start a new health program to help resolve some of these issues. Wish me luck. I really need to get back to Avril’s story in the Consortium Series. Wish me luck.

p.s. Check out my latest updates to my Jigsaw Puzzle Portofolio. Those are something I can do with stressing my brain too much.

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