Tuesday Morning

I decided to exercise last night, but not the running I usually do.  I instead rode the stationary bike to avoid “jarring”.  I am thinking this is kind of stupid and there is no reason to be running.  

Symptoms about the same.  24 days will be six weeks.  Wonder if I will be any different.  I cant help but feel I am supposed to be getting “better” when in reality it may just be this way.   That thought is depressing.

My Decision

So today I decided I am going to try to live my life normal again.  Not thinking every minute or hour about my symptoms, flashes and floaters. I am going to try to not think about what may happen or whether the eye doctor is correct.  I am going to do the following:

1.  Accept that I am going to have at times bothersome symptoms.

2.  Hope they will get better with time, as they already have in terms of the flashing.

3.  Be vigilant about any major changes, without undue concentration.

4.  Believe that the Doctor is right and stop reading online information and trying to compare and diagnose myself.

5.  Update this blog to show if I am successful or what happens to me.

We can see the results together!

Exercise

One big doubt/question I have is whether to continue running.  Most of the online reading says the biggest risk of complications (i.e. detached retina) is within six weeks.  I am  heading to the halfway mark so I do not want to screw anything up.

I have been running regularly for the last two weeks, but maybe I should stop and let it get better.  Why take a chance? 

My doctor said no restrictions. The best explanations and opinions I have read online said running and exercise are not a problem.  But there are many doctors who say take it easy, especially during the six weeks.  There rational does not seem as solid as the ones that say no problem, they just seem to be suggesting it along the lines of why chance it.

I hate differing opinions, especially those that are so different.  Running is important to me as it helps me deal with my heightened level of stress.  But I clearly would not do it if it had any chance of making my situation worse.  I saw one blog poster saying if it is exercise versus sight, they would chose sight.  Dah!  But is that really what it is?

I think not, but i have not decided yet if I am going to go along with my doctor and others who say no problem, or alter my exercise and stress reductions to spend more time just observing my vision and how it functions minute to minute.

Two Weeks of PVD

So I left the eye doctor feeling great, put up with a little flashing and some floaters.  They will probably diminish and maybe even go away.

So the feeling of euphoria only lasted a couple of hours.  That was too easy I was thinking.  Is he right?  What is the chance of having these symptoms that seem pretty bad and the problem is benign and requires no treatment??  How lucky can I get? 

For a few days it was feeling pretty good, but still. Flashes are odd.  I have always had floaters, but not these floaters!  These are not just the small intermittent specs, some of them are like waves of floating vision passing through from time to time.  I do not like this feeling when the wave comes in.

I am anxious and now I am super-sensitive to it.  I am analyzing every feeling, every blink, every floater.  I think I better read up on this.  It will be easier now because I know exactly what the issue is, it is benign, it is PVD!

Well I started to read….OMG. 7-15% of PVD’s can turn into retinal detachment.  I am going to curl up in a ball and wait for mine to occur I think because I am so scared.  I do not want to go blind, I do not want to have laser eye surgery (or worse).  I want to live my normal life with no vision distractions.

Lesson one, hard to learn, do not diagnose online.  Do not read forums or even about people’s experiences.  They are all different but that is ok, because in reality we are shopping for the outcome that works for us.  But like me, you cant help yourself, that is why you are reading this, right?  There are two reasons I decided to add to the “internet” collection of PVD stories.  The first is easy, because it is somewhat therapeutic for me to write.

More important though, when doing internet diagnosing remember a few things that I have to remind myself each time.  The medical reference websites are always going to at least mention worst case scenarios.  They have too.  If you go to the forums, where people talk about their own experiences, there are some not so great stories there too.  But you have to remember for all diseases and conditions these are the people with big problems for the most part.  Otherwise they would not likely take the time to write.  Most of the people who are diagnosed and recover as expected, do not take the time to write and discuss it.  These are the majority.

So my reading was not helping, I had a hyper sensitivity to my symptoms and I was very anxious waiting for disaster to strike. Unlike If I had an ankle problem, or a knee problem, I could not put my eyes up to rest.  They were with me all the time and I was analyzing every spec, light and flash.  I was killing myself with stress.

I talked to a doctor friend of mine who said, stop reading online!  I said easier said than done. I know what it is, I just want it to go away! Well get used  to it,  as  it may not go away.

As I went through my second week of symptoms the flashes were definitely better.  They were less frequent and less bright.  The floaters were still there, unabated though.  There was no way of getting away from them and no way of not thinking about them and what they may mean to my health and life.  I knew I was overreacting and too focused on it, but with the fear of further damage and the anxious questioning of whether my doctor has it right was driving me crazy as I headed into another weekend or reduced flashing and ever present floaters.

My Story

I am a pretty healthy 53 year old guy.  There is no question I have been pretty lucky to have had only minor health issues over my life.  Some of the luck is self made, I exercise regularly, watch my weight and try to stay up on my medical check ups and those kind of steps.  

One of my biggest problems is a I am very anxious about health issues so the combination of my luck and prevention have served me well. That is not to say I have never had an issue, I have.  Skin cancer, some heart palpitations and some extensive dental work to name a few.  But they all have worked out fine, without major interventions.  That is where the luck came in.  Whenever I have something that I think may be new and complex with my health panic sets in.  I do not want to go through tests, be probed and prodded and most of all found to have a significant health issue.

Well two weeks ago on Friday the 12th I started to wonder if worry time was back again.  It was a warm night and I headed out for a run and whoa,  I saw a couple of flashes in my left peripheral vision. Hmmm, that was odd and they certainly caught my attention.  It was not dark out either, and they were clear.  I kept running and as the night and weekend went on, I noticed some more.  I never had really had eye trouble, I do wear progressive lens, but mainly for reading and a bit of distance correction as i have aged.

Throughout the weekend I kept noticing them and I became a bit hyper about it.  Not terrible but noticeable.  By work on Monday they were still happening and when I headed out to run on Monday night it was dark.  There was no question I was having significant flashing, this was not going away.  

Late Monday night I could not help but do what us anxious types do, diagnose the problem online and find the best and simple home treatment to solve my problem.  To be honest, as I started out I was thinking brain tumor.  Also, thinking maybe another condition I had heard mentioned before, a detached retina. Lets check that first.  BINGO.  Symptoms match. Panic sets in.  TO SAVE SITE SEE A DOCTOR WITHIN 24 HOURS.  OMG, it had been at least 72 hours. I could still see, but for how much longer.

I headed to bed and to hide in my sleep among the occasional flashes of blue in my eyes. I awoke knowing I had to do something right away. I had an eye doctor I trusted and called his office and thankfully he was there and could see me late morning.  Given how anxious I was about it, I did not even tell them why I was coming, just that I had to see Dr. G.

I went through a couple of preliminary tests and was ushered into his office where I awaited his arrival. He came in happy to see me and I interrupted in my panic state and said, I am in trouble!  He asked why and I told my story of the detached retina and having gone past the 24 hours.  After reassuring himself I could still see he examined my eyes and then took some hi-tech images of my retina.  Intact he said. No obvious damage.  Relief, but well what is it?

That is when I first heard the words represented by the letters PVD.  Benign he told me, in terms of what has to be done.  Symptoms will last awhile but you should be all set.  Keep running, do as you wish, live with the symptoms and keep up with the regular eye exams.

Wow, almost too good to be true.  I left that office on Cloud 9.  Another major problem averted.  How lucky can I get?