If It’s Not One Thing
Last week I went to the optometrist because the UV coating on my glasses was peeling off. This was annoying, to say the least. It made the lenses blurry and it’s coming into summer and any and all UV protection is very important in New Zealand. I have terrible vision to begin with. I’m incredibly near sighted plus astigmatism, and last year I developed posterior vitreous detachment in my left eye which means there are lots of little floaters in my eye now that I have to focus through.
The UV coating was under warrantee but since I was down there I figured I might as well get my eyes checked. Wasn’t due for another six months but I figured why not? I went through the usual questions, looked at the charts, dilated my eyes to get a close look, and then my optometrist asked me if I’d been taking steroids. I thought that was a weird question and said no. She asked again, listing off some drugs that people might not realize are steroids but are. No, I answered again starting to get a bad feeling.
My bad feelings are usually spot on. What she had seen looking into my eyes was cataracts, and not the normal type. Just like having an obscure form of dyslexia, and a sub type of bipolar, the cataracts she was seeing was not the normal variety caused by ageing or injury. What she was seeing was a build-up on my lenses usually caused by heavy steroid use. It hadn’t been there when my eyes were checked in June of 2016 but it was there now, and the only thing in my life that had changed was I switched mood stabilizers because the stuff I was on had stopped working.
Now let me state that changing medications suck. This one was absolute hell because I had to go completely off the previous stuff before starting on the new meds. Previous switches had been rough. This one included having a high energy, stubborn as fuck, four year old in my life. At one point I had to just get a hotel room for the night because I didn’t want my kid to witness me completely losing my shit.
But the new stuff finally kicked in and I’ve been okay. The house is a mess and I’m stuck on my next writing project but I don’t want to kill myself or anyone else so it’s all good.
Except, the new meds might be making me blind.
I need to see and I need to be sane. My optometrist and my psychologist dug into the research and found a study of 30,000 people on this particular medication, and a hundred of them developed cataracts. Aren’t I just fucking special.
And yes, EVERYONE has told me that cataracts surgery isn’t that bad. No one, not even my psychologist seems to appreciate that having things touch my eyes is literally my worst nightmare. Knives at the eyes is a cold sweat inducing, wake up screaming, hell of an idea. I once had to get a sliver of metal taken out of my eye. The ophthalmologist used a tiny needle to flick it out and I had a panic attack. There are reasons I don’t wear contacts.
So, idea two, change medication again, fast. And here we have another problem. I have five options for medication.
Medication 1 – What I was on before. It stopped working because my body had built up a resistance. My body does that with all drugs. It’s kinda annoying.
Medication 2 – What I’m taking now that is giving me cataracts.
Medication 3 – I tried for two weeks six years ago. It’s actually the most highly recommended medication for bipolar except it made me manic as all hell. I spent two weeks climbing the walls and had a constant urge to light things on fire.
Medication 4 – Not cleared to treat bipoloar in New Zealand and has only been used in one small research study. Showed promising results but Medications 1, 2, and 3 are doing a good job covering the market so no one is really looking for alternatives right now.
Lithium – No.
So, do I play medication roulette or do I let my vision deteriorate to the point where I’m willing to let people CUT INTO MY EYEBALLS!?
If it’s not one thing it’s a fucking ‘nother.