Close Focus

Lately, my eyes have been focusing differently.

Whenever anything is near my eyes,
ie a book or phone screen,
my eyes will innately focus
on that one thing
while everything beyond
what I'm focusing on blurs.

It's like focusing in portrait mode,
the background becomes fuzzy
while the words I'm reading
become better than crystal clear.

This way of focusing is a shock to the system.

It took me some time to realize
what was happening.

When something with my vision changes,
there are moments where I'm trying to decide
if what I'm seeing is actually there,
if my sight is true to my reality
or if what I'm seeing is an interpretation
stemming from my brain not being able to process
where my eyes are within the space I'm in.

Mind games with the eyes seem to be never ending
as things continue to shift each day.

One Year with Abnormally Puffy Eyes

I was in a McDonald’s bathroom somewhere in Iowa.
I was exhausted from a weekend full of family time and walking
around the Minnesota State Fair.
My dad and I had left a few hours before dawn and began the long drive back home.
As soon as we got on the road, I instantly fell back asleep,
holding the old stuffed animal dog I got as a Christmas gift when I was 8.
We had stopped at McDonald’s to get breakfast and pee.
I was washing my hands when I noticed how glaringly puffy my eyes were.
What is going on?
I thought as I poked the puffy skin around my eyes, taking in this unfamiliar sight.
I walked away from the mirror to leave,
only to return seconds later to stare at this unusual occurrence once more.
I chalked it up to not enough sleep and too much driving and walking
within a short period of time (something I’m not known to do).
This conclusion reassured me enough to leave the restroom without panicking.
I can’t remember if I asked my dad if he noticed anything different.
If I did, he probably just told me the same thing I told myself: it’s nothing.
We got back in the car and continued our long journey home.
As we were merging back onto the highway, I checked my puffy eyes
once again through the camera app on my phone.
In natural light, they were still puffy.
It’s fine. It’s fine. I just need more sleep.
Oh, the stories we tell ourselves in the moment so we don’t obsessively wonder
what bad things could be happening.

Trials and Tribulations

When I started my blog a year ago, I didn’t expect to be dealing with the issues I have now. Last year, I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and finishing up my degree in English. These last few months have been defined by my health, particularly my thyroid eye disease. It’s sad but true. Eyes are a huge part of everyone’s life and when they’re sick, it takes a tremendous toll on how one might move about their life.

Last week, I went on a cruise with my dad’s side of the family. While it was great to see other places and learn about different cultures, it’s also difficult to be in the Caribbean when I’m extremely light sensitive. I started the trip with some daily headaches and no real eye problems. But by mid week, I was having a lot of double vision and my eyes were finished with the sun. Trading headaches for burning eyes and double vision wasn’t ideal, to say the least.

Before this last week, I had a few weeks of minimal eye problems. Thyroid eye disease has its ups and downs, some times are better than others. The months before my brief plateau were brutal. A lot of irritation, swelling, and double vision. One thing after another happened. The weeks prior to the cruise, my eyes weren’t my main worry. I certainly had concerns about my eyes going into the trip and how they could react to travel. But they weren’t entirely on the forefront until they began their downward spiral once more.

What these last few months have taught me is to expect the worst and hope for the best. It’s a weird way to live but it’s better to be mentally prepared for something to go wrong so that when it does, I can tread through rocky waters as calmly as possible. And when something does go wrong, I try to find the good in those situations. Things could be worse than they are. At least I can see out of both eyes. This is a difficult moment but it won’t least forever.

The Purple Tulip

The purple tulip arrived a week ago
and will not leave. I glare at it through
a mirror reflection, trying to comprehend
how it might have appeared at this time
eight days ago. No one warned me
I would receive a tulip. Everyone I ask
doesn't seem to have an answer on
where it came from or why it's here.
The bright purple faded a bit within
a few hours of appearing. The purple
stem now has some red in it. It's too soon
to say what this plant is or if it means
anything at all.

Time is My Only Healer

"We will just wait," my doctor reassures me at the end of another long visit.

The limited resources I have to aid my symptoms 
cause more damage than improvement.

So I accept what I cannot change
and wait for change to occur.

I just got my vision back after months of fuzziness,
oh what it's like to see clearly, such a wonderful thing.

With new glasses, my vision is close to what it was
before it drifted away without saying goodbye.

I accept this knowing my vision will likely shift
once again within the next few months.

As I wait for time to go by, I thank modern medicine
for relieving me from my personal hell for the moment.

These obstacles I face have no solution or cure,
the only thing I have on my side is time.

In time, this disease will pass thru my body
and one day it will become a memory.

There's no telling when that will happen,
every person who has this is completely different.

One year, two years, will eventually
blend together in my depths of my mind.

Hello Stranger

I wake up in the morning and do not feel like myself.
My body aches in unfamiliar ways.
The joints in my hands crack,
my right thumb somehow feels unnerved.
The muscles in my back and neck haven’t
been the same since experiencing multiple panic attacks.

I look in the mirror and do not recognize myself. 
My cheeks are puffy, resembling a chipmunk,
reminding me of when I had my jaw surgery.
My eyes are strange, for my top lids are pulled back,
giving me an unwanted stare I don’t realize I have.
The puffy pockets underneath my eyes indicate
swelling that somewhat subsides by the time I say goodnight.

I look out onto the day and everything has changed.
My vision has been on the decline 
for the last two months and has suddenly
taken a nose dive into the great unknown.
I can’t see much beyond twelve feet,
it’s like looking into a fish bowl,
everything is fuzzy or blurry or double. 

I see double if I look up and tilt my chin down.
My reality shifts into two, pulling apart from one
another like something is breaking from being 
overstretched, people often look like their souls
are leaping out of their bodies like fading ghosts.
This has been occurring since October, it seems like
a lifetime ago and yet it’s still jarring every time
I watch something transform into perspectives
no one else can see. People often have four
eyes, which is always the most alarming.

I haven’t felt like myself in a long while. 
This temporary normal that’s constantly shifting
will never feel normal. I woke one morning
and everything had changed without a warning.
I’m still process everything that has happened,
it’s overwhelming and terrifying to have no
control over what is going on with your own body.

I just want to see again. More than anything,
I want to have my vision back. 
I want to be able to see things far away
without fuzziness or double preventing me
from appreciating the beauty around me.
I want to walk around without feeling
my depth perception being off.
I want to be less sensitive to bright lights.
I want to look up with my eyes 
instead of craning my poor neck. 
I want to not feel my eyes focusing.
I want to no longer feel eye strain.
I want to no longer feel like my eyes are buzzing.

I didn’t realize how much I took my eyes
for granted until things unexpectedly shifted.
Though my viewpoint tends to focus on
the negative since they’re more overwhelming,
there are a few shining spots in all this chaos.
My eyes are not budging out of their sockets.
Though my eyes are sitting in different places,
it can go unnoticed if you don’t know it.
They may look a little different and certainly I can tell,
it’s not my biggest problem by any means.

I have a prism on one of my lens that corrects
the double vision when I look forward.
I don’t know what I would do without it. 
The support I have from my family is unconditional,
they continue to help me through this process
as we figure out the best avenue to take 
to relieve the discomfort so I can move forward.