Anxiety: Crying Over Pork Chops

I failed at life today…okay, that is a gross overstatement. But, I did fail at dinner. Tonight will go down in infamy as the night mom had a major meltdown over undercooked pork chops.

That is how anxiety works…repressing and living in denial until that last, most of the time, small drop causes the glass to spill over. The first time I had a panic attack, it was triggered by the fact that I had accidentally shrunk the ironing board cover in the dryer and it wouldn’t fit.

If I am completely honest with myself, I could have easily thrown the pork chops back on the stove. The thing that tipped the emotional tide over was that I hadn’t noticed that the pork chops were undercooked. It was the first time that my ‘new’ eyesight had completely failed me without my anticipation of it.

Since having retina reattachment surgery and a laser procedure for both of my eyes; I have been told that my eyesight, at best, with corrective lenses will be 20/40. (That is as long as I won’t need any other surgeries or procedures). This means that what someone with perfect eyesight can see the same line on the vision chart at 40 feet when I can only see it clearly at 20 feet…and that is when I am wearing glasses/contacts. When I am without corrective tools, I am considered legally blind in my right eye.

For the rest of my life, I will continue to be seen by a surgical retina specialist. Every 6 months I will have to spend at least 3 hours with my eyes dilated, and living in fear that my retinas are detaching again while the specialist moves each eye around (which hurts like a bitch) to examine my retinas. My new narrative is a deep, nagging worry that someday I will be completely blind.

Retina detachment is common…but not for a 35 year old with no other known health issues. Dual retina detachment is even less common. When I spend 3 hours at the specialist, I am by far the youngest in the waiting room, by at least 30 years. It is an uncomfortable situation. Receiving looks from others, where I can completely read the expressions on their faces (at least until my pupils are so blown out that I can’t see more than 5 feet in front of me). The few times I have brought the amigos with me, I have been stared at even more. The one time Yo went with me, he even had to explain to everyone he saw that his mommy’s eyes were broken.

I know, some may be thinking, ‘it’s just your eyesight…there are much worse things.’ I completely agree! I am not dying. I don’t have to live with a disease that has horrendous side effects. I am not going to look disfigured from retina detachment.

But losing your eyesight, hearing, a limb, etc…it causes an individual to think about what they had and now don’t. When I am still, and not preoccupied, I sometimes catch myself making mental lists of everything I have lost/will lose with my eyes. Knowing that I may not be able to look at my handsome husband’s face, or see the joy in my children’s eyes as they blow out their birthday candles, or the excitement on their faces Christmas morning, or watch my children walk across the stage to receive their college diplomas, or see how beautiful a future granddaughter’s eyes are, or drive, or watch the rainfall…

…Or know that I will still be able to do certain things, but not without great effort or change…cooking, playing the piano, running a race, or even just bathing my child. Goob isn’t walking quite yet…he is SO close, but every time he doesn’t take a step by himself, all I can think is ‘what if my retinas detach again and I become blind and miss his first steps?’

This is the new normal for me. I am struggling not to let these fears (most very irrational), consume me. My deep seeded stubbornness won’t let me succumb to them 99% of the time, but then that last drop that spills the water over the edge occurs.

I know that some day I will make the decision not to let myself live in fear of the what-if. But today was not that day.

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