The Prospect of Fixing Things

8th grade - just before getting contacts

I was in fourth grade when I became four-eyed. I wore glasses every day until eighth grade when I got my first pair of contacts. I wore contacts for more than half my life until my eyes couldn’t bear the irritation and then started wearing glasses again almost every day.

For years I dreamed of getting my eyes corrected surgically. I discussed it with many who did and praised the results. “Life-altering.” “Best decision of my life.” “Worth every penny.”

There was a concern for me because I heard those with an astigmatism might not be a candidate. I was also distracted with more important things like three little ones running around the house with a continuous rotation of needing my attention.

Then about a year ago I took the plunge and went for a consultation for LASIK. I was interested, but didn’t know if it would work for my eyes.

I got the thumbs up. No problem. They could do the procedure and bring my eyesight to 20/20. “What date are you available?”

I made an appointment and drove home. I had about an hour’s drive and on the way I started to let this sink in. I was going to be able to see. I would wake up and see. I wouldn’t have to feel awkward wearing glasses. I wouldn’t have to deal with contacts and irritation and supplies. No more worry about the expense, or insurance coverage or prescriptions or keeping up with it all. I would just open my eyes and be on my merry way.

I hadn’t before let myself really consider what it would be like. I’d been doing it for as long as I could remember. I was self-conscious about it and it was a nuisance, but it’s what I needed to do so I could see. I didn’t know anything else and for the first time I started to get excited about life with eyes that worked.

And then it hit me. It hit me like a frying pan smacked right in the middle of my face.

Caleb.

If I could be this joyful about getting my blurry vision corrected, the depth of the elation at the prospect of getting his pancreas repaired would have to be at least a hundredfold of what I was feeling.

My joy went to sorrow and I wept the rest of the way home. I felt guilty about having the option to fix my broken organs when Caleb, and so many others, do not. I considered not doing it as an act of solidarity – if pancreas’ can’t be fixed then neither can my eyes. But logic won out over emotion and I went through with it.

I can see now. For a year I have woken up and gone on my merry way. It’s nice and I am happy for it. But my joy about it has never been what it was for those brief moments on the ride home from the consultation. It is neither life-altering nor the best decision of my life. Whenever I think about it, my thoughts are always directed to what cannot yet be fixed.

Until all pancreas’ can be made to properly secrete insulin, I will not feel celebratory about my vision. I want for Caleb what I felt for those few moments on that ride. I want that for all those with diabetes.

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10 thoughts on “The Prospect of Fixing Things

  1. And this is why i think you are such an amazing person! A terrific mother, a wonderful D advocate and all around warm, caring person. Thanks so much for sharing. And as one of those with a pancreas that needs repair I don’t deny you your vision. I would do it too if I could just afford it!

  2. This is a great post, great sentiment. I have had somewhat similar feelings – if we can fix eyes (eyes!) what about my pancreas? However, being the one with the broken pancreas my thought process is more like “hell, if I can’t fix my pancreas may as well fix my eyes!”. I haven’t actually done it yet, but I think I want to.

  3. You are so incredibly insightful. I truly believe that our kids (all of those with diabetes) will get to share that same feeling within our lifetime.

  4. My goodness, Lila looks so much like you! It does suck that there are far more urgent and life threatening issues that can’t be fixed, but don’t feel guilt over fixing something that can. Without putting in/taking out contacts, buying all the solutions, etc, you gotta admit that;s a good thing. I almost take it for granted now and can hardly remember the time when the huge alarm clock numbers next to my head were unreadable. It’s ok to celebrate the little things and continue to strive for a fix for the big things!

  5. This has touched my heart and I’m left weeping. Our kids needing a cure for D can really put things into perspective. Thank you for sharing.

  6. first i was all :)
    then i was all :(
    now i just wanna hug you.
    and tell you how RAD those 80′s glasses are.

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