I went to a new clinic with a new doctor today... for very good reason. Last year the eye doctor I had been seeing for several years did his examination before my eyes were fully dilated! Not good or thorough at all. I didn't realize until I got out to my car after the appointment, then didn't bother dealing with the hassle of calling back and trying to explain the doctor was not trustworthy in his care, etc. I held my breath and hoped for the best these last 12+ months.
I can always be a little apprehensive seeing a new eye doctor, especially with how absolutely critical these appointments are for us as individuals living with diabetes and some not as positive experiences outlining my past. After last year's appointment didn't go so well, I asked for a recommendation to a new eye doctor from my family doctor at a recent appointment.
When I called, the eye doctor he recommended did not have an opening until September! As a Type 1, already a few months overdue for my annual eye visit, this would not cut it. I asked if any other doctor possibly had a sooner opening and explained that I was a Type 1 for 27 years and that this appointment was important. Thankfully they fit me in with a different doctor and I only had to wait a few weeks. Which also made me feel cautious. Is this doctor as good if he only had a few week wait verses the other doctor with an excellent reputation and a several month wait?!?
How cool is this? Well, today, the doctor himself came out to get me, did the full exam (what the tech always does!! You know... 1 or 2 & the glaucoma bit with the blue light) and just stayed with me chatting the entire time until my eyes were dilated and he could complete his comprehensive exam!! Can you believe it? I have never had anyone but a technician do this prep work for the doctor. He was so friendly and wonderful. I really lucked out!! And his examination was extremely thorough which feels very reassuring. I've had doctors in the past whiz through this part which never feels good, and leaves me wondering, "Did they miss anything!?!"
He said usually the tech would do the prep work for his exam but as she was with another patient, he thought he would just get me himself to stay on schedule. And because he enjoyed chatting with me so much is the reason he just stayed with me until my eyes were dilated! I tend to ask a lot of questions and be kind of chatty sometimes too... :)
One last thing. I asked him if he usually asks what a Type 1 or Type 2 patient's A1c is as he didn't ask me about my diabetes control when going over new patient history. He said he usually does but he could tell from talking to me that I take excellent care of myself and didn't need to ask. What a compliment! Adding that my 7.0 or less A1c (ballpark, it's been a little higher sometimes after illness) that I work hard to maintain should keep me eye complication free another 39 years! (my age). Yay! Here's for hoping.
But now I can give a big exhale and release any concern for one more year... For one more year I am in the clear and I am so thankful. Giving myself a BIG pat on the back (I truly am right now. haha) for all the hard work I do taking care of myself to get these results. Go Cynthia!! :) Sound funny? You (non D's) try keeping your blood sugars "in the box" (between 80-180 on a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose meter) each day. Not easy and I'm proud!!
One last friendly reminder. Not to scare you, but because I care. Do whatever you can to get your A1c as near to or below as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) adult guideline of 7.0 or less (7.5 or below for children under age 19). He said that some of the patients he sees that run their A1c's in the 9, 10 and 11 range do encounter problems with their eyes. And that he has seen patients go blind before from Type 1 including one that was only 30 years old. In his 20's he did not take care of himself at all.
Thankfully, he said they can usually give injections and do laser to save eyesight. We know the best way to prevent ever getting in that scary boat is by taking excellent care of ourselves. I achieve the results I do through a balanced diet (lower carb works for me + an organic whole foods diet), daily exercise, 8-10 hours of sleep every night, working through my emotions and the health of my body, mind and spirit with a specialized holistic healthcare team, keeping stress in check and scheduling in plenty of down time to recharge. After all, I am an introvert. So this just comes with the territory!
I know these annual visits to the eye doctor can be scary. And that sometimes even doing the best job we can, we aren't necessarily in a safe-zone from developing eye or any other kind of complication at some point. Just do the best you can. We are all a work in progress. Ask for help if you need it to get things under control or be a healthier you. And do not live with fear.
Live each day to the fullest. You are amazing and this is no easy job living with diabetes.
How long have you been with your eye doctor? What do you like about them? Have you been in for your annual eye visit lately? If not, please schedule soon!
In Peace & Wellness,
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