[personal profile] damont
For the handful of you who wouldn't have read about this elsewhere sooner...

The following is in part a short update on the major thing that's been happening to me over the last several months -- which also explains a large part of why for several months I've barely been online, much less keeping up with social media -- and in part a plea for help from those who can.

At the end of Pennsic in August 2016, I started to lose my eyesight. I didn't recognize the symptoms of what was happening; for the last three days of Pennsic it seemed like I was seeing just fine but maybe through an extra layer of something. I didn't have problems with acuity (except that my prescription might have needed updating, but that had been true for at least a year).

I ran into car trouble on Final Sunday, which took until Monday afternoon to get fixed, and so I only made it as far as Frederick MD that night. Finally got back to Chantilly Tuesday evening. On Wednesday I was on my way back to Frederick, almost there, when I started to lose my field of vision. It got bad enough that I texted Alys and said "I need the kid to bring you up here to drive me home." Which happened. The next morning I called my optometrist. Based on what I told him, he called a group of retina specialists close to me. They called me back and had me come in that afternoon (Thursday). That doctor booked me for surgery the following morning.

Apparently I'd already lost most of the sight in my left eye and was compensating with my right... and then my right eye started to go as well. The short and brutal diagnosis: detached retinas in both eyes, and a dark cataract in the left eye.

The retina doc I'd seen first was on the verge of retirement and not doing surgery anymore. The surgeon who took over my case is really good. To save as much of my vision as possible, he went in and did repairs and reattachment on the right retina. That was surgery #1.

About 6 weeks later (end of September/beginning of October), another piece of the same retina (outside the original repair) also detached, and a second retina repair on that eye was required. That was surgery #2. Recovery was slower the second time around. Also, I'd been warned after surgery #1 that repairing a detached retina commonly causes a cataract in that eye to happen, so eventually I'd have to get the right cataract done; but first, if the right retina stayed put, attention to the left eye was needed.

In order to see the left retina well enough to operate on it, first the left cataract had to be replaced. So that was surgery #3, which took place on Election Day in November. (Knowing the date in advance, we qualified to vote early, so we did.) The cataract doc says that was one of the most difficult cataracts he's ever had to work on, because the detached retina was so close to the lens that it was very tricky going to make sure he didn't hit it. But he managed, and got the replacement lens just where he wanted it.

A month later the retina doc was able to go in and do what repairs he could to the left retina, which was surgery #4. The left retinal detachment was older (at least 2.5 years old and probably more like 3-4 years old), and thus more complex, and the retina was already scarred from having been torn almost completely away from its attach points. The scarring was removed and the retina repaired and reattached, but I was warned that in a few months this retina was likely to scar again and redetach.

So much for "a few months"... 4 weeks after surgery #4 the left retina had started scarring and redetaching again. This led to surgery #5, which just happened at the beginning of February.

I saw the cataract doc on the 14th and have scheduled the right cataract operation -- surgery #6 -- for just after the Vernal Equinox in March. And there's going to be one more operation -- hopefully ONLY one more! -- on the left retina later on.

All these surgeries cost, of course, and most of it is out of pocket. Plus I am unable to work during all this -- much of the recovery so far has involved extremely poor vision, and I still don't see well enough to drive. Therefore the non-medical bills are all past due as well. So here is a link to my GoFundMe page.

Please, if you can, contribute what you can, but please don't feel guilty if you can't. Also, whether or not you donate, please *please* share the link to my fundraiser, to the extent that you have the spoons to do so; public sharing is fine. Many hands make light work... and ideally I think 1,000 individual contributors would probably be enough to make my goal.

Thank you to everyone who has helped already, and thanks in advance to those that will help in future.
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