Many ask, how did I know something was wrong? How did I know what to do? How was I diagnosed?
March 19, 2017 – it was an amazing day in Colorado. Jamie was in town and we spent most of the day basking in the sun watching my new home be built. I remember asking her to look at my eye as my left eye looked a bit droopy. It had been off and on blurry for a while now, but it was stress related, right? I mean, I am a mom of three active yet ornery kids living in a small gross two-bedroom apartment as we built our home. I work full time and just getting through a day is hard enough. It was only stress or may be I needed glasses. I was going to be 35 this year and maybe my perfect 20/20 vision was not so perfect anymore. It’s weird looking back…a year + ago as my life was perfect and boring. I was healthy, happy (except when I had to deal with a few crappy subcontractors and the city we were building our house in) and nothing could get me down. Little did I know my world would be rocked and all the things I thought were ‘big’ were not so ‘big’ or important anymore.
The next morning Monday, March 20th, I woke up and something just seemed odd. Jamie returned to KC, I dropped the kids off at school and came home and jumped right on my computer to begin the day to day grind. Something kept feeling weird, I text my FAB5 gals asking if they had a good optometrist.Thinking how naïve I was to eye care I had no clue the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologists. After getting some recommendations, a friend started asking more questions. I tried to get into my PCP but I hadn’t seen her for a long while so back to being a new patient, I tried getting into an eye doc but again….no relationship established so I was weeks out to see a doc. My friend then encouraged me to head to the ER if I could drive. I remember laughing as yes, I am fine but ok I’ll go. I drove and walked into the ER explaining something is wrong with my eye. After a while they took me out for an eye test (you know the ones when you cover one eye and then read the letters). I covered my good eye and fell to my knees in tears…I could not see out of half my eye. It was like a curtain dropped. I went back to my room and the doctor came in. She started ordering all these scans and when she threw out a neuro scan I lost it again. My instant thought, I am dying..what about my kids, I have such great life I am only 34. I called Paul and told him to come right away. He soon arrived, and the doc did her own test on me. I was responding and strong and so she slowly took neuro off the table (phew, I am not not dying today) then did an ultrasound of my eye. Lindsay you have a detached retina she shared. I remember thinking that is weird but, ok, my dad had that and he is fine, ok I am not dying today, phew. We laugh and started asking how this could have happened. I did not remember getting hit and then we joked about Caden kicking me in his sleep. Living in our gross apartment, Caden jumped into bed with us a bunch. Don’t judge, we were in total survival mode.
We left the ER and headed to the ophthalmologists. The ER told me to head there and then he would refer me on, that was the fastest thing to do. We went and that doc confirmed the detached retina and sent me onto a retina specialist. My eyes were beyond dilated at this point, so Paul and I were laughing as I couldn’t see a thing and kept running into everything. We headed to the retina specialist and waited and waited. As we waited, this funny elderly lady came in. I still remember her so vividly and the funny mark she left on my life. She came in and sat down knocking over the indoor plant next to her. Her response, well I didn’t realize that was so close and she laughed, we all laughed. She proceeded to tell us how when she parks her car she has bad depth perception and will park and then be 5 feet away from where she should be. I remember leaning to Paul and saying…watch out, that will be me someday. I just never thought it would be so soon.
We waited and waited and finally the retina specialist would start to examine my eyes. He soon stopped and said, Lindsay…you do have a detached retina but it’s because you have a tumor in your eye making it detached. You have what we call ocular melanoma. I thought…that’s weird, you are in my eye and melanoma is on the skin, who is this doc? I then said, oh…that sounds serious – like a total dumb blonde. His response was, yes this is serious and then busted out the ‘c’ word. I fell again, WTF I don’t have cancer I am just stressed with a detached retina. He explained there two specialists in Denver that treat this, and he would refer me to them. I don’t remember what was said next but remember not being able to physically walk out of the office not even able to talk to my mom when Paul handed me the phone. Paul soon told me my parents would be arriving in the morning. I don’t remember anything the rest of the night except I have 3 kids I need to find my happy face for.
March 20, 2017, I went from dying to not dying to really dying. Would I make it through the night, the week, the year? Today was the day I found out I had cancer. Today my life changed forever, Paul’s life forever changed, my kids, my family, my friends.