Part 1 of 2 I’ve gone through most of my life feeling off-kilter. Growing up as the “baby” of the family I’ve simply thought I was spoiled and needed to grow up! However, after two failed marriages and on track to ruin my third, I finally agreed to attend counseling. Thankfully, that therapist helped identify I had been living with undiagnosed depression for most of my life.
I consulted my doctor, we addressed my condition with medication, and all of the sudden (well, maybe more like a month’s time) I felt better. It was like night and day. Life isn’t perfect, however it does not feel like everything is hopeless every day. And, my husband definitely appreciated the change!
Now I could process thoughts, situations, relationships with a clearer mind. Things could be managed without instant negativity, defensiveness, doom. It did not change me to a “morning person”, but I didn’t wake up with dread at the thought of facing another day. My journey with depression using medication only, has been going on for about 13 years. Therapy had not been part of my whole healing… yet.
Cut to 2019 when an exciting new adventure would begin. I started feeling weakness in my eyes, while working on a long, intricate art project. Wearing magnifying eyewear doing detail work, I would remove the eyewear and my eyes would feel swollen and puffy with slight double-vision. I attributed it to the eyewear, as the project took me a long time (round two months) to complete. I brushed it off until March of 2020.
I had driven to Idaho to visit my daughter and grandsons, arriving with one of my eyelids slightly closed. My daughter also noticed it, but neither of us thought much of it. After a week of visiting, it was time to drive back home. The same eyelid was still a big droopy, but no other issues. That is until I got further into my drive. It would become very droopy then reopen, become droopy again, reopen and kept doing that for a bit.
When I arrived near Marsing, Idaho I wanted to stop at the Lizard Butte site. It’s a big rock mountain with a giant white cross at the top. Getting a photograph of the Snake River from the top of that mountain would be amazing. Okay, it’s probably not technically a mountain, but that day it felt like one!
I drove into the open gate and followed the dirt road to a small stadium area at the base of the hill. The terrain was rocky and a bit challenging to navigate. I am a clumsy person at times, however this had me feeling like I had no coordination at all.
At a quarter of the way up my breathing was labored, more so than if I took a short sprint to catch up with someone. In fact, trying to suck in air I was gasping audibly. Yet, I pushed through and made it to the top. Once there, I stopped and waited for my breath to return to normal, simply attributing this struggle to being quite badly out of shape. Telling myself “I’m old, out of shape, the air is probably thinner in Idaho”, anything that seemed to make sense. Then, looking up and out into the horizon and taking in the gorgeous scenery of the area and the Snake River, I decided the climb was worth it; gasping lungs and all.
After taking my photos, I made it down the hill back to my vehicle. I was met by an older man with a pristine white beard. He asked what I was doing, very friendly, however explained that I should not be there. I told him I simply wanted a photo from the top and apologized for trespassing. He remained polite and friendly stating he was the area caretaker and the gates should not have been open.
We chatted for a while and I learned all about the Lizard Butte hill, the cross, and he area all around. He was descendent of people migrating from the other side of the Mississippi and East Coast looking for their fortunes and Promised Lands. This “brief” pit stop cost me about an hour of travel time, however it was a special encounter I continue to enjoy reminiscing of.
So I continue my journey back home and long story short, my eyelid had nearly drooped to close and site had progressed to having double-vision. With no real options, I continued my drive home with extreme caution. No one was harmed in that drive!
Now I had to find out what was wrong. I called my optometrist, explained my symptoms, but they had no information, or seemingly, interest in helping me figure it out. Next I called my regular doctor and was told they “leave the eye issues to the eye doctors”, also not showing much interest in helping seek out answers. Soooo, where do I go from here?!
I told my husband, I had an upcoming appointment with my ophthalmologist, and her being the most amazing doctor, she will either solve the mystery, or get me on track