Tag Archives: wisdom

NEW CANE (an aid for Ocular Myasthenia Gravis)

I shopped online for a cane to help me deal with the double vision and altered depth perception that I experience as a symptom of Myasthenia Gravis (MG). I was thrilled to find a metallic purple one. PURPLE CANE, PURPLE CANE! When told my husband about my find, he said “Didn’t Prince use that for the title of a song?”.  Now I cannot get the tune out of my head when I refer to the cane. But I will try, so that I can move on with this article.

Here is a reminder: The nickname for MG is Snowflake Disease. This is because symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms can also change quickly within the same person. If you or the person that you care for has this disease, you may find yourself nodding with recognition of my experience. Perhaps your journey with MG is different than mine. My purpose in writing these articles is to help fellow snowflakes cope with challenges.

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The above photo shows what I experience as I approach a single step or curb.  I have been coping by tapping the back of my heel to the structure to determine where it is. One day I had the thought of how handy it would be to tap with a stick. Then I burst out laughing. They call that a cane! I was not inventing a new contraption. My neuro opthamologist absolutely agreed with the cane decision. He said, “The last thing you need is a fall”.

The medical term for double vision is diplopia. Diplopia and ptosis (drooping eyelids) are often the early signs of Myasthenia Gravis.  This was my situation for two years before my other muscles were effected.  I experience multiple vision. I see several images rather than simply double. Usually my multiple images are vertical (side by side). Sometimes they are horizontal (on top of each other). When this happens together my brain gets so jumbled. Our eyes are simply the camera lens. Vision happens in our brains. The jumbling causes anxiety. I have learned that daily meditation, mindfulness, and other relaxation habits can help ward off the anxiety caused by the visual disturbance. I need to do this on a regular basis, rather than wait for the anxiety to arrive.

My eye Doc is wise. He schedules his MG patients for late afternoons and early evenings. Double vision is worse after using one’s eyes for a while. MG vision problems are least apparent early in the day. May I suggest that patients find a neuro opthamologist if they have MG. This is a specialist with experience in treating this rare disease.

This impairment interferes with socialization. During a recent visit with friends, three people on a sofa suddenly became six people on a sofa. Rather than talking about my illness, I try to compensate. It becomes difficult to know where to look. I find myself feeling embarrassed and inferior. I am learning that when I do share my experience, I find that most people understand. Some do not, but that is about them and not about me.

I believe my new amazing purple cane will boost my confidence.  When I loose my depth perception, I will tap my beautiful purple stick, rather than turning back in terror and feeling embarrassed.

I am so fortunate that my double vision begins at four feet and further. I am able to write, use digital devices, read, and make art. I have recently started to have some close up diplopia. Closing my eyes for a while helps. Closing one eye or wearing a patch always helps. My Doc feels confident that he will be able to treat this with added prisms in my glasses if it progresses.

In the mean time, I am joyfully and gratefully bopping around with my purple cane. By the way, yes, I do have that Prince song amidst my music.

 

 

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AGING WISDOM

FullSizeRender (2)There is a wisdom that can be obtained by aging that cannot be found any other way.  When I speak of aging, I use the word “old” quite freely. OLD is just as beautiful a word as YOUNG. An old face is just as beautiful as a young face.  Facial lines tell awesome stories of the journey.  Why would someone want these lines erased?

When was in my twenties, I facilitated a support group for older women.  I held these values about aging being a positive experience.  Several of my colleagues were pushing forty.  They had negative attitudes about getting old.  They said to me, “Just wait til it happens to you..you will see.”  They were so wrong.  Decades later, I continue to celebrate aging.  I encourage everyone, young and old, to celebrate aging.

As my career evolved, I presented many  workshops about aging.  Agism is a growing topic.  Why? It sells products.  Agist ads tout that if someone wears goop on their face, they will look young.  People are told that they should inject their skin to remove their beautiful story lines.  The anti aging products and procedures are  expensive. Ongoing  brainwashing by the media has caused people to want these creams and needles.

As an old person, I see it as my responsibility to model and point out the joys of getting older.  I frequently tell young adults not to buy the propaganda they hear about aging.  I hope they will spread this information.  The wisdom that can be achieved by aging cannot be achieved in another way.  We cannot google it.  When I think of the insight and wisdom that I have acquired each decade, I can only imagine the insights that await.  I find it energizing to know that there is so much left for me to learn.

Did you know that in some Native American nations, a person is not considered an adult until age 51?  It is considered normal to be indecisive as the individual travels around the medicine wheel.  People under age 51 are described as not knowing enough to give advice.  After 51, we become wisdom keepers.  As wisdom keepers, it becomes our responsibility to pass along what we know.

 

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