Eye surgery, a year later

After last week’s disappointment I told myself there was no way I wouldn’t run yesterday morning. I got my clothes picked out the night before, made sure my fuel belt was out and got a good eight hours of sleep in.

If any of you thought there was going to be a plot twist where I didn’t actually run this weekend, you were wrong.

I’m used to heading west on Broad, then north towards Ohio State’s campus. This time I didn’t feel like going that way and dealing with foot traffic, so I decided to run east on Broad towards Bexley, do a loop there from Broad/Parkview/Main/Drexel back to Broad, then head south and west to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Livingston. From Livingston I’d pick up High and run north until meeting Broad and heading back to my starting point.

I base a lot of my routes off sections of the Columbus Marathon route, so I wasn’t running in any new territory yesterday. I knew where to anticipate the hills and long stretches, and for the most part the run was supposed to be an easy-ish one. My pace once I was finished was 9:48 minutes/mile, which is pretty standard.

But physically, I felt like some chained an anvil around my waist and I was dragging the thing behind me. It was hard and definitely felt it last night in bed.

However, physical aches and pains aside, emotionally and mentally I felt very at ease. I was thinking about how this was my first December in Columbus where I wasn’t scared. I’m not going to pretend December doesn’t get stressful – figuring out what to buy people, time crunches, social expectations, etc. – but this has been the first year it’s not killing me.

In 2015 I had just moved to Columbus for a new job. I didn’t get a paycheck from mid-November to December 21st, so my contribution to Christmas was limited. Then in 2016 I was unemployed and going through that battle of job searching, trying not to go crazy from the worry about money and navigating unhelpful and unsolicited advice (no, you cannot “bug the shit” out of a hiring manager to stand out and show them how badly you want the job.)

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my eye surgery. Three years prior my left eyes crossed in. No one could tell me why it happened and the doctors I had at the time were adamant I not get the surgery to correct it because “eyes cross back over” or the other one would cross in to compensate.

So I spent three years with a jacked up eye that no one could explain.

Eventually I got with my current optometrist, who gave me a referral to a surgeon colleague. Dr. Cardiff, my regular doctor, was concerned the eye crossing was a result of some neurological damage or a brain tumor because eyes don’t randomly cross in on an otherwise healthy 22-year-old. So on to Dr. McGregor I went.

May 2017 until my surgery on December 8, 2017 was a nerve-racking time, but I trusted Dr. McGregor. She and Dr. Cardiff told me that eye surgery would not info itself or make the good eye turn in, and if anything correcting the strabismus in my left eye should improve the vision all over. I immediately trusted Dr. McGregor as soon as I met her, so I decided to go ahead with the procedure.

So here I am a year later. The vision did improve, including restoring the 3D vision I never realized I lost. I’m wearing contacts now, which is easier for running and daily life than glasses, and I actually enjoy playing with eye makeup now that everything is in the same direction. Life finally feels normal, as though it’s where it should have been the entire time.

Dr. McGregor works at Pediatric Opthalmologists, which is located at Nationwide Children’s. Every time I run past the hospital I can’t help but smile in her general direction, and that’s what I did yesterday morning as well.

I never realized how much of my life I lost when the eye turned in. But now that it’s been corrected for a year I also can’t get over how much I’ve gained.

That’s why I run and raise money for Nationwide Children’s. I got myself and my life back. I want those kids to experience the same.

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