Unrelated condition could force change

As a hardheaded and independent type, I don’t like outside forces making decisions for me. But that’s a situation I face over the next couple of weeks.

This blog has been all about my cancer treatment. And, that continues to evolve in a positive direction. I will see my lead oncologist this week for the first time since late May so checking in will be a good thing. Plus, as I have written here before, I have one antibiotic that I think is really effecting my energy level in a negative way. I plan to have a conversation about that as well.

I always thought the cancer or cancer treatment could impact my decision on when to retire. That could still happen, I suppose, but another culprit seems to have moved to the front of the line. I have struggled with sharp vision for 3-4 years. It’s a long story. The shortened version is I’ve had two local optometrists make five sets of lenses over the past three years and none give me sharp vision. They would zero in on the correction in the office, get it just right, then they make the lenses and I can’t clearly see.

can-glasses-correct-visionSo I visited the IU School of Optometry in indy a couple of weeks ago and the head of the residency program detected an unusual cataract that can cause this condition. I’m doing a follow up with him this week.

The problem is my close vision – sitting in front of a computer screen all day – is terrible and uncomfortable. It is not a new problem but has worsened over the past six months to year. I got a pair of ‘reading glasses’ last week made after my IU visit and they’re no better – if not worse – than my local optometrist prescribed.

I’ve been back to work for two weeks and struggled – it’s not sustainable. I really had not planned on retiring until sometime in 2018 or maybe even mid 2019. But the vision problem has to be resolved.

I’m going to learn this week about the removal of a premature cataract. I don’t know the issues with that yet. And, the doctor said the condition could be causing my problem but he didn’t think the cataract was big enough to cause the problem to the extent I describe. So even if the cataract can be removed, there is no guarantee it solves the problem.

Now the few folks I’ve tried to explain this condition to immediately ask if my cancer treatment has had an impact. Strong chemo can blur your vision and that happened with me in 2015 and again this year. But that didn’t last very long either time. I had this condition before I was first diagnosed with cancer in April 2015.

I can use my laptop for short periods of time as I am in writing this blog post. But as a writer most of my day at Purdue is spent in front of a large computer screen. I have blown up the browser size so the type is really big but it’s still not sharp. At work, I can really only see the screen by taking my glasses off and moving in way too close. Not only is that uncomfortable but it tires me – when I’m already fighting fatigue from the stem cell transplant process

I not happy with the thought that a health issue – my vision – would force me into early retirement. There are things I can do if I want to continue to work but not the things I’ve done all my career.

So this blog has been mostly upbeat because of the continued success of my autologous stem cell transplant. This post is a bit of a downer. I can’t say I’m down or depressed at this turn of events but I am angry an outside factor may force my hand instead of making the decision on my timetable. I can retire if necessary and go sell wine in a retail setting – or about any job that doesn’t require all day in front of a computer. I have planned for retirement; I can do this if necessary. I would still like to work, doing something even part time, a few more years.

I’m anxious to learn this week if I have some options in correcting my vision and making the retirement decision when I feel the time is right. Whether I continue my work at the PU News Service or go sell wine, I’m also anxious to see if my oncologist can help me with an energy boost.

Quite a week ahead.


About Howard

After most of my career in the newspaper business I joined higher education, working in Public Affairs. I write mostly about value wine. I have now taken early retirement and work part-time in a small boutique, retail wine shop in Indianapolis
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