I have had a headache for the past few days that won’t respond to Advil. Yesterday my eyes started looking red and bloodshot and my vision was a little wavy in my right eye. All telltale signs that uveitis was returning.
This morning I drove directly to the eye clinic and snagged a 9 a.m. appointment. Long story short, I have five to six inflammatory cells in my eyes indicating the beginnings of yet another flare-up of uveitis. My eyes are “smoldering” the doctor explained. Time to go back on the steroid eye drops, this time only four times a day rather than every hour like past flares.
Today the doctor also diagnosed me with small cataracts – a shitty side-effect of long-term steroid use. These won’t go away on their own and will only grow worse until I must have them removed. I’m 30. This is too fucking young for cataracts.
I’m so frustrated. I know exactly why I’m flaring – my body has been stressed to the max from IF treatments. My mind has been a disaster from the pressures of baby making coupled with the fact that I cannot maintain my yoga practice (this was really instrumental in my recovering from the last major flares and keeping the uveitis at bay).
I can’t seem to catch a break. My life has been non-stop sickness and doctors since last November. Each day is punctuated by multiple checks of my body: are my eyes dilating still, does my head hurt, am I seeing double, are my legs numb or swollen, how are my ovaries feeling, why is my uterus cramping, am I feeling swelling in my hands… the daily checks are endless and mind numbing. They are constant reminders that while on the outside I look “normal,” I am not.
I’m broken beyond repair. I leave doctors scratching their heads and taking the “best guess.” I am crouching in the bushes at the door of total blindness, hoping it does not catch me and snatch the precious gift of sight from me forever.
Yesterday I read an article about in vitro meat. All I could think while reading is was: I feel like in vitro meat. Everything about my being has been moved around, extracted, put under the microscope, cultured and inspected. Now, assuming this new flare does not cancel it, even my eggs will be extracted and put under surveillance. Like over protective parents, lab technicians will spy on the eggs as they have their first “date” with my husband’s sperm. If things go well, they will put the new couple back inside me and then spy via blood tests to see how they are doing.
I have not felt sick about IVF until today. Much like in vitro meat, IVF is disturbing. It is unnatural and freakish. It is also my only hope. But at what price? In vitro meat is challenging to create, comes at a high cost and may not taste the same as the real thing. Will my in vitro fertilization be the same? It will be challenging to perform, costly to our trust and potentially produce a flavorless (unviable) pregnancy?
And what if it does more harm? What if it makes this mysterious autoimmune condition worse? What if my greed to have a baby takes my sight in return? The doctors seem confident that everything will be fine. They say all is well and we should have a baby (do IVF) now before it is too late. But do they really know? I’m having a mild flare this time, but what if the next is far worse?
My mind is a swirl of thoughts and my heart a fury of emotions.