"What do you mean I don't have enough tears?
I stared at the ophthalmologist for a moment. I'd gone in for a routine eye exam. Right before starting chemo I had noticed I had developed a bad habit of pulling off my uh...bifocals in order to see things better. Sigh. I'd delayed going in because like other things such as pregnancy, chemo does funny things to your eyes. There was no point getting a new prescription back then if I was going to have to change it a few months later, so I waited.
"Did you know people who have had chemo are much more prone to glaucoma than the generally population?"
"No." I retorted as I tried to slump down sullenly into my chair. That wasn't an easy thing to do when your chin and forehead are pressed up against a metal frame and your eyeballs are going through an exercise routine. Great. Was there anything I wasn't at risk for anymore? I mentally added glaucoma to my list of things to look out for.
I turned my attention back onto what my ophthalmologist was saying. "So, I'll be seeing you more frequently." What? More doctor appointment? Trying to schedule ordinary doctor appointments is hard enough when you're a teacher. Now I have to schedule appointments with my primary doctor three times a year, my oncologist three or more times a year, my oncology radiologist twice a year, my diabetic nutritionist four times a year, the diabetic RN as needed and now the ophthalmologist wanted to see me more often as well. Oh, I forgot, I have to see an RN trained in doing ports every 30 days so my port (which is left in for a year) can be flushed out so I don't get a blood clot.
"Are you using eyedrops?"
"No." I mumbled. "I did when I was on chemo but I don't seem to need them now."
My ophthalmologist shook her head. "You don't have enough tears."
I stared at her for a moment. Then I said defensively, "I have tears." I certainly had shed enough so I ought to know.
"They were funny tears during chemo. They seemed oily or at least I thought they were like that."
She nodded. "Your tears contain oil amongst other things. When you were going through chemo the composition ratio changed. That's why they felt strange. They were oily."
"They're not like that now. " I said. "They're back to normal now and..." I stopped as she shook her head.
"They may seem normal to you because your eyes had become so dry that you had become used to it. They're better now but they still aren't where they should be. You don't have enough tears to cover your eyeballs properly and that will lead to trouble later. It should eventually correct itself but we need to do something about it now. Otherwise you are in danger of injuring your eyes and doing permanent damage. With the onset of a cold and dry Minnesota winter, we need to act now."
The solution is simple. Artificial tears. In order for my eye to function properly, in order for it to stay healthy, I have to have an adequate amount of tears.
So often we think of tears as being a negative thing. We forget that tears are very important. In addition to protecting our eyes they also serve as a way to release toxins in the body caused by stress. We women in particular can attest to the benefits of having a good cry!
We often complain when God allows us to experience things which cause us to shed tears. Maybe, just maybe in some way it does us good in the long run. While we may be blinded to the fact when the tears are flowing, they may actually be helping our spiritual eyes to see much better in the future.
Thanks for the reminder of how we need our tears. I heard that crying is actually good for you because it cleans your eyes. I will continue to pray for you during this recovery time! Be Blessed dear sister!