Retinopathy and a good A1CSeptember 14, 2010
About six months ago, my optometrist found a cotton-wool spot in my eye and advised me to see a retina specialist. I slightly freaked out, but Dr. P assured me that it was harmless and it was a very common side-effect with those who have had diabetes for as long as I have. (I use the term “side-effect” rather than “complication” because it’s not quite a complication yet, but I’m hoping it won’t get to that.)
I asked my boss if he knew anyone, and he referred me to Dr. B. Dr. B specializes in the retina, and more specifically, he specializes in diabetic retinopathy. My first appointment with him absolutely freaked me out– he said he wasn’t worried about the retinopathy (“It’s normal for someone who’s had diabetes for 17 years”) but saw something else he was more concerned about. He told me to go upstairs to see Dr. T, a neuro-ophthalmologist, right away.
At this point, I was starting to have a panic attack. WTF was going on with my eyes?? You never get referred to another specialist that quickly unless something is wrong.
Turns out the nerves in my eyes are swollen. Dr. T said she couldn’t be sure if it was just how I was born or if it was truly a problem, so she scheduled me for an MRI (those things are freaky as hell, btw). The results ended up being that everything was fine, that’s how my nerves really look. Fat nerves, I guess.
Fast forward to yesterday, to my six-month follow up with Dr. B. He didn’t seem to agree with Dr. T’s assessment of the MRI scans. Then he said, “There is a little bit of hemorrhaging, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the diabetes, or because of your nerves.” He called it a pseudo tumor…and of course all I heard was TUMOR.
“Wait, what?! I have a tumor?!”
He assured me that it wasn’t a real tumor; that’s why they called it a pseudo tumor. And I thought, “Holy crap, can you call it something else?!”
Dr. B said that, at my next appointment with Dr. T, I needed to have a talk with her to see what was going on, what’s in the future, and what I should be doing.
So here’s my dilemma. One doctor says I’m okay; another says I’m not. One doctor is telling me that it’s hard to tell what’s going on with my eyes because of another problem. The other one is saying I’m fine. Who do I believe?
I saw my endo today and gave her an update on yesterday’s events and a quick recap of what happened six months ago. She agreed that the two conflicting opinions was a little strange, but everything seems okay otherwise. I don’t have floaters, or random flashes of light, or blurriness (aside from the blurriness due to my craptacular vision).
She also mentioned a study that I found kind of ironic: if a person goes from a high A1C and suddenly goes to a good one, it actually makes retinopathy worse. Makes no sense, but it is what it is. I told her that prior to going on the OmniPod, my A1C was in the mid 8’s. Six months after I switched, my A1C was 6.9, then it dropped to 6.5, hung out at 6.2 for a few months, and my most recent one is 6.1.
We’ll keep monitoring it. I’m hoping this really isn’t a serious issue, as both ophthalmologists are looking out for different things, but it’s really bugging me that two experts have conflicting assessments. Maybe I need to get a third opinion?
That being said, my endo visit today was a LOT better. My labs are good, my A1C is great (I’m still pushing for under 6, but hey, I’ll take 6.1), and everything is going well on the Ping. I do have a lot to work on in terms of getting in shape and losing weight before it’s time to think about a baby (and piling more weight on my body), so Lord help me with that. For some reason I think it’s easier to work on a stable A1C than it is to lose weight! O_o