keratoconus III

free verse (audio) poem

Scleral contacts in and headed to my optometrist appointment for a cornea check & second opinion on Corneal Collagen Cross-linking. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
keratoconus III by Tremaine L. Loadholt

if you are lucky — blessed — you have 
someone monitoring your health
as best as they can. 
if you’re falling off in any way,
they’re there to pick you back up
and remind you, “There’s still
living to do.”

I now know the importance of
keeping my eyes shielded for 
as long as I can.
wearing scleral contacts for at least
ten hours per day has helped my
left eye, however, my right
eye is progressing.
according to my optometrist, I’m 
still in a range she thinks is “gradual”
and nothing to be concerned about
surgically, just yet.

she agrees with me that we 
should allow the additional six months
and reassess in November to see
where I stand. 
will my sight
continue to betray me or
will it slow its pace in progression
and stave off surgical procedures
for a few years or more?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

she also broke down Corneal Collagen Cross-linking
to me in a way that didn’t terrify me or
cause me to fear attending anymore 
ophthalmology follow-up appointments.
she smiled gingerly and said, “I hate to say
this, but most surgeons are trained to give
you the worst-case scenario, and then I 
have to . . . clean up the mess.”

I listened to her as each step was 
explained, reiterated, and filtered to
my understanding, and I breathed a 
sigh of relief. 
if this procedure is needed by the end 
of the year or later, I feel less worried
about the possibility of having it performed.

when one’s vision is steadily running
in the opposite direction of 
the sighted, what does one do?
hope. pray. follow all necessary 
precautions. pray some more.
purchase all the expensive items
necessary for the care and maintenance
of the $3,500.00 each, priced lenses.

Can’t let these go to waste, right?

and as I continue to lose my sight in
one eye, it is strengthening in the other.
what can this mean?
what does this mean?
is there even any meaning to it?

my optometrist is happy with
my vision as it stands currently.
I could see what I needed to see
and people, places, and things
are still sharper in my 
line of sight.
it’s a small thing but a big thing, too.

I only wish you knew how much.

Parts II & I

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

NaPoWriMo #14

keratoconus II

A little ray of sunshine before my keratoconus/scleral contacts follow-up|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

follow-up on cornea scarring
and hazing, and good news
to that; no new scarring.
no new hazing.

however …

my corneas have gotten
steeper in each eye, even after
wearing the recommended
scleral contacts since last

my vision is running away
from me, and I am chasing
after it trying to pull it
back to me.
trying to love it again;
harder & heavier.

unfortunately …

it is doing what it wants
to do and my ophthalmologist
wants to pursue a procedure
called “Collagen Cross-linking
and I do not have any more
passion to give this
man of expertise regarding
my care.

I nod and listen, and I
understand everything he says,
yet I tell him, “I would much
rather continue to wear
my scleral contacts until
November of this year. That
would be one full year.
Let’s reassess at that time.”

Hesitant, he leans toward my
line of thinking, and we schedule
another appointment.

I toggle between him and
my optometrist; they work
on my eye care in-tandem.
I will see her in May.
I hope she’ll have better news
for me, and even if she doesn’t,
I have given this to God.

I will not stress over it.
I will not lend it my heart.
I will not spiral down into
unshakeable pity.

keratoconus, you will
not, and I put emphasis
on “NOT” steal my joy.
You can’t have it.

keratoconus I

**The visit on Thursday, April 13, 2023, with the ophthalmologist did not provide the details I thought it would. The corneas are getting steeper which means that eventually, my vision could keep getting even more blurry.

The ophthalmologist recommended a procedure called (Corneal) Collagen Cross-linking which would be performed out at Duke University in Durham, and I pretty much pumped the brakes on that idea and informed him that I would much rather continue to wear my scleral contacts until at least the middle of this November which would be a full year.

We are going to reassess on November 21st of this year and I will meet with his colleague at that time, but I also have an appointment with my optometrist in May, so I am going to get her opinion on this, too. So that’s where we are now. I was not released from his care due to these recent changes.

This is for God to handle. My gut started speaking to me as soon as my ophthalmologist began explaining everything about the next steps. Those are NOT my next steps. We’ll see what May reveals & then what November of this year further reveals before I begin letting surgeons/specialists/doctors surgically enhance (or botch up) my vision.

seeing clearly again

Everything I need to take care of my scleral contact lenses. My new glasses are en route. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

scleral contacts
reshaping my eyes so far
I can see clearly

everything I need
for these expensive lenses
is right before you

costing me an arm
and a leg for the best sight
I am filled with joy

a hopeful vision

Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

an audio narrative poem: a hopeful vision

if you were to tell me
four months ago, I could
be seeing clearer or my
eyes would shift toward the
light and not give me a
headache later, I would have
called your bluff.

it is amazing what insurance
binds us to — how we have to
cater our health to the
possible noncoverage of something
necessary for our mental growth
and overall well-being.

a recommended optometrist,
highly skilled in her field will
takeover my care for keratoconus.
she will now be a part of the
team who will see me twice
a year for an eye disease I didn’t
know I had before
two Februaries ago.

I hope she and my ophthalmologist
can tag-team this life-invader and
direct me onto new paths
concerning my vision.

as I think about the possibilities
coming my way — the mere fantasy
of reading without blurred lines
or double vision or constantly
squinting may soon become
my reality.

when a blockade positions itself
in your path to try to deter you,
a spirit higher and stronger than
it can ever be, swoops right in
to show you another way.

hopeful vision is something
poking me alive daily, and with
its looming presence sneaking
up on me quicker than I assumed
it would, I am overcome with

maybe, I am one step closer
to seeing what I need to see
and being who I need to be
while living visually impaired.

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium

Monday, August 22, 2022, I will have my consultation with my new optometrist who is in-network with both my medical and vision insurance. My last optometrist (the doctor who first diagnosed me with keratoconus) had rescinded her connection with my insurances — making her an out-of-network provider. I can now proceed with getting the scleral contacts I need to help move me toward a more enhanced vision. I cannot tell you how happy I am about this. Thanks for reading and for listening too.