One Day: Two Life Altering Doctors Visits
This blog should really be called "One Day: Two Life Altering Doctors Visits & the 6-Month Saga that Ensues" ...Read on if you want the full story as to why I'm taking a step back from teaching for the next three weeks.
March 2018: I had taken a pregnancy test the day before I left for Texas. Negative. I was a little disappointed, but honestly slightly relieved. I had gotten an MRI brain scan earlier that day to help determine why I had been seeing rainbows for the past month. The scan came back negative. No brain tumor and no harm to a potential baby sounded like good news to me! I was off to the border of Texas and Mexico for a week of dancing!
I returned to NYC and had just five days in between Texas and leaving to teach in South Korea and Bali for five weeks. In those few days I had scheduled a handful of doctors visits prior to leaving the country. The first of which being the gynecologist. The Physician’s Assistant asked me when the date of my last period was... I told her and asked her to do a pregnancy test very casually since I still suspected the response would be negative, but was still waiting on my period.
She did the first one and said... Hmm, let me do another one. I could tell in her tone she wasn’t sure about the result of the test or what outcome I wanted.
She did the second one and turned around and hesitantly delivered the news: “I think you are pregnant. The second line is very faint, but present in both tests.”
I smiled and asked to call my husband, which I could tell made her feel relieved to learn that being pregnant was good news.
Sort of. Aside from that brain scan and the fact that I was seeing rainbows like a crazy person.
John arrived and we started asking the doctor tons of questions about the baby and the scan I had gotten, to which she assured us everything was going to be just fine since I was “30 seconds pregnant.” It still didn’t make us feel confident and secure (I guess we are going to be “those parents") so we decided not to tell ANYONE until we got the results of the 12-week ultrasound.
John and I were sort of in state of happy shock as we walked out of the doctors office. He kissed me and put me in a cab as I was off to my second appointment of the day, an eye specialist.
I arrived at the eye specialist and the technician went through her normal tests to prepare me to see the doctor. She finishes the eye pressure test and tells me to hang on that she needs to get someone else. A doctor comes in, tells me she is not my doctor, but needs to check something. She starts making noises like “Hmm” and “Umm” which is really not something a 30-second pregnant mama who hasn’t eaten anything all day wants to hear. They tell me to stay where I am because they need to get my doctor. I ask for something to eat because I feel like I’m going to faint and vomit at the same time. Now the doctor I’m supposed to see, another doctor and the technician are all hovering around me making the same unsettling noises without really telling me anything. Finally, the doctor says: "She needs to go see Dana.” He makes a call, comes back, gives me an address on a piece of paper and tells me to take a cab across town and that Dana will be waiting for me.
I'm slightly panicked at this point. And apparently for good reason, my eye pressure was tipping the charts in a not so great way.
Dana turned out to be Dr. Blumberg, a Glaucoma Specialist who I now see more often than my private clients, students and possibly more than my husband (on weekdays!). Over the past six months, she and a team of experts have done every test imaginable on my left eye. Despite best efforts and excellent care, my eye pressure seems determined to remain high and I wake up daily with extremely cloudy vision (sometimes just colors and shapes) and rainbow halos surrounding lights. It’s incredibly frustrating and very annoying, but I try to keep things in perspective. I’m alive and have a lot of support; there is much to be grateful for.
To date, I am still undergoing lots of tests. Since March, if I've been in NYC and if I’m not teaching or working, I’m either at the eye doctor or the OBGYN. The most confusing part of all of this is that I’m one of the only people under 70 with this condition. (To keep things light, I like to take photos of my homies in the waiting room and send them to my family... Just me and 70/80-somethings hanging out several times a week at the doctor's office.) However, this also contributes to the most unsettling part since most of the medicines I’m taking 2-3 times per day have been not researched on pregnant women as most are well beyond child-bearing age.
I continue to be a mystery to the ophthalmology world. Most recently the idea of laser surgery was thrown around, which I thought I was getting last Tuesday, only to find out that it’s too dangerous for the baby since it seems the only remedy to the potential risk that I react poorly to laser surgery, is... more surgery! But the scary kind where they put you on the table and put you under. No bueno for the baby.
To complicate matters further, my up-to-now normal blood pressure is high, and I've been instructed to take it easy since high blood pressure can seriously endanger the baby’s life and my own. So my husband and I decided it’s best if I completely stop teaching for the next three weeks to see if I can do a lot of self-care and supplement all the Western medical care I’m getting with some eastern medicine modalities, acupuncture, rest, relaxation, meditation.
Just to be clear, this was not the plan, but it’s what’s happening so I have to listen. I was planning on teaching A TON to save as much money as possible before the baby arrives. I have to let go of my plan, recognize that my body is telling me to rest, and remember to be grateful as having the option to step back from work is a god-damn privilege that many women do not have. Thank you, John, and to all who have supported me throughout my life to get me to a place where I am able to step back when my health demands it. There is really nothing more valuable.
If you have an eastern doctor or modality you would recommend who may be able to help with the high pressure in my eye or blood, please comment below. Do you have any ideas? Do you know anyone else who has experienced these symptoms? Any doctors you recommend? I'm up to try just about anything at this point.
And, if you have any tips for things I should do with all my newfound freedom, please write. Movies, TV shows, books, crafts, learn a new language? Help me relax.
I’d like to thank Dr. Dana Blumberg and her team for trying everything under the sun to help my left eyeball, my OBGYN Dr. Nabizedeh for being kind and calm, but firm when needed, my amazingly supportive boss, Jody, all the yoga studios I work at for being very understanding, my family, and my husband for everything, especially scouring the internet for natural remedies and making me smoothies. It can’t hurt :-)