Over the last couple of months my left eye has been giving me some minor trouble. It itched, it burned, and even when it didn't do that it often felt gritty. These sensations would come and go, and I've had them before; it's usually due to my photo sensitivity or simple eye strain from reading too much or staring at the monitor too long. Sometimes my symptoms would clear up for a couple of days or even weeks, and then they'd come back. I really didn't pay any attention to them until three days ago, when I woke up in a significant amount of pain from what felt like a grain of sand in my eye.
I didn't panic. I irrigated it, inspected it, had my guy look in it, but we couldn't find any dirt or debris causing the pain, and nothing made the irritation go away. Every time I blinked, it hurt, and my eye turned red, and then I saw some swelling starting. It wasn't conjunctivitis; I've had that. It wasn't a sty, either. The only really suspicious thing I found was a tiny lump in the corner of my eye socket, about a quarter-inch from the spot where my eye surgeon removed a cancerous tumor two years ago.
I've always known there was a chance the cancer would come back, but I didn't want to know for sure this week. At least, not until after Christmas. So I walked around for three days in perpetual pain, with my eye swollen up and tearing and burning, and me looking and feeling like hell. This morning I simply couldn't take it anymore, and called the eye surgeon and got an emergency appointment.
I did my meditation before I went to the appointment, and got to the point where I could accept that I was going to get bad news. This lump would probably mean more painful surgery right away, and months of treatment, and maybe even losing my eye for good this time. I'd just get some meds to get me through the holidays and then deal with it. It sounds awful, but I felt pretty calm. I've been through worse and survived, and I was determined not to ruin Christmas for everyone else. But right before I left, I asked God if as a Christmas gift for me that he would just make it benign this time, and let me keep my eye. I didn't feel like that was too much to ask.
The surgeon took me in right away, and carefully went over my symptoms, and performed the exam. This kind of exam is not fun under ordinary conditions; this time it was really painful. He then reached for a pair of tiny-tipped tweezers and used them to extract something that felt like a tree trunk out of my eye.
The relief was instantaneous; the pain was gone and I almost wept with gratitude. He then showed me what he'd removed: a twisted, almost invisible white hair he found behind my outer lashes that had grown backward and curled up under my eyelid. Damn thing was about a quarter inch long, too.
He's going to recheck me in a week, but he's pretty sure the lump is just swollen tissue from the irritation the hair was causing. So what I got for Christmas this year was basically an ingrown eyelash. And as much trouble as it's caused me, and as silly as I feel for getting so worked up over it, this gift was better than a platinum crate filled with twenty-carat diamonds.
Today I'm putting the final additions in the Let It Snow tote: a trade paperback edition of my Rebecca Kelly novel Portraits of the Past; a hardcover edition of Winter Lights ~ A Season in Poems & Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines; and a hardcover copy of Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. As for the final mystery gift, it's a little something that reminds me of what I found this Christmas, and hope it does the same for the winner.
If you'd like a chance to win this giveaway, in comments to this post make a wish for yourself, the other visitors here at PBW, or anyone else (or if you can't think of what to wish for, just toss your name in the hat.) I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates by commenting on this or any of my other Let It Snow giveaway posts from now until midnight EST tonight, December 21, 2011, and send the winner the tote with all the contents. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.