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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Thousand Points of Light

This morning I arose at my usual time, 5:27am. I don't set an alarm but I always wake within three or four minutes of this time. I stared at the ceiling and watched the pinpricks of light blink on and off. They were like stationary fireflies, single points of light blinking here and there. It was peaceful. Stargazing. I drifted off for a moment dreaming of how much I like the ceiling of the bedroom at our cottage, how we had especially put the blinking lights in the ceiling which sparkle during the wee hours of the morning . . .

I bolted awake. What lights? In the ceiling? There are no blinking lights up there.

I opened my eyes wide and stared into the dark ceiling.

Blink. Blip. Sparkle. Blip. Blink.

I closed one eye, then the other (something I do several times per day). Both eyes could "see" different pinpricks of light which moved when I switched from one eye to the next. This confirmed the lights were not actually up there and were not a reflection of something outside.

When my brain shocks were at their worst I experienced a visual disturbance I dubbed my "electric butterflies." They sparkled inside my eyes as I was sucked into the vortices that detonated the electric impulses in my head. This (in part) led a neurologist to prescribe a medication used in the treatment of Epilepsy. The brain shocks have mostly gone away (perhaps due to the medication) but from time to time I still get my electric butterflies.

This is the first time I have seen pinpoints of light in the distance. My neuro-ophthalmologist (who I am seeing on Wednesday for extensive tests) wants me to take note of every vision change. The craniopharyngioma tumor had been wedged between my optic nerves, so any little change could mean the tumor is making a move again.

The complicated part is I am now on the wrong side of forty, when every person on the planet begins to experience . . . vision changes. Hence, every little thing that panics me could simply be what every adult over forty experiences.

"Oh yeah, I remember when that happened," is a common refrain from friends when I explain my most recent vision changes, usually in a cold sweat.

But I must be diligent about taking notes as I continue to crash-land into middle age. With this morning's blinking lights on the ceiling, I could hear a comedian's voice in my head describing them. Much like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from "Ghostbusters," once I have made the mental association, it is irrevocable. As I sat up to rise from bed, all I could hear was Dana Carvey doing his memorable SNL impression of the first George Bush: "The thousand points of light, the thousand points of light, the thousand points of light . . ."

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