Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016: A New View


I took this picture through the lens of my new set of eyes. The hike was this Saturday at Horsetooth Reservoir outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. In the company of my husband, son, step-son, and friend, we were taking in God's beauty through the final walk of the trail. I was purposely poking behind.

"Sandy, why are you so far back?" Garrett called out to me shortly after this picture was taken. My absence from the pack was noticed.

But I was in my own world, taking it all in.

"Coming!" I hollered back, picking it up a bit. Free of contacts and glasses, my vision was sharp and the color of nature seemed full of a clarity that I had not noticed before.

The beauty of Colorado, mountains, and nature are not new to me. My life has been full of many adventures and aesthetic sights. What was different was my new personal view. Wearing some form of glasses or contacts since junior high, I had never experienced this heightened awareness through my own lenses. I had underestimated the perspective a twelve-minute surgery would add to my life.

Last Tuesday I had LASIK surgery. Following a comprehensive exam at Kugler Vision and a thorough consult with Dr. Kugler, we decided that I would have monovision LASIK surgery. I learned a lot about my eyes through the process, including the difference between cornea and lens deterioration and how to achieve my goals through a surgery that is best for me. I had no idea there were so many options available to correct vision. The skilled advice of Dr. Kugler guided me through this critical process.

I did learn that I had healthy young lenses (who knew? A part of my body that precedes my age by 10 years!). Although lens replacement is a great option to get rid of the reader glasses and avoid future cataract surgery for the 50ish crowd, Dr. Kugler talked me through the healthy state of my lenses and why LASIK would be a better option for me.

Mono-LASIK was a win-win. My healthy lenses stayed intact with my corneas corrected to 20/20 vision. One eye was corrected for distance (my dominant left) and the other for near (no more reading glasses). Just to be sure mono was right for me, I 'test drove' mono contacts for a week and found that two different prescriptions in my eyes felt completely natural. Quickly my eyes adapted from looking down on my computer to looking outside my window, clearly see the happenings from a distance. I was ready.

The surprise I had post-surgery was how different the clarity of my sight was from wearing my typical daily contacts. I attribute this mainly to the surgery itself, but also to a newfound perspective in my viewing of life.

Pre-surgery, I was not anxious, but I started thinking about my sight. A true miracle, not to be taken for granted. I thought about this throughout the week leading up to my surgery. Too often I run through my days, not stopping to enjoy the everyday visual blessings.

The night before my LASIK while walking out of my gym, I noticed a mom and her two young sons. One boy opened the door for me with a big smile of pride. I thanked him while exchanging a 'been there' smile with his mom. We traded pleasantries and small talk. As we neared the second set of doors, a woman whom I recognized from a past life came barrelling through the door. With yoga mat under her arm, eyes down and a scowl on her face, she nearly ran us over.

There wasn't a hint of recognition on her face, but there was no time as her eyes only focused on the ground with a mind racing on something other than the people in front of her. A life hurried and rumbling through time.

I continued with the two dimpled boys by my side, still smiling and enjoying every person and sight in front of them. Children, pure from the chaos of day-to-day life that we adults self-impose on ourselves. Their eyes wide open, full of wonderment.

I couldn't help but think, how much do I miss while racing through life? The beauty of life is everywhere, but you can't see it if you don't look.

Tuesday was surgery day and incredibly unmonumental. Exactly the goal. Great care and a seamless procedure that was invisible to me other than my instruction to 'watch the green light' while my skillful doctor perfected my eyes.

I felt no pain and no pressure. When the anesthetic wore off, my eyes felt a slight irritation that lasted a couple of hours as I watched an exciting Creighton basketball game from home with my new eyes. The next morning, I was driving to work seeing perfectly clear. I didn't miss a beat.

I went through the rest of the week in amazement on both my new vision and how great I felt. I continued to question why I had not done this years before. This definitely falls into the category of 'you don't know what you don't know'. My eyes are now wide open.

Greatly looking forward to my vision comparison on our upcoming weekend hike, Garrett began quizzing me on my near and far vision as we drove home from the airport. I was spot on as I read every upcoming billboard off the interstate, while able to quickly convert to my small font phone text. Passing with flying colors.

Then the frosting on the cake was our hike in the Colorado Rockies. My vision was perfect and the sights clearer than I remembered. No contacts floating or itching in my eyes and a new clarity in my view. As I chose my steps carefully, I found myself gazing around in a new wonder.

Life is too short to look down and barrel through. New eyes and a new perspective. Time to slow down as life is not a race to the end, but a daily opportunity to truly enjoy the moments in time given to us.

(Part 2 to my LASIK experience will be my road to Kugler and update on my life journey.)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 6, 2016: A Change of Seasons

Grant finishes the front yard
Today Grant and I raked leaves. A yard full of nature's colorful palette. And a sign of the change of seasons.

The changing seasons is one of my favorite things about living in the midwest, with summer-to-fall as my all-time favorite. Each year I delight in putting out my Halloween decorations. Football, hoodies, and bonfires fill our nights. Trading in the petunias for the peonies and mums, while preparing the autumn foliage for frost. An annual rite of passage.

With a 70 degree Sunday, today was a perfect day to do yard work. It was also an excellent time to reflect. Sharing sweat labor with my 16-year-old was frosting on the cake. Physical labor in the great outdoors builds character.

I was also reminded of the changes in the seasons of life.

Fast forward two years and all Lane boys will be out of the house. I must now confess that I have never mowed my own lawn. There have always been plenty of able men around to perform this task. I am now finding myself looking ahead at a life completely different than the one I have known.

I have been slowly adapting to these on-going life changes. My seasons have gone from a traditional family unit to a divorced family. From three boys at home to two, to one. The backyard has transformed slowly from the neighborhood hang-out and nightly whiffle ball game field to commercial-grade trampoline arena, to just a yard.

Each change in my life came and went, one at a time. I savored the moments and looked forward to the years to come. But the end of my boys' childhood years has a ring of permanence to it. One that will come with many more life choices. The family home will be empty with my husband and my life looking very different than it looks today.

I am a sentimental gal. There is no doubt. As I put my cherished Halloween decorations out this year, I couldn't help but wonder how many more years I would be going through this same routine.

The house is growing more and more quiet with my husband spending a lot of time in Denver and Grant finding his way to all those things 16 year-olds love to do that don't include their mother. The quiet is evident to me, like a hard tap on my shoulder. I can't ignore it.

It will be sixteen years next month that we moved into this house. Grant was a crawling baby. So many milestones and seasons in my family's life happened here. But it is just a house. Garrett tells me this and I know he is right. It's the moments and happiness that have happened in and outside the walls that give it a heartbeat that comes alive to me.

Time to enjoy the ride and see what life brings to us. One day at a time, but I will savor every day. Much friendship and family have been shared here and there is much more to come. We will just keep raking the leaves and change up the house from Halloween to Christmas when the time is right. I have decided to hold off on repacking the orange holiday storage crates until the Sunday after Thanksgiving. What's the hurry....

(video of Halloween decor that I am currently enjoying my living room...)