Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Looking up, moving forward with humor

One of the many attributes I first fell in love with of Steve Andrews was his ability to find the joy, humor, positive in any situation. Thanks Steve for making even a visit to the retina doctor such a fun experience this morning. I don't know if the tech found our teamwork plan to pass the eye exam quite so funny. I laughed walking in for retina photos when you told me to smile for the camera. Love you. In all seriousness, you are amazing in always helping me look up, move forward. Can't wait to get on the bike tonight with you and climb that hill. Thanks for helping me climb all the hills in this life as well.
Thanks Rick Egan for your remarkable photography and these pictures we treasure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGrnJlxVRGY

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Savor the Moment

In chapter 4 in Look up, move forward I talk about taking life one day at a time and finding moments to savor in each day. Our evening walk tonight was one of those moments. A beautiful evening, walking hand in hand with steve while Georgie walked alongside on leash. We stopped for a picture and she knew just what to do ... sit and smile and savor the moment.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


When I was writing my book:  Look up, move forward and going back to remember different times, we laughed as so many journal entries started with ... Gosh, its been so long since I've written in my journal.  It feels like this blog is a little bit that way.  I want to get back in the groove of blogging.  Blogging at cruisingwithcricket.blogspot.com was so fun.  I loved connecting with readers, sharing stories, having a place to put down my heart.  

I'll find that rhythm again.  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.  

It ten days until our next retreat begins for women who are blind - visually impaired - or even newly diagnosed with an eye condition:  Rising Strong in your Story (www.oasiscenterforhope,com.) 

You are not alone in this journey.  

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Happy weekend

A little dressed up for hiking 😀but after an event nearby it was the perfect time to put on some comfy shoes and film our video at Ensign Peak ... details to follow.
Thinking of all my daring sisters. We hiked this last year together! We still have two spots in our August retreat -- details here if you are interested:  www.oasiscenterforhope.com/retreats
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  #lookupmoveforward #choosecourage

Friday, June 2, 2017

Grateful for an amazing doctor

Walking into Retina Associates to see Dr Swartz had me reminiscing to the first time I visited him wow -- 25 years ago - maybe longer? He turned to me and asked me to tell him about myself - my life. I was more than these eyes that were degenerating. He sent me a clear message to look up, move forward. He sent me a clear message that life was good and he was on my team. He sent me a clear message he would do all he could for my eyesight yet also knew that vision extended way beyond my eyes.
Two weeks ago when I returned for a visit, he told me my maculas were very swollen. He told me "we" are going to fight hard for this last three degrees of vision and need to avoid a macula hole. I loved his passion and once again was reminded how wonderful it is to have incredible people on your team. We started two weeks ago with a regimen of Trusopt eye drops three times a day.
Today the exam revealed the trusopt is not helping. The light in the peephole of vision is going dim. After discussing the options, we are going to continue on with the eye drops for another three weeks. Then, we will turn to Diamox.
I am so grateful for this knowledgeable, kind, caring doctor on my team. Once again he reminded me that vision extended way beyond my eyes as we chatted about life and the many activities we are involved in.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Next Chapter in vision loss

This past Monday I had scheduled an appointment with my retina specialist.  Just a routine exam to check in.  After a visit three years ago to a retinal specialist that was brisk with our appointment, I decided the next time I would return to my retina specialist that had helped me through some of the major transitions in the journey of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition.  Diagnosed at age 18 I am not new to this journey of going into the opthalmologist and getting the news that my vision has declined further.  One would think perhaps that after 32 years it would get easier.  In many ways, it does.  I have learned to follow the appointment up with a fun lunch with a friend, tandem bike ride with my husband, or something else besides quickly returning back to work.  A day for self-care and breathe and recognize that losing your vision gradually at times isn't an easy journey.

This Monday was different.  Work was so hectic - there wasn't going to be time to take a day off.  It was going to be a quick visit to the retina specialist and then back to the office for a busy afternoon/evening.  I even told Steve, who is always by my side, drop me off and I'll go in while you visit your mom.  He said, I'll be there for you, Beck.  I know, I know. Its not a big deal.  I'll do this one on my own.  I told him.  I'm not sure why.  I just wanted to go to this appointment by myself.  

I entered and Dr. Swartz was so glad to see me.  He greeted me with kindness and immediately such a personal interest in how I was doing, how was work going, and how was the family.  I reflected back to my first visit to see him many years ago.  I still recall him turning to me as the patient and recognizing that he was going to see me through this.  

Now, many years later here I was back in his office.  I was giving him an update on the latest marathon run, my recent book published, my thriving private practice with 15 therapists and telling him his belief in me years ago made a big impact on my journey.  After a few moments, his tone shifted as he looked at the pictures of my eyes.  He was telling me my maculas were extremely swollen and this was very serious.  My eyes were at risk of a macula hole.  He also said we were going to fight to keep this last 3 degrees of fuzzy vision as long as we could.  We were going to try eye drops first and then would move on to a stronger diuretic if needed to try to avoid a macula hole.  

We completed our visit and scheduled again for two weeks with my promising to follow the eye drop regimen seriously.  I left there so grateful for this kind, caring and knowledgeable retina specialist.  I also left there recognizing that I needed to ramp up my blind skills.  

Its an interesting journey to experiencing gradual vision loss.  Each decrease brings feelings of loss to navigate and experience.  I get that and value the importance both personally and professionally as a licensed clinical mental health counselor.  This past week it has felt like the light is dimming.  I have felt an increased sense of gratitude once again for that light.    

In the morning I will contact the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired so that I can return and get some more training in computers and braille.  I feel a sense of gratitude that scheduling this additional training is not going to be easy - I work full-time with a busy caseload as well as manage a busy office -- Resilient Solutions, Inc and preparing two retreats this summer at - Oasis Center for Hope.  There is lots of tandem biking and travelling scheduled this summer with Steve.  My life is rich and full.  I have colleagues cheering me on and asking how they can help in this change.  Ironically, I have to present tomorrow with the topic they requested:  I can do hard things.