Last Thursday, I went to the eye doctor. I thought I would spend an hour ish there and have an eye exam and find some new glasses after breaking mine a few weeks ago. 3+ hours and several tests and scans later, I left with a referral to a retina specialist because the doc found some spots.

In our family, we have this thing about diagnoses that aren’t good. Like trying to take things step by step by step while researching symptoms, providers and trying to strategize a plan. Having been on the receiving end of a “You have to have this done – NOW!”, order from a Doc at the NIH when I was initially diagnosed with a rapidly spreading melanoma, I’m always a little more neurotic and emotional then my parents whose illnesses usually progressed a lot slower then mine.

So my super thorough retired Air Force Doc, said he wanted to refer me to a retina specialist. He said this referral would take a few days. Interestingly, it took only a few hours and they called Friday morning to schedule an appointment for Monday afternoon. While I was glad to have the follow up appointment, the anticipation and “what if’s” took over.

It wasn’t an easy weekend. I drove down to see mom and went to Home Depot as we thought it would be good to find her a small Christmas tree. When I found the perfect tree on display on a high shelf, I asked the sales clerk where the boxes were that had the trees in them (as opposed to the display model). He asked me to show him where the tree was and walked with me as I pointed it out.

There were no boxes below the shelf and as he looked at his little hand held inventory thingy, he asked me to read the model number (on the tag of the tree on the shelf) to him. I looked at the tag and couldn’t see it. Nuthin’. This is the point where I started to get a little emotional as normally, my vision is really good.

No, I mean really, really good. Like “look at that small spot on the fly on top of that tall building 100 yards down the street through thick fog” type good.

I walked to the car and cried a little more before checking 5 other stores to find the perfect Christmas tree. Nuthin’.

Then I drove home and mom and I strategized on how to navigate the appointment with the retina specialist and then we formulated a plan with a range of having everything work out to the worst case scenario. Throughout the discussion we managed to only use the term “ocular melanoma” (my biggest fear) once.

On Monday morning, Nate and I had a conversation with God about how to handle the next few hours and yes, we listened to “Be Thou My Vision” just to anchor the anticipation of it all and not lose sight of faith. I left for my appointment at 2:00. Nate offered to drive but I told him, “No” – that I didn’t think his small paws would reach the accelerator of the Lexus.

The Doc, a very tall YNNH trained physician looked at the test results from my super thorough Doc and said “You have (insert very long, hard to pronounce 4 word clinical term here).

“Okay so now tell me in English.” I said.
He told me “this term isn’t anything you need to know or remember and all it means is ‘you have a really large spot on the back of your eye’ and if you didn’t have a history of melanoma, I’d thank you for coming in and send you on your way. But because you do, I’d like to see you again in 2 1/2 months and we’ll use the tests and scans that Dr. Johnson sent as your baseline.”

“Okay, that works for me!” I told him. Happy that the “Plan B” worst-case scenario that mom and I had developed would no longer need to be considered.

The rest of the day was good. Mom’s tree was ordered via Amazon when I arrived home and Nate was very happy he would not have to learn to drive.

See? Vision is a good thing.


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S.A. Leys is a consultant and coach with 25 years of expertise in coaching the healthcare professionals and teams who care for all of us. I also coach individuals who work in fast-paced, high-stress careers which requiring compassion, analytical and critical thinking strategies who are interested in achieving their fullest potential in their lives, relationships, and careers. Let me know if I can help you too. Contact me at