My Journey to a Diagnosis: How it all Started.

by griffin granberg on September 9, 2013

IMy Journey to a Diagnosist’s really insane to think about how much has happened in the past year – all the different challenges I’ve faced and at 27, and now 28, you expect there to be challenges — shit, I welcomed them with open arms.  Being an entrepreneur ever since high school meant I was very good at dealing with life and all the crap that it would try to throw at me.

I guess that is why when in July 2012 when all this craziness started, I took it all with like a HUGE grain of salt.  I should give a touch of backstory that my life was fairly normal for an entrepreneur/developer/consultant.  I had clients I loved to work with, I was working out and getting into great shape, and overall just enjoying living in Denver, Colorado.  So when at the beginning of July I had a pain in my left upper-back the spread under my armpit to just under my chest – I just figured I pulled a muscle working out.  No big deal, a couple weeks later it went away, but what started were these white blotches in my eye sight.

Now you probably think, I have had floaters in my eye sight, they are annoying and eventually they go away.  These blotches were not necessarily like floaters it was different.  Imagine looking at the sun or the high beams of an oncoming car.  You look away and you still see this bright white blotch in your sight — it eventually dissipates right?  I suppose that’s why when these started happening in my eye sight I just figured:  maybe I’m working too much, too stressed, too much red bull, too much something.  I was able to see overall – it was mostly just annoying.

The thing with these blotches is they didn’t really dissipate — they kind of seemingly shifted, but never really went away.  I told myself if they weren’t gone in a couple weeks (or by the end of July) that I would go to the Optometrist, but surely they would go away by then.  The crazy thing is during those two weeks nothing like that happened, instead they became more prominent in my central vision.  I remember writing some code and having to pick my laptop up and move it around a bit to see and read the code.  I think most normal people would have been a lot more alarmed, but for me I just figured it would get better.  I was 27– not old enough to be worried about anything really serious right?

Well the end of July was coming up fast and the white blotches were now part of my daily routine.  Just using the sight that I had around the blotches.. ok no big deal, but I figured at that point I better go get checked out – JUST IN CASE.  So, I went and made an appointment for the Optometrist and drove myself there on the 31st of July, 2012.

What happened next was your fairly routine eye exam except I told you about these blotches that to her meant floaters and we did all the dilating of the pupils and did a nice OTC scan of my eye balls.  She said there were some particles floating around my eye balls, but gravity should pull them down.  Sweet!  I had exactly what I needed, a reason to why these blotches were around and that they were clear up eventually on their own.  So, I drove myself back home and continued living my life for the next week just like I had been doing for the last several weeks: working on client work, working out, and hanging out with my neighbors and friends.

The next big problem happened the first week into August 2012, I had driven myself to shop and as I was getting ready to leave I started to really realize that I could not see nearly as well as the week before.  In fact, I could not see well enough to really trust myself to drive.  I guess, that was the first time I realized that this could be serious.  I did drive home (I was only a couple blocks from my place), but after that I decided to hang the keys up until all these particles settled and I got back to my near 20/20 vision.

It was really easy for me to not drive.  I lived in a neighborhood in Denver called Capitol Hill and everything I absolutely needed was within walking distance so no need to get too upset about the not driving thing.

Griffin Granberg

Picture from my actual sunglass buying excursion -- taking a picture to send to my friends so they could tell me if they looked good -- haha

A funny thing to note is that I remember I was sleeping upright in a wingback chair at night because that had to help gravity pull these particles down right?  haha It actually makes me laugh what we do sometimes when we think it will help.  The problem is even though now almost two weeks had went by from my optometrist appointment my eye sight was getting worse.  Not just white blotches anymore, but things were getting dim, but even with the dimness the bright sun seemed to irritate the white blotches that existed.  So, what did I do?  Go to the doctor you may be thinking.. but no, I took a cab to the mall and bought sunglasses, duh.  haha.

Maybe that sounds crazy, but I had went to the optometrist she essentially told me I was going to be fine once those damn particles would just settle down and let gravity pull them to the bottom of my eye.

Another week went by, and this was probably my biggest eye opener (hah funny cliche).  I no longer see much of anything in my central vision.  I could see hazing shapes and some movement in my peripheral vision, but my central vision was a crapshoot.  I was no longer solo crossing the streets.  I couldn’t see if there were cars coming.  I couldn’t see what temperature I was cooking my frozen pizza, and I could no longer see my iPhone or computer screen.

All of those things progressively happened from week 2 into the end of week 3 of August.  At the time I would hang out at my friend’s garage at night, but I could not tell from my back gate if he was out there.  I would have to walk over.  One afternoon I did just that.  He was hanging out in his garage and I sat down and hungout with him and a few neighbors.  All of a sudden, everyone was laughing and commenting about the other neighbor of ours wearing a bright pink tiki shirt and his wife-to-be wearing a similar patterned dress — BRIGHT florescent pink.  My buddy asked me “can you see them?”  I told him “no” — I think that was the first time I _REALLY) realized I was really having a BIG problem.  My buddy became immediately concerned that I could not see our tiki shirt wearing neighbor even though I guess they had moved within 15 feet of us.

That’s when I decided it was time to call the optometrist and let her know what was going on.  So, the next day I did just that.  Her response was that she could fit me for glasses or maybe she would refer me to a retinal specialist.  There were a couple problems with this 1) I really didn’t feel that glasses were going to solve anything and 2) I could definitely not drive ANYWHERE.  I ended up calling my mother and letting her know I thought it was becoming increasingly more serious and that I was going to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist (that’s an MD eye doctor).  She asked me if she thought I should fly there.  At this point I was like “ya, but I’m sure I may just need this laser treatment to zap these particles out of my eye ball.”  She booked her ticket, and I don’t think either of us had ANY idea of the craziness that was about to ensue.

This story continues at, My Journey to a Diagnosis: Denver Eye Surgeons.

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