Going Blind

Feet on the sidewalk
I feel kinda sick
Hands out front
I need a white stick
Blurred in the morning
Bruised at night
Falling in the darkness
Could've been a fight

My blind life
I can’t see the road
I can’t see the light
 - My Blind Life by Chris Dreja, sung by The Yardbirds

Those lyrics are exaggerated, but I am going blind. Thanks to rociletinib, the experimental drug I took for eight months, I have rapid onset cataracts.

From Wikipedia 

Fortunately, this problem can be pretty easily fixed. Massachusetts General Hospital sent all of its patients who took rociletinib and developed cataracts to a specialist from Tufts University, but we are lucky to have a very skilled eye surgeon locally. He has scheduled me for surgery as early as possible; I get my right eye fixed on July 26, and my left eye fixed on August 9.

It’s a fascinating experience. The first sign was in late April, when my eyeglasses no longer corrected for distance vision. After years of not seeing anything in focus without glasses, it was weird to have my distance vision apparently improve. That has changed as a white mist deepens over the whole world almost daily. Now my near vision is weakening. I have turned on accessibility options on my electronic devices, which is a big help. Sock and fine lace knitting have been put aside for now, and I have begun a sweater in much bigger yarn. Going from 8 stitches per inch to 4 stitches per inch is just like turning on accessibility options - double the font size!

I have given up driving until after surgery. I certainly should not be driving at night. Trying to drive my husband home from the hospital after dark last week was a failure, as the parking lot looked like a lawn and I struggled to see where the road was. (He had broken his thumb while we were splitting wood, and he was the one to drive home.) Right now we are having an enforced staycation as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. We had an epic grocery shopping trip this past weekend, and are all set to stay home for a while. Friends stand ready to help as needed.

I feel a great deal of sympathy for the genteel ladies in 18th and 19th century novels, who lose their ability to support themselves with fine needlework when their vision weakens. I’ll say this for knitting: many experienced knitters can knit by feel alone. To a limited extent, I can as well.

Cost/benefit analysis of medical procedures is something I think about, and here I am, having more expensive medical procedures when the length of time I’ll be able to use those shiny new intraocular lenses is a great unknown. Still, this is a major quality of life issue, and I am grateful for excellent health insurance which will pay for these surgeries without a quibble.


  1. Whoa, Anita. At least cataract treatment has improved dramatically since my mom had them in 1980, and you will not be made to wait until you’re completely blind before you receive it. That’s encouraging, in any case. There are also advantages to knitting with chunky yarn, although for me that would be the saddest adaptation.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks, El. The sweater knitting I'm doing is quite luscious, making up for everything. I will be knitting Vivian, designed by Ysolda Teague, and redesigned by my daughter and me to be a v-neck pullover. The yarn in Berroco Lustra, half wool half tencel, gleaming in a lovely copper shade. Still working on the gauge swatch and another small project, but official cast-on will happen soon.

  2. Three cheers for medical technology - and great insurance! So glad this is available for you.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Two Communities Mourn Their Lizzie

Thoughts on Selling My Words

There's a New Standard of Care for Lung Cancer