News & Press
#EyeGetDilated Month – Chad Taylor’s Story
For #EyeGetDilated Month, we share Chad Taylor’s Journey as an OM thriver who was diagnosed with ocular melanoma:
Destruction from a hurricane of record along the north Gulf of Mexico gave us an excuse to put off having our glasses adjusted AND eyes dilated and checked in October of 2018. Don’t do that, for time is of the essence! As a farm and forest land manager what seemed like fall pollen in my left eye took me to our optometrist where a measurement of 44 intra ocular pressure was the first bridge of many now 24 months later we would have to cross. Two ophthalmologists later missed it, in my case a rare ciliary body ring melanoma, and a second opinion led me to plaque radiation instead of enucleation, removal of your eye, that thus far has saved my life, my eye and my vision, and that keeps this disease in perspective. Other lessons at first, don’t give up easily, be polite and persistent, ask well prepared questions for good answers.
Another lesson from this journey, you can only cross one bridge at a time of so many bridges, so do that. Some of the bridges are difficult and long, like radiation and experimental adjuvant chemical therapy, some cross over and under like an expressway, so you really need to keep things in perspective because you can only be on one at a time even though they often overlap. With all that going on, worry is a poor use of your imagination so keep your eyes on the road, focus and think positive. A forester friend told me you must factor in time for it takes a hundred years to grow a hundred-year-old tree. Healing takes time too and you must factor that in. I’ve still got blurred, holographic double vision and limited depth perception, maybe from here on out. We’re all very different so you might not have that or maybe more. Try your best to be ready for whatever comes.
A caring family and good doctors and treatment plans have been my greatest comfort! And right up there my contacts, I’ll call new friends I’ve never met, fellow travelers around this world and along this journey, that share their experience in groups and even Facebook, those only folks who can know this path so well. With a significantly increased risk of metastasis, I haven’t come to this bridge yet. I think of my new friends every day, wish, and hope for them the very best, and I’m thankful for all they have taught me
So what is this new normal? I heard this term early on and long ago learned to “accept things”. Along this road a few times I tried to write something down for those with a need to know but came to the next bridge before I could write about the one I was on. The blurred, double vision bridge I remain on for now, the schedule of surveillance scans, the time and resources all this takes and the one forevermore that risk for metastases, always something. The new normal for me coming into view just now two years in is a realization and acceptance of the limitations that all this places on what use to be normal, simple, and complex lifelong skills, activities, pleasures you can no longer do well or do at all. This is not something you work through but something you live with, a part of you and your life. And the Accept Things is to just find the best and a better way!
Life-saving advances in melanoma research are made possible by the generosity of supporters like YOU. Please consider a tax-deductible donation today: