About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with a rare, stress-induced eye disease known as Central Serous Retinopathy. It’s a little-researched condition where a blister of fluid forms behind your eye, resulting in a dark spot in the centre of your field of vision. I’ve spent the last 15 years of my working life staring at a computer screen in order to put food on the table (now for a family of three), so being diagnosed with this was frightening to say the least. Though I could still see what was on my screen it certainly made things difficult and the fact that it’s induced by stress… well… that worked against me and stressed me out even more. I touched on it in THIS LECTURE that I gave at Creative Mornings Vancouver a few months back.
A look inside my eyeball, 16 months ago
As it’s a rare disease, and not one that ever results in death or even blindness (as far as I know) it’s hard for anyone to justify throwing money at studies for it. The doctors think that it’s due to stress and they know that it typically heals itself in 6-8 months, and in extreme cases they do a procedure where they take a laser and cauterize the point behind your retina where the fluid is leaking in. My doctor described that as a “sketchy operation” and advised that I “just live”, so I opted to attempt to de-stress and let it heal on its own.
As the single fulltime employee of this V.I.A. beast I spend a lot of time at my desk sifting through emails and press releases (most of which I don’t have time to respond to), managing/editing and communicating with our editors and contributors, writing pitches, fielding pitches, nurturing partnerships with other local organizations and businesses, manning our @VIAwesome Twitter account, editing photos, writing blog posts and – perhaps most importantly – making sure the business end of this positivity machine stays afloat. Sometimes I actually get out of the office to events, and I often volunteer my time to sit on panels and advise friends and colleagues. With this full plate I figured the only way for me to de-stress would be in bursts of relaxation where I would essentially be forced to unplug from everything, so I ramped up our Super, Neighbours series of travel stories and decided to hit the road at least once a month. While still maintaining all of my above responsibilities I’ve been on a lot of ferries and have clocked thousands of sweet travel photos on my trusty Canon G12 over the past 16 months, usually with my small family in tow. Even though I still live a stressful life I feel I’ve got a handle on things better now thanks to this travel; experiencing and seeing the beauty of this province has truly helped me heal.
Above is my chart from the appointment I had at the UBC Eye Care Centre yesterday. After one major setback a few months back I’ve now been given a clean bill of eye health and am 100% healthy! Central Serous Retinopathy is almost certain to come back again in my lifetime and it’s also certain that going on these trips is a perk that I appreciate, so I don’t plan on stopping these features any time soon. HERE is a complete archive of all the places my eye disease has taken me.
Below is a list of links to the gracious folks who have hosted my travel adventures over the past year and a half since I was diagnosed. I owe them a lot as they’re all partly responsible for my healing process, and if you enjoy this web site and this resource of all-things-awesome in your city (and province) then you also owe them some gratitude for helping me stay healthy! Visit their sites and if you’re thinking of heading out on a trip in our province, please do consider them.
Sonora Resort in Desolation Sound
Pacific Sands in Tofino
Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler
The Fairmont Empress in Victoria
The Fairmont Waterfront in Coal Harbour
Hollyhock on Cortes Island
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on the Sunshine Coast
Poet’s Cove on Pender Island
The Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler
Bodega Ridge on Galiano Island
Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in Harrison
The Listel Hotel on Robson
The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino
April Point Resort & Spa on Quadra Island
Long Beach Lodge Resort in Tofino
Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River