Eyes Right

My mother is a tough old bird. I don’t think she’ll mind me saying that. She would mind if I told you her age [I remember her displeasure when I told the truth when my sons aged her age years ago] so I’ll just say that she’s reached the ‘key of the door’ more than four times and is on her way to the fifth!

Despite being ancient [I’m allowed to call her that because I told her so!], my mother lives her life as fully and as well as she can – but that supposedly simple task is very far from being easy for her. She suffers from several serious health conditions which keep trying to push her into a wooden box but, being stubborn, she refuses to get in! One of the nastiest conditions that she has is actually two conditions which go very firmly hand-in-hand in her case – and you’ve probably never heard of them – Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis [NOT arthritis], otherwise known as PMR/GCA or Temporal Arteritis. If you click on the link you’ll be able to read about the symptoms of PMR/GCA and the side effects of the treatment. My mother suffers from most of symptoms and also most of the side effects listed all of which cause more complications than you could probably imagine – and she’s not the only one. She also has to contend with the effects of her other conditions as well, so you can see that it must take a tremendous amount of physical and mental effort for her, and others in a similar situation, to live an active life.

One of my mother’s greatest fears is that she will lose her sight. She is amazingly lucky not to have lost it to GCA long before she was actually diagnosed. She not only has the threat of losing her sight to GCA always hanging over her, she also has glaucoma and cataracts and was recently diagnosed with ‘dry’ macular degeneration. That’s a lot of threats to her sight. A quadruple whammy!

So, why am I telling you this? Because I think my mother is amazing in the way that she copes with all of this. She fights it all the way. She goes dancing, she goes Kurling [a warmer version of curling], she goes out to lunch, visits friends and more but it takes its toll. She’ll be looking forward to my next visit because it means she’ll be able to go to her favourite clothes shops [as she can seldom manage alone] and buy lots of new things. I have to admit to encouraging her to buy LOADS of clothes and other things because she really enjoys it – and if you can’t do it without guilt in her situation, when can you?

Plus, I want her to be able to actually see all the lovely things there are to choose from.

I hope that you will read about PMR/GCA – you may even know someone who suffers from it, whether it has been diagnosed or not. PMR GCA UK is a charity raising awareness and offering information and support. If you would like more information or make a donation please click here .

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