A new direction: episode 1

Life changes when you least expect it
I’ve been hesitating over this post. I don’t want my health issues to become my main focus, and yet they’ve played a dominant role in my life for the past year and a half. It’s also possible that my story will resonate with others. My ‘artwork’, or the lack of it, has been significantly affected. I’ve been hoping to discover an exciting new direction, but so far no luck.

The story
In late November, 2011, my husband and I were out walking. To my consternation, I discovered that I was seeing double in the middle distance. Disconcerting, to say the least.

I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. A google search revealed some frightening stories. Trigeminal neuralgia is often known as the ‘suicide disease’ because of the horrific pain many people experience. I didn’t have pain—just a tingling sensation, and numbing of the right side of my face. Often the cause of trigeminal neuralgia is unknown. The doctor and I thought it could have been caused in my case by an abscessed tooth. I won’t go into all the details, but when the double vision worsened I went to the hospital. Tests revealed that I had a small tumour growing around the base of the trigeminal nerve. The tumour was believed to be non-malignant. Even non-malignant tumours can kill you though, so the condition was not ‘minor’.

Removing the tumour would be tricky because of its fairly inaccessible position, and this was unlikely to improve the vision—could even make it worse. So the decision was made to ‘wait and see’ … monitoring the growth with MRI scans at regular intervals. 

That’s what we did for the next 6 months.

Meanwhile, I sought advice from an eye specialist, who claimed there was nothing useful that could be done and the best approach was to wear an eyepatch. Part of me didn’t believe that nothing could be done, but for the time being, an eyepatch seemed to be the only solution.

If you have to wear an eyepatch, you might as well make a statement. Thus I designed for myself a wardrobe of patches, thinking I might even start a fashion trend.


I have to report that they haven’t started a fashion trend (yet), but they certainly are a conversation piece. Some people have suggested they could be marketable, but this is problematic because glasses come in so many shapes and sizes, and there is also the issue of attaching them to the lens. I simply use double-sided tape, which is unnoticeable against the patterns—but this makes changing the patches difficult. (If anyone has some good ideas about this, let me know.)

End episode 1.


2 thoughts on “A new direction: episode 1

  1. What a dramatic year and half it has been for you! Thank you for sharing this with us. I pray that you have a perfect recovery. I love the decorative eye patches. Only a creative person like you would think of such a thing! I agree it’s too bad you can’t market them. Maybe a sheet of some type contact paper that people can cut out to the size they need..?

  2. So nice to hear from you Carmel!
    I am lucky to have seen the exciting eyepatches. I am in Dubbo so will ask the family here for some good suggestions.
    Will be in touch when I return.
    Love, Natalie

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