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Archive for December, 2008

The Buddha said: “Let hearing simply be hearing, let seeing simply be seeing, let sensation simply be sensation….”  I find it more difficult to be equanamous about sensation when I consider it to be pain, especially when unexpected.

All the teachers say that the body deteriorates with age, and I know that to be true in my case.  I have proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR).  While there are some experimental medications to treat PDR, the “gold standard” of treatment is pan-retinal photocoagulation (PRP).  Or, in simpler words, blasting the retina with a laser.  Since my body was not responding adequately to the medication, PRP seemed the appropriate treatment to prevent vision loss.

I’ve had PRP twice before, in my right eye.  The first time was several years ago, and I remember some pain.  This  summer, I had further treatment but I was sedated and did not feel any pain.  Today, it was time to treat the left eye.  I think I had grown complacent—I had been through the treatment twice before with only minor discomfort, so I was prepared “to do it again.”  I wasn’t expecting or prepared for the pain.  I noticed that I was strongly resisting the sensation and could tolerate only 200 flashes of the laser (between 1,000 and 1,500 are planned).  Each flash felt like a pinprick on the back of the eye.  I wasn’t centered at the beginning and didn’t even think to try to regain my balance to experience the sensation differently.

When I am prepared for an uncomfortable situation, I at least have a chance to handle it well.  If not prepared, I am more likely just to react.  And reaction usually means suffering.

Further treatment is scheduled for next Monday.  My goal is to be calmer and more centered when the treatment begins, and to let the sensation simply be sensation and not something to recoil from.

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