Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Good News and Hard News

Below is an adapted version of what I sent to my parents upon recently being diagnosed with a retina disease. We would appreciate your prayers!
-Pastor Ben

Good news and hard news...

The good news is I have an opportunity to draw near to God in a new way. I have a chance to bring honor to God in my response. And I will have more eagerness than ever for heaven and the promise of a new body!

The hard news is I was diagnosed with an "inherited disease of the retina" by Dr. Pete Lagouros at Illinois Eye Center (IEC). I have not done well on the field of vision test for the last 6 years when I've gone to Bard Optical in Washington. Bottom line, I don't have as much peripheral vision as most people. Not a big deal, but the eye doctor at Bard (my friend Mark Hahn who attends church at BCC) has sent me to Illinois Eye Center a few times for further tests and nothing really came of it. I was referred by Dr. Hahn to IEC again this month too as I failed the visual field test again at Bard at my annual appointment. Nothing new. Same old, same old. I thought.

This time, IEC had some more tests to do. Maybe new tech was finally available? Not sure. The lining in parts of my retina are thin. Dr. Lagourus doesn't know why. Again this doesn't cause me much day to day issue yet except for small things like me to not being able to find my mouse on my computer screen easily. Again, I just don't have all my peripheral.

All this to say, there are not concerns with me driving and doing life as usual for now. I'll be going to Iowa City for a more official diagnosis sometime between now and June. I'm waiting on them at this point. There is no treatment now but researchers are getting closer. Getting an official diagnosis will make me a better candidate for treatment when it becomes available. A quick internet search says that some inherited disease of the retina can lead to complete blindness. Not sure if that is the kind I have. Will find out more in Iowa City. My hope is that since my vision has not changed much in the last 6 years, that it won't change much in the next six years and so on.

Makes me long for heaven when I'll get new eyes. Makes me lean in the Lord even more. 

Recently (on the day of my diagnosis), my Facebook memories showed me a post I put up in 2012 that involved then 7 year old, Addy. Here it is:
"On my day off, feeling lazy, don't want to do training run, I say "This is going to be hard." Our Addy says, "Hard is not bad. Hard is just hard." Preach to me, little girl! Preach to me! Bless the Lord!"

Will this be hard? It appears so. It could be years. It could be decades. I trust in a God who cares for me more than I can imagine and is doing this for my good and His glory. 

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose". 

I'm satisfied in the Lord and Him alone. I've had a pretty good run with pretty good eyes. I can be bitter that I don't get a longer life with good eyes or I can choose to be thankful for the time I've had good vision. I'm choosing, by God's grace, the latter. The former sounds miserable!


  1. Ben, praying that your trip to Iowa will provide some help. Medical breakthroughs seem to happen all the time.