Click Here to Comment on Hunter Black Page 919 – ” Brace For It, Old Woman!”

I really have no complaints about my collaboration with Will, but here’s one, just for [REDACTED] and giggles: why is the moon in The Known World always full? (This is me yanking Will’s chain. I could give two [REDACTED] about this. I mean, I’ve never mentioned it in 900+ pages.)

So, I don’t know how much I’ve actually told you guys about #Squirrel’s health issues. #Squirrel is diabetic, and diabetes is a bear of a disease. It’s difficult to manage under the best of circumstances, and our lives are really the best of circumstances. She’s had it for way longer than she and I have been together, and long-term diabetics often eventually have vision problems.

#Squirrel suffers from what is called diabetic retinopathy, and I’ll probably make some factual errors in this explanation, but basically it causes extra blood vessels to grow and occasionally burst on the back of her eyes, where the retinas are. These vessels basically push the retinas off of the back of the eyes, which ruins your vision. She’d had partial vision loss in one eye for a while (although we didn’t know the cause), but she woke up on New Year’s Day with blurred and obstructed vision in both eyes.

Getting her treated was a bear that reinforces for me how truly immoral and wrongheaded our medical system is in this country, although we eventually got into the Stein Eye Clinic at UCLA, which is one of most prestigious centers for eye care in America. Her left eye, the one that had been bothering her for a while, was in full detachment, which meant that it wasn’t going to get any worse, and that the prognosis in that eye is iffy. But her right retina was only partially detached, so time was of the essence. She had surgery on that eye almost a month ago now.

Her visions is back to about 90% in her right eye, according to her, and the surgeon is super pleased with how #Squirrel has responded to the surgery, so much so that she allowed her to go back to work today (Monday). She can read, drive, and do all the stuff she needs to be able to do to feel independent.

We’ve scheduled surgery for her left eye on April 6th. The results of that surgery are pretty much a crap shoot. She could regain plenty of her vision, she could regain none of it, but it’s worth a try.

2018 has been a stressful year because of this, but SO much of that stress has been lifted with this successful surgery. We hope for more, but if this is as good as it gets, my wife will still live a good life, and that’s all that matters to me. I want to tell you guys that lots of you have sent us kind words of encouragement during this ordeal, and that has meant a great deal to us both. There’s no doubt that you guys are the best part of doing this comic, so thank you. It means a lot to me to be able to share this with you.

Thank you!

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  • Nandan

    Hi there!

    I’m a long time reader from France, and this post about #Squirrel’s diabetes made me want to share some info that you won’t find on WebMD or similar sites due to conflict of interests. Namely: DIABETES CAN BE CURED!
    Not with pills or surgery, mind you, but through lifestyle and especially dietary changes.
    I’ve got a number of documents on the subject, but they’re all in french. Thankfully a minute of googling yielded a pretty good link to start from, if you’re interested :

    • Justin Peniston

      Thanks! I’ll check that out!

      Vive la France!

  • Honza Prchal

    Best of luck. When I read about delays in treatment that long, it makes me glad we left California in the 70s and again in the 1980s. that’s like Canadian or European level wait-times. Granted that delaying care on time-sensitive issues like cancer or degenerative disease is “socially rational” and “cost effective”, but that sort of delay is terrible for the sick person. In short, I hate Medical, and I feel for you.
    At least, as you say, places like UCLA are very good and will likely affix her retina to the back of her eyeball correctly when they finally do go in.
    Also, sorry Nandan, while diabetes can be controlled, or reduced to a nearly sub-clinical (non-medicated diabetes) level, it cannot be cured in a medical sense except for a very few type one diabetes cases susceptible to gene therapy. People get in trouble believing that they are cured. That’s how blindness, lost limbs and premature deaths happen.

  • Honza Prchal

    Since you likely don’t want all the DMII advice (for a laugh, look up why it is called “melitus”) all over your site, I am putting this information here on an old page for you. Here is an article well worth reading about changes in how doctors think about DMII, specifically:
    The debate heated up on March 6, when a prominent medical association advised relaxing the standard, saying that more aggressive targets can harm patients.
    The source of the dispute: the hemoglobin A1C test, a test that measures a patient’s average blood-sugar, or glucose, levels. Glucose attaches to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
    The American College of Physicians concluded that most Type 2 diabetic patients’ A1C levels should be 7% to 8%. The group, which based its recommendation on a review of existing guidelines and clinical trials, published its guidance statement in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
    The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Diabetes Association and other groups were quick to criticize the ACP’s new target as too high. They recommend setting A1C targets at 7% or lower.
    It’s worth checking out today’s print Wall Street Journal for the full take, though that lacks the link in the online version. That quaint institution called the public library, or a decent medical library near you, is worth looking at.
    As with many things, especially things that have to do with blood pressure, race/ethnicity likely affects the validity of the recommendation, so it’s worth keeping an eye peeled for that as it applies to your wife.

    • Justin Peniston

      This stuff is really helpful! Thank you!

      • Honza Prchal

        Sure thing. It’s a tricky disease, tied heavily into our genetics (Southwestern Indian tribes with long histories of sedentary living are particularly prone to it given the trait’s usefulness in surviving food insecurity – which isn’t a problem for moderns in the West anymore), and a pain to manage. Still, Americans diagnosed with Type II in their twenties are now routinely living into their seventies, which is my kind of miracle – the kind we can take for granted nowadays. The French aren’t quite as good at managing it as they are at cancer, but they’re really solid too.

  • Storel

    Yay, glad to hear Squirrel’s recovering so well from the surgery. Hope the April one goes well, too!

    • Justin Peniston

      Thanks for the kind words!