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2020 Spring Marathon-A-Thon: Running 3 Marathons in 3 Months in 3 Countries to Raise Money for Macular Degeneration

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Can't Wait to Get a Needle in My Eye!

This post is mostly an update on the state of my vision... the progression of my macular degeneration. But as the blog is fundamentally a platform for my running and fundraising activities, I'll start with an update on my '(Unfortunately-Not-Now-in) 2020 Spring Marathon-A-Thon'...

As Spring 2020 fades into Summer, so too do the prospects of any races fade into 2021. I have already rescheduled my three planned Spring marathons for next year... they were to have been the Washington DC Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, the London Marathon, and the Edinburgh Marathon. London is still supposedly a 'go' for October, but don't hold your breath. I'm also still entered with a 'Good for Age' in October's Chicago Marathon. However, whether it goes ahead or not, I don't intend getting on any planes until I've either been vaccinated against the Coronavirus or, at the very least, there is an effective treatment.

So the bottom line is that I'm considering 2020 to be a total washout and hoping for better things next year... maybe a '2021 Spring Marathon-A-Thon' or maybe I'll come up with something different. I'm still struggling with Achilles Heel Tendinitis, so it's possible that I'll have to lower my sights... but I hope not!

And then, in early April, I noticed a deterioration in vision in my 'bad' eye and phoned the NHS Opthalmology Hotline for an appointment. My local clinic is temporarily closed and so, at the height of the Coronavirus epidemic, I had to brave the journey to York... an 80-mile round trip, but worth the risk to keep my vision. 

I was experiencing a small, grey, translucent blob in my vision, a classic symptom of the disease. This had happened before after a period of remission, and a couple of injections had sorted me out. However, the doctor at York Hospital told me that the condition was stable and that no injection was needed... all I had was a 'floater'. Well of course it's always good to hear that you don't have to have a needle poked into your eye, but I was nevertheless worried. I knew that my vision had deteriorated and yet the doctor was telling me, in effect, that there was nothing she could do. Howd'ya like THEM apples! Was I going to steadily lose the vision in my left eye?

But wait, that's not all... the bombshell was yet to come. The doctor also mentioned (almost in passing) that I had dry AMD in my 'good' eye. During more than five years of seeing different doctors, first in the USA and latterly in Bridlington, nobody had mentioned this. And it's serious. Because (in common with all forms of macular disease) not only is there no cure, there is also no treatment for dry AMD.

I was devastated... no treatment for my bad eye, and now no 'good' eye to fall back on. I feared that I had to reconcile myself to going blind... the only question was, "How long have I got?"

And as April turned to May the grey blob loomed larger... the vision in my left eye really was becoming pretty distorted.

What to do?  I really wanted to talk to my own doctors, but the Bridlington clinic was still closed and, being cursed with British reticence, I was loath to call the hotline again. After all, the doctor had delivered her verdict... what more was there to be done except wait for the inevitable?

But with the gradual lifting of the lockdown, I decided I would give the NHS another call and see if there were any prospects of the Bridlington Hospital Eye Clinic reopening. And I was rewarded with an appointment at Scarborough... less than half the distance to York, and staffed primarily by the same team as Bridlington. Oh joy, maybe I could get a second opinion.

And a second opinion I certainly did get! After completing the normal tests and scans (blood pressure high, but then I was very anxiou!) I saw the doctor... not one of my usual doctors, she was new to the team. She confirmed that there was indeed 'activity' in my left eye and that she would get me back on regular injections as soon as the clinic reopens in Bridlington (which is 'in the works'). I felt vindicated but upset that they hadn't given me the sight-saving injection six weeks previously, at the York clinic.

But even better, neither do I have dry AMD in my 'good' eye: Only the ravages of my lifelong severe myopia were apparent on the scans! What a relieve!

I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait to have that needle stuck in my eye again!

And now the commercial... sorry!

The Macular Society, in common with all charities, has been hard-hit by the Coronavirus lockdown and is desperate for funding. The Special Events Coordinator has been furloughed because, well, there are no special events taking place. I'm particularly sad about this because Kathy King was instrumental in helping me raise £7,000.00 last year... I'm keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to hearing that you're back at your desk, Kathy!

In the meantime (and I know a lot of folks have been hurt financially by the crisis), if you can spare a couple of pounds (or a couple of bucks if you're one of my many friends in the USA) please click through to my JustGiving page... it's quick and easy and, contrary to some recent fake news, almost all of your contribution will go directly to providing support and much needed funding for research towards a cure for macular degeneration in its many forms. None of which are currently curable.

Please click here to donate on my JustGiving page. 

Thank You Very, Very Much!

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