Cataracts, varicose veins! What's next?

by Ron Wayne
(Gainesville,Fla. )

As of today, words on one of my favorite T-shirts tell a lie: “Made in 1956. All Original Parts.”

My right eye now has a new synthetic intraocular lens. My left eye is up next later this month.

Excuse me, as I lament the signs my body is creeping toward a decrepit state.

The growth of cataracts is a sure signal as most surgeries are done for people over 60.

At the other end of my body, my feet are turning increasingly blue with varicose veins. I also have osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.

My hair has pretty much left the top of my head while growing quickly in my nose and ears. And are those ear lobes growing longer?

At the same time, I look at my feet and think about how far they’ve carried me in 64 plus years, throughout so many jobs, relationships and roles in life. My eyes have seen so much beauty in the world — the faces of family, friends and lovers; oceans and rivers; skyscrapers and mountains; paintings and sculptures.

I feel lucky that my hearing has remained OK — so far.

And I’m thankful for modern medicine. I’ve had four colonoscopies to prevent cancer. I strongly believe they saved my life. And I’m told I can expect much improved vision after the cataract surgeries.

The actress Bette Davis said growing old ain’t for sissies. My late mother demonstrated that truth. She survived many health challenges to live until she was 85 when she just gave up and stopped eating. She had late-stage cervical cancer soon after I was born. She was not quite 40, and chemotherapy was not as prevalent or refined. With the care of a great doctor, she was treated with radiation therapy and some drugs. She miraculously survived.

Unfortunately, excess radiation caused scar tissue in her colon, which caused blockages that had to be surgically removed two decades later. Daily life was not easy after that, but she kept working hard in her catering business, traveling with Dad and being a mom and grandmother. In her last years, she had breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Almost to the very end, her brain remained alert, and her personality as ornery as ever.

I think the worst affliction of old age would be dementia. I want my brain to keep working now that I have the time to learn more about myself and the world.

I never want to lose the many wonderful memories of my family, friends and experiences. They keep me going during these pandemic days of social isolation, and remind me of what matters most in this life.

So I plan to stay healthy and in charge of my faculties. I know there will be challenges. But as Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson sing, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Comments for Cataracts, varicose veins! What's next?

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What's Next?
by: John, North Carolina

Liked your post Ron.

What's Next are new joints. Retired at 70 and not had a surgery since my appendectomy in grade school.

Since then I have had a torn retina, cataract surgery on both eyes. Left knee replacement, right shoulder replacement and a four bone fusion to fix SLAC wrist. Next month the right knee gets replaced.

It is so nice to see clearly again and enjoy walking without pain. We are truly fortunate to be living in these times when we can get parts replaced and enjoy life to the fullest.

Growing old is another part of life to embrace and enjoy.

Cataracts & Aging
by: Carol-Dillsburg, PA

Such positive and upbeat comments! Keep them coming! God Bless!

Every year it's something
by: Bob / Midwest

Yep, I know how you feel. My thinning hair, losing eyebrows! Etc, etc, etc! Coming to terms with a new stage of life and reflecting on ones younger life.

Been retired for 5 years.
First-year depression.
Second-year mother died- no family left.
The third year, hernia surgery.
Fourth year, diagnosed with Kidney disease.
5th year diagnosed with Gout.

Kidney disease forced me to change my diet to a plant-based diet. Kidney function improved. Dropped 25 pounds of weight. Dropped 40 points from cholesterol. Blood pressure is perfect, no meds needed. My overall health improved. Joints feel better. And I increased my exercise a bit.

So yep, aging is not for the faint of heart!
Takes courage of sorts.

Well Said
by: Jeanne Savelle/Atlanta

Thanks for your comments. Very well said. We have a lot in common so I understand your point of view.

All of us traveling this road are so fortunate. My mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 48 and I am shocked and grateful that I am still here, hoping to see my 65th birthday in a few months.

Life is a miracle and a mystery.

by: Ron

Thanks for the feedback!

Cataracts etc.
by: Carol

I really enjoyed your post, Ron.

I agree with your comments about dementia, although, without the many photographs I have, I fear that I have lost memories already about many things.

cataracts varicose veins
by: matt i

Ron, Gosh you sure have gone through plenty of health challenges. You, in a nostalgic way, remind me of Lee Majors in TV series Bionic Man.

I salute your strong will and fortitude to keep going. What a gift meanwhile to live in USA to be able to have these medical procedures to prolong the miracle of life.

Thanks for sharing your story.

You have a great attitude!
by: Michael - Sunny and Warm Venice Florida


This was a great read. Your positive attitude will keep you going for many more years.

I'm 55, fortunate to still have a full head of hair in my natural color. 35-50 mile bike rides are a daily occurrence. But, I'm still getting used to those floaters in my eyes that showed up 6 months ago.

And, even though I'm 30 lbs. lighter since retiring 4 years ago, I've decided finally to accept my belly fat.

Both of my grandmother's lived into their 90s. My maternal grandmother (and her siblings) all drove their own cars until they died.
Why? It was out of necessity, and nobody told them they couldn't do it.

As far as aging goes, Nana once said "You can't do anything about it, so there's no use in complaining."

I'll be waving to you on Interstate 75 as I pass Gainesville heading from Venice to upstate NY!

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