Saturday, August 7, 2010

Look me in the eye (the right one, if you please).

I'm laughing my head off right now, and here is why:  my sister, Holly is some kind of photoshop genius, and when she sees this picture, she will most likely put her head in her hands and moan for a very long time.  I'm not sure if I could have done a worse editing job than this.  I wanted to post this picture, but my mom is in this photo with me.  I knew that if I wanted to live another day, I could not put this photo on with her in it, because it's not the best picture of her.  Once, my sister tried to teach me photoshop, and I failed miserably and had very sweaty armpits.  Sorry I said armpits.  And sweaty.  

Back to my point.  If you will look closely at my eyes, you will see that my left one is crossed.  This is what 6th cranial nerve palsy looks like.   

Ignore the touching scene that is unfolding here and look at my eye.  While my right eye could still move freely, my left was stuck in the corner.

The morning after I started having double vision, I noticed while washing my hair that the right side of my scalp was numb.  Later that day, my right foot started tingling and eventually my whole right side was numb.  I had times when my speech was halting.  It took a little longer for me to get my words out.  I had extreme fatigue.  I've delivered 3 babies, so I have experienced fatigue before.  But this was different. This was worse.  

As frightened as I was about my health and the seriousness of these symptoms, I was also frustrated about how I looked and how other people were looking at me.  When I was out in public, I felt conspicuous dragging my right foot around and tilting my head so I could see the world out of my right eye.  I did wear an eye-patch at times over my left eye but it usually left me feeling irritated and claustrophobic. 

See this?  It has been my faithful companion since I was 15, but I had to say goodbye.  It was just too hard to put on.  When I looked in the mirror, I couldn't see the left side of my face clearly.  I have always looked wistfully at those women who can run around with no makeup.  But I felt bare and exposed without it.  The first time I went to church like that, I kind of giggled to myself and thought, "I can't believe I am at church with no mascara on!"  I quickly got over it, and it actually became a very freeing thing for me.  It's good to care a little less about how I look.  There are so many other things that matter more. 

I found myself wishing I could wear a sign that said, "Just look at my right eye while we are talking."  The thought of anyone feeling uncomfortable talking to me made me so sad.  But it's true.  When you are talking to someone and you don't know which eye to look at, it is awkward. 

Later I want to share the deeper issues that this illness brought up for me, but for now, I do want to address this issue of outward appearance.  Although it was minor for me in comparison to other things, it is easy to get caught up with outward appearances.  It is after all, what we humans look at, isn't it?  God said, "...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."(1 Samuel 16:7).

More than anything else, I want my heart to be right before Him.  Because in the end, it's not going to matter what any person ever thought of the way I look.  It is the condition of my heart as I come face to face with the Lord that will matter for eternity. 

So how about you?  Have you ever had a humbling experience related to your appearance?  Leave a comment if you want to share! 



  1. Geez Rachelle...only every ding dong day...I lean HEAVILY on that whole inner beauty thing...LOL!!! But seriously, I am enjoying your story very much. Waiting for the next part of your story is much like it was waiting for the next "Left Behind" book! ;-0

  2. Hey Rachelle--I am so sorry to hear that you went through all of this. You are one of the most beautiful people I know outwardly, but your kind heart has always shown through! I am enjoying your posts!

  3. Recently diagnose with thyroid cancer and my thyroid was removed and on thyroid meds. The effects of this condition has left me with almost no hair in the top center of my head and being a full-figured woman has its own issue but to be almost bald with carries another set of issue in addition to the every six months treatments I have to look forward to for the next 5 years. I decided to embrace my outward appearance and although it still is hard, I refuse to wear a wig and chose to just be. Me.


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