Hi, all :) I'm Holly Shaltz, a weaver and spinner
since the mid 80s, and a long-term diabetic
finally diagnosed August 08 (A1c 11.1).
Unfortunately, in spite of getting my blood sugar
under tight control (no A1c over 5.1 since January
2009), my eyes and other parts of my body don't
seem to understand the new rules :)
To sum up, I've had Diabetic Macular Edema for
about a year now, mostly in the left eye but the
right appears to be going that way, too.
Aggressive treatment, including laser surgery and
injections of Avastin, have not helped. I finally
had a vitrectomy on May 25th. Everything went
very well, but about 10 days later (June 5th) I
woke up with severe double vision and that has not
The left eye just doesn't line up with the right
anymore. Also, the vision from the vitrectomy
remains quite impaired - like looking at things
through a film of oil. Not to mention the
cataracts I have in both eyes but can't get fixed
until the retinopathy and DME is under control.
I go back to my retinologist this morning for a
full exam to see how things are going, and he told
me by phone that if the DV hasn't cleared up by
today, he will refer me to another specialist. I
suspect I have cranial nerve damage, based on a
book, _Diabetic Eye Disease_, by Dr Paul Chous,
but won't know until I see the specialist, if
then. If that's so, the condition may clear up
spontaneously, but according to what I've read in
the book and elsewhere, they typically wait 6
months before trying any treatments.
At the same time, just to let you know where I am,
I have damage in my shoulder that causes a lot of
pain. I had an MRI on Wednesday and haven't heard
the results yet as to what sort of damage is
there. Physical therapy made it much worse, and
it was my therapist who suggested the MRI saying
that when she sees my kind of response to the
therapy she suspects a torn muscle. Very possibly
surgery is in the near future.
So I'm living in a frustrated world right now -
can't do fine work because of the eyes, can't do
gross-motor stuff because of the shoulder! :) And
very much in limbo regarding treatment and
prognosis. My gut feeling is my eyes are going
downhill faster than treatment can manage, but
partly that feeling is because if I prepare for
the worst, sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised.
On the weaving side, I have a website,
>, that shows my love,
weaving with handspun yarns. I can't prepare and
spin fibers well right now because of the shoulder
- the eyes don't help, for that matter. I also
weave a lot with commercial cottons, but don't
have any pictures up of my work there. I have a
45" 8 shaft Schacht floor loom, and I have the use
of a 16 shaft 60" manual dobby AVL.
The latter was reconditioned when purchased by a
friend, who later asked me to store it for her
when she needed the space for her mother-in-law,
in exchange for using it. I'm not great friends
with that loom (the dobby keeps picking up or
dropping shafts unexpectedly - and even with my
eyes fully functioning that was hard to see in
time - but did do the 16-shaft napkin pattern (an
original pattern based on an old linen napkin) in
the May-June 2010 Handwoven as part of the
exchange under the study group projects - Lake
Charlevoix Area Weavers Guild.
Which brings me to one more thing - sorry to be so
wordy, but I *always* am! I live in NW lower
Michigan, which is 4+ hours from major population
centers and hospitals and services. I have only
dial-up access to the net. I've not been able to
find any sources of low-vision services in this
area. Googling various keywords has, at best,
resulted in commercial eye clinics way downstate.
Does anyone know of any free services to people
with temporary or permanent vision problems -
teaching people how to manage with low vision?
I'd like to be able to resume as much of my life
as possible, but right now I keep seeing brick
walls, no doors or windows.
OK, sorry for the long intro! I look forward to
meeting other weavers with similar issues, and
learning whatever tips and tricks you can suggest
for dealing with vision problems as a weaver -
especially threading and seeing weaving errors in
time to easily correct them. I really, really
don't want to give up my weaving. It fills a need
in me that I didn't know I had when I first picked
up a shuttle.
Now the arm is warning me to get off the computer! :)