Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Recently I was diagnosed with “Open early glaucoma (suspected.)” Apparently it is common among “seasoned” individuals. I saw my ophthalmologist on Monday and my eye pressure had gone down from the last time I had it checked. My doctor was happy and I was thrilled! We discussed my upcoming service in the Peace Corps and she said she’d like me to have my eye pressure checked twice per year and get annual visual field testing. I told her I thought the Peace Corps could accommodate this. I was wrong. On Friday I received a letter from the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services which stated they could not provide those recommendations due to the limited resources available in the countries the Peace Corp serves. However, they made a counteroffer: If I eliminate the annual visual field testing and one eye pressure check they can accept me into service. Next week I’ll contact my doctor and discuss this with her. If she approves of the revised care plan, so will I.

As you can imagine, this has brought up thoughts about aging and mortality for me. I truly am a very healthy woman. No heart disease, no diabetes, no arthritis, no pulmonary issues, no blood disorders. I do cardio workouts 4 times per week; I do yoga; I meditate; I’m a non-smoker and I laugh. A lot. But now I have a permanent eye disorder. Ugh.

The blessing for me here is that I wasn’t having eye problems when I went to see the eye doctor. I realized I hadn’t had my eyes tested in years (many) and decided I should. I am very glad I did this because I am at the extreme front end of this eye disorder. Chances are it will be years before I have to go on medication for it. I will monitor and manage it.

Was I disappointed with the Peace Corps’ decision? A little. Did I understand it? I did. Can I do anything about it? Not until next week so for now I’m going to enjoy my morning coffee and thank God for this beautiful day.

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3 Responses to Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

  1. Lew Hemmer says:

    As I cast about each day during the ‘Great PC Wait’, I came upon your blogs. Beyond the enjoyment I have gotten out of your topics and writing styles, some of the details of your PC Application process have intrigued me.
    If you can describe yourself as a “seasoned” applicant, I must be in the “over-cooked” category (I am 66). The main reason that I am writing is to ask how you are managing the waiting time to hear from a Placement Officer. I received my nomination last June and finally got all medical/vision/dental forms completed and delivered & received in DC during the first week of August. My dental information was reviewed and approved seemingly right away. Then, almost at the same time, my PC Toolkit indicated that there is a “Legal Hold.” My attempt to find out more details resulted in being informed by someone in the DC PC Legal Department, “You will hear from us sometime when we review your information in more detail.”
    My recruiter had told me during the interview that I was being nominated for Youth/Community Development Programs in Central/South America or Eastern Caribbean. My web searches for all information related to the Peace Corps has given me the understanding that the Programs/Regions relating to my Nomination will likely ‘Stage’ in January/February 2011. I suppose that I should accept that I will not likely hear from Placement until November or December, but I keep looking for something more solid upon which to base planning my coming months. My career position at a community behavioral health organization was eliminated and I was laid off last April. It has been difficult looking for employment and even to apply to be a volunteer when I have to say, “I’m not sure how long I will be here.” How are you handling such matters, or how have you handled them and what do you recommend?


    • Mary Trotter says:

      Hi Lew,
      Wow. I thought I was crazy by joining the Peace Corps at 48 but this makes you “certifiable!” 😉

      No seriously, I commend you on your courageous decision to leave what you know in order to help others.

      As for the waiting time, when I met with my Recruiter she asked me about my timing and I told her I needed the 9-12 months I saw in the literature and that I would not be available for service before February. She looked at the programs I was qualified for and told me the same thing you found in your web searches – Programs in Central/South America or Eastern Caribbean will ‘Stage’ in February/March 2011. Because of my self-imposed time frame the waiting hasn’t impacted my work life any, but I understand your dilemma. I think you should continue to expect to hear from Placement in November or December and if you feel compelled to inform any prospective employer about your upcoming service in the Peace Corps, let them know you are here until January or February. I hope this helps!


  2. Fran says:

    You may want to check this site for dental assistance. Hope it helps.

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