CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. - CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- The Christie Clinic Illinois Half-Marathon route: A thrilling challenge to be conquered, or maybe a painful course to just get through. No matter how you look at it, Tom Bishop sees it differently.
“It's a little bit blurry,” he says. “Think of like an ink pen that's exploded into your eye. And it's dispersed, and they're just kind of floating around.”
He has diabetic retinopathy, a common eye disease for someone with diabetes.
“It was scary. I'm like, ok, am I going to lose my eyesight?”
Dr. Michael Tsipursky specializes in issues of the retina.
“Even with all the treatments on board, the condition could continue to get worse, especially if the blood sugar's not well controlled,” he says. “But with the patient being cooperative and coming in on time and us doing all the treatments, the prognosis is much better than it used to be.”
Bishop's one of those cooperative patients: he comes in every few weeks for treatments, which include lasers and injections.
“Tom had pretty severe diabetic retinopathy, with a lot of swelling in the back of the eye.”
There's no real cure, but through those treatments, they've been able to reduce some swelling and get his vision to a manageable level.
“It’s not great, but it's certainly not total vision loss, so I'm able to function, and able to do a half marathon.”
And that's exactly what he plans to do. He finds a way to train every day, even weeks when he gets his injections.
“Hopefully they'll come up with some treatments and maybe there'll be a permanent fix. Right now this is just to keep things at bay.”
That's good enough for Bishop, who sees no limits ahead.
“I'm not sure what's next from here but just keep pressing on is what I want to do.”
Race day will actually be the culmination of a busy week for Bishop. He's volunteering to set-up in the days ahead and, if the weather will allow it, he hopes to go skydiving that week as well.