“You’re going blind,” said my Neuro-Opthamologist after a thorough exam of my eyes.
How was I to digest this information? How could anyone?
I was 26 years old, vibrant and independent. I was enjoying my friends, loved my job and adored my partner. Life was amazing.
Suddenly, in only four short weeks I went from having perfect vision to less than 2% in only one eye. It happened so fast! A condition called Pseudotumors Cerebri.
It began with excruciating headaches and muscle pain, and then progressed to double and blurred vision within two weeks. Once discovered, I then had eye surgery to prevent any further damage, which resulted in near total vision loss.
That was 16 years ago and I have learned and grown in ways I never could have imagined.
The day I woke up from surgery, I made a choice to be positive and move forward, no matter what I had to overcome. And that was the best decision I could have made for myself at that time.
Living life as a blind woman, has taught me many things and I thought I would share them with you.
The one thing that has changed the most for me is my perspective on life, the world…on everything. This new perspective has helped me to be more compassionate, more positive and less judgmental. That alone was a game changer!
Here are a few other amazing things I learned since losing my vision:
“Patience is a virtue.” – William Langland
I never took that quote seriously until I went blind. I first had to learn patience with others.
When something like this happens, everyone wants to help. It’s in their nature to be so kind and loving. However, you are then on their timelines, walking pace, safety guidelines, and the overall “don’t do list” because you’re blind.
You are often waiting. Waiting for a taxi that doesn’t want you or your guide dog. Waiting for someone to help you read your mail. Waiting for help at a grocery store. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. So, patience is a beautiful virtue. 🙂
Now patience with self is something else all together. If the taxi driver takes an hour to come get me, I probably won’t lose my coconut on him. But, if I’m looking for a spatula in the drawer for longer than a few minutes, my wife might as well go fishing!
Think of the frustration that sets in when you can’t find your keys. It’s kind of like that times 10.
Having patience with myself in both my personal and business life is something I continue to learn.
“He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.” – Lao Tzu
Trust plays a huge role in my life. Not only do I need to trust that others are helping and guiding me in the right direction – often literally – I need to trust in myself and the path I am on.
Cashiers, taxi drivers, strangers at a bus stop and even loved ones. It goes a long way to building relationships in the community and in your life.
Think about it, it happens all the time. I’m on a busy street and a kind person asks if they can help me. In that exact moment in time, they are asking me to trust them to take me somewhere safe.
At the same time, they are also trusting ME enough to even ask. It’s amazing. I accept, they assist, we walk. Mission accomplished and everyone feels good. Beautiful! 🙂
“Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn’t mean it does not exist.” —Margaret Cho
I had a cat when I went blind and I bent down to pick him up. I lifted him up to kiss his face and ended up kissing his ASS! So hilarious! We laughed so hard.
My friends and I have a lot of fun. One friend finds it hilarious to sneak up on me and try to steal my purse. I freak out, she laughs, we hug and we laugh it out. One friend always forgets me in parking lots. One lets me drive boats and quads. Life is fun, exciting and never a dull moment!
If there’s one thing this experience will leave me with, it’s sore cheeks! Laughing helps us heal and it’s okay to joke about your hardships when you’re ready.
Maybe a future post I’ll debunk some myths in a humorous way about blindness. Like, yes, I close my eyes when I sleep. 😉
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.” – Oprah Winfrey
Being grateful for things never used to be high on my priority list prior to my vision loss. I mean, I always was very thankful, but I don’t recall feeling and expressing it as much as I do today.
That knowing that anything, everyone and everything could not be a part of you in any given moment, is reason enough to be grateful every chance you get. I have learned to take nothing for granted – specifically people – and I have learned to say thank you at every turn.
I am grateful to be here with you writing you about my experiences.
I am grateful I have a loving wife and an amazing life with her and my guide dog, Jackson.
I am grateful for the love and support of my friends and family who have stood by me all these years.
I am grateful for all I have accomplished. I am grateful for every challenge and every opportunity.
Gratitude is your stepping-stone to get you through adversity.[Click to TWEET!]
Take a moment now. What are you grateful for?
There are so many more things I have learned since losing my vision, but these the ones that have really made a difference for me: patience, trust, humour and gratitude – all blanketed by a beautiful new perspective on life.
As I write these words, it hits me just how much my truly has changed since November 1999 when I was a perfectly sighted 26 year old.
Psst! I’ll share a secret with you now…I can see more clearly now than I ever have in my life! 🙂
Please share in the comments below how you have ever had to learn patience, trust, humour or gratitude to help you in your life?