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Buy the Tickets

Life has this really hard, messy, gorgeous thing that it does called change. If you’re here reading this, you have no doubt experienced it, and know that some changes are harder and more difficult to process than others.

Fear of blindness

A 2016 nationwide online poll conducted by Research!America, an online research group, says blindness is the biggest fear for many Americans. Adrienne Scott, lead researcher and assistant professor of ophthalmology explains, “These findings underscore the importance of good eyesight to most and that having good vision is key to one's overall sense of well-being."1

Vision loss is our reality

Those of us here battling eye health issues know the feeling. If you are currently in a place where you’re struggling to process the rollercoaster of change, take a deep breath. It’s all going to be okay.

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” ~ Robin Sharma

Diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration

One of many things I’ve learned through the frustrating and sometimes sad change of a medical diagnosis is that it can feel really hard in the beginning. After being diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration in 2008, I personally had a thousand and one questions for my retina specialist and twice as many worries. I felt sorry for myself for a really long time. I even asked the presumed egotistical question of, ‘Why me?’. One moment I was living life naively thinking I had a grip on things, and then BOOM! I got news that shook me right to my core.

Change is hard at first

If you’re presently being shaken to your core, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to be scared. It is okay to be mad and worried, and it is definitely not selfish to ask, “Why me?”. Those feelings are normal and they are more than okay.

Change is messy in the middle

I encourage you to feel what you feel and process in whatever way is best for you. Doing so is expected and healthy...but, friends, let me urge you to not stay in that hard, messy place for too long. Grieve, cry, scream if you must, then leave that place and find your new path on this crazy beautiful journey called life.

Change is gorgeous at the end

This diagnosis is just an obstacle. I’ve yet to meet a person who hasn’t had obstacles along their journey, have you? The extraordinary thing about obstacles is that humans are great at overcoming them. As cliche as it may sound, change really can be good. In this case, that certainly has proven to be true for me. Almost eleven years after my MD diagnosis, I can honestly say that this hard, messy change has made my life better in a gorgeous way.

A different perspective

I’ve made the decision that I am not going to let this disease keep me down. I now try to see all of life’s changes as revisions or adjustments rather than final verdicts. Does that mean I’m always this positive about things? No, I definitely have days where I worry about my vision, or the future, or any of the many inevitable changes we’re all forced to make from time to time. More change is certain to come. In fact, it’s predictably inescapable. But, I refuse to stay stuck in that hard, messy place.

Joy thief

A friend that I met through an online support group for people with differing eye ailments gave name to what was happening to me when I was first diagnosed. She called MD my ‘joy thief’, and that term has greatly impacted the way I think about my diagnosis.

The power of music

Besides the amazing people in my life, the thing that brings me the greatest joy is music. Concerts are my happy place! If you saw me at a Dave Matthews Band concert with people I love, you’d never see anyone happier. I used to limit the number of concerts I went to because of time or money, but not anymore. Last year, I went to 15 concerts and I had the time of my life! MD has not only stopped stealing my joy, but it has started gifting me the courage and permission I needed to live my best life.

Quick Tip: Over time, I’ve been blessed enough to get my answer to ‘Why me’, and you can find your way there too. Buy the tickets. Get that tattoo. Go on that trip. Make those memories. Laugh until you cry. Do whatever it is that brings you joy. Don’t let change be your joy thief.

“Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain.” ~ Dave Matthews

Sing and dance,

Andrea Junge

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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