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A Day in My Life With AMD

Is there a typical day in my life living with AMD? Uh, only occasionally. And only if we’re lucky.

For the past 2 months, most of my time has been spent dealing with the logistical and emotional effects of moving: finding a new place, downsizing, locating a reputable mover. Two days before Thanksgiving, the owner of the townhouse we have been renting told us that our lease would not be renewed. Stressors abound. And now my husband has a bum knee, and I have a sore shoulder. Oh, well. Life goes on.

Medication, supplements, and assistive devices

The day is bookended by pills, including morning and evening doses of an AREDS2 vitamin supplement; for good measure, also known as "What can it hurt?", a probiotic; and B-12, C, and D.

I’m lucky. Only 2 prescription drugs. Many people my age (pushing 80) have many more. And in the middle of this, I have my regular injection.

Even before the pill comes prescription eyeglasses (so I can find the pill) and my hearing aids. I have lost about 60 percent of my normal hearing, so the high-tech aids are critical to my life. "What?" is the word most often heard in our house.

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It all starts with breakfast

I try to load up on fruit (blueberries, banana, pineapple) with yogurt and a bit of a great granola, and sometimes eggs. I’ve started making a spinach quiche. A slice can make a quick breakfast (with fruit) or lunch (with salad). I try to remember to "eat my colors" at every meal so I can get more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet.

Breakfast is where I encounter my first vision issue. I like reading part of a newspaper with breakfast — a paper newspaper, not a digital one. Because there is no high contrast between type and paper, I need a lot of light. And because the central vision in my left eye is gone, I’m working on using the peripheral vision in my right eye. Resolution for 2024: Practice more with my peripheral vision. Maybe even use an eye patch to cover the left eye.

Reading, researching, and learning

A big chunk of my time is spent at my laptop, researching ideas for, reading the newspaper, emailing friends. My new adjustable laptop holder lets me put the screen at eye level. My neck and back have been saying "Thank you!" since I got it. Of course, I set the font at a comfortable level for reading, and there’s a gooseneck lamp lighting up the desk’s surface.

Nearby is a handheld magnifying glass. I often read emails, including news summaries from an online edition of a major newspaper. On my reading list is a newsletter with links to journal articles on medical and health news. I look for things about vision, doctor/patient relationships, a healthy gut, and aging.

Relaxing and engaging in hobbies

I try to take a walk every day — sunglasses, hat, and high-powered sunscreen. Oh, if I had taken those warnings about the dangers of sun exposure more seriously. And smoking. Too many years addicted to nicotine. Sun and smoke both increased my risk for AMD.

"She always has her nose in a book," my mother would say. Now, it is reading stuff on my Kindle. Big type and a bright screen let me keep reading. Some people like audiobooks. I tend to fall asleep. I recently discovered that an amber-colored sheet of plastic helps sharpen type in both books and newspapers; maybe books will be in my future.

Knitting is still part of my life. High-powered light allows that to happen. Doing a few rows every day is something of a meditation for me.

Adaptations and lifestyle choices

Being the cook in our household has meant adjusting to the minuscule type on boxes and bags. Bright light and a handheld magnifier usually work, but I’m lucky in having a husband who will come to my rescue if all else fails.

I still drive — carefully, and rarely at night. There will come a day when that changes, but for now, it is okay. None of this seems special anymore. Four years post-diagnosis, I’m adjusting to a new reality.

Taking time to quieten my mind

There are millions of people like me dealing with life with AMD. One of the best parts of my life has been sharing my experience, just as I am doing by writing this. Then comes my "sit": 20 minutes of meditation.

I can’t measure the effects of doing this every morning. I do know that when I don’t spend the time quieting my mind, I miss it. Just as I acknowledge the random thoughts that pop up while meditating and send them downriver to be dealt with later, so, too, can I do the same with thoughts that occur while I’m writing.

What is a day in your life like with AMD? Share with us in the comments below.

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
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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