LUCKY Me?

When I was first diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration, I felt so sorry for myself. I definitely had more days that dipped down into the sad and scary feelings of life worrying and feeling anxious about what was to come. As I get older and move along this journey called life, I'm beginning to wonder if macular degeneration has really been given to me as a gift. Lucky me? I'm still on the fence, but hear me out.

Vision loss is an emotional roller coaster

One of the only consistencies I’ve found when dealing with my diagnosis of macular degeneration is the inevitable roller coaster of emotions that accompany it. There are days that dip to the bottom and days that soar up to the peaks. But I’m forever stuck on this roller coaster, unable to get off of it.

Bracing for the highs and lows of vision loss

My macular degeneration doesn’t allow me to get off of the roller coaster when I'm feeling scared. That’s just a part of who I am now. So, on this roller coaster, I’ll stay. I’ve decided that it doesn’t do me any good to fight to get off of it. I better just strap myself in tight...and make sure I’m holding a barf bag in one hand for the scary times, with my other hand raised up to the sky reaching for the joy!

Anxieties of vision loss

Some days I am completely distraught with worry, anger, and fear over this diagnosis. Anxieties about the uncertainty of my future creep in and seem to take over my entire life. These dips don’t allow me to be at peace with anything and always leave me wondering how much longer I have to see the world around me. Good thing I have that barf bag in hand. When I feel this way, I have to literally tell myself to STOP. And redirect my thoughts to something else.

Finding positivity in vision loss

Other days, I feel totally empowered by it all. I can see how strong I have become BECAUSE of this diagnosis. I have learned to be more grateful and I’ve gotten comfortable with who I am and what I need. I’ve learned how to be my own advocate and I’ve been given the most amazing opportunity to help others deal with their macular degeneration roller coasters here at MacularDegeneration.net.

Why we are ALL lucky

Macular degeneration does this really messy thing called forcing people to reevaluate their lives. Through my macular degeneration, I’ve learned the beauty of acceptance, the mighty power of a support system (our MacularDegeneration.net community), and I’ve learned the true meaning of stopping to smell the roses and SEE them too. Macular degeneration has even taught me to stick up for myself in any situation that doesn’t feel right.

The opportunities vision loss has motivated me to see

I now know that there’s so much more to life than robot-ing through the days and just surviving. My struggles with this diagnosis have taught me to take chances and go do all the things I want to do...no matter what! Dave Matthews, here I come! Macular degeneration has been the single force in my life projecting me towards being my best self and living my best life.

Living your best life

You see, people who haven’t experienced this type of fear can’t really know what it means to live your best life. And what's the point of living our lives if they aren't the best ones they can possibly be? Life isn't meant to be survived...it's meant to be LIVED despite our difficulties and challenges. Sure, nobody wants to be threatened with extreme and life-altering vision loss. But, unless they’ve actually experienced macular degeneration, they can’t completely understand all of the obstacles and life lessons that accompany it.

Vision loss is life-changing

There are some people out there that haven’t been through these types of 'hard.' They haven’t struggled with something as life-changing and frightening as a disease that threatens to steal away their sight...and their life as they know it. We can get up and decide every single day that we aren’t just rolling over and allowing macular degeneration to crumble us. Happiness is a choice.

Winning the macular degeneration battle

We are conquering it...despite ‘whatever’ it decides to throw at us. Can’t drive anymore? Okay, macular degeneration, I will find another way to get to the place I want to go! Can’t read anymore? No problem, I’ll get audiobooks. Can’t paint anymore? Sure you can, find new ways to paint and have fun! Don’t want to leave the house? Call a friend and invite them over!

Live your life. Find the joy and laugh in macular degeneration’s face! We are warriors! We are brave! We are overcomers! We are LUCKY! And someday we’re going to all drop our barf bags and reach both hands up to the sky!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Remember how LUCKY you really are as you ride this roller coaster,

Andrea Junge

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