The Upside to Life With Macular Degeneration
Recently I started brainstorming an idea. I had to write an article about the surprising upside to my life with macular degeneration. One of my concerns was coming across as a Pollyanna.
Many in our community are struggling with severe vision loss. At this point in their journey, I know they feel hopeless and can’t imagine ever finding an upside to this terrible disease. I see your struggle and empathize with each of you. This article is not intended to discount your struggle but perhaps offer a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Overcoming my Type A personality
Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I seldom go with the flow. Throughout my work career, I lived by my daily planner, with every detail of my day thought out ahead of time. Having a Type A personality was good for my career. My last job prior to retirement was writing grants for the Choctaw Nation Of Oklahoma. Successful grant writing involves dotting every “I” and crossing all the “T's."
Transitioning to retirement
As I transitioned into retirement, I found it difficult to adjust to a more laid-back life. I still mentally planned out each day.
Six years ago, I was diagnosed with macular degeneration. At first, it had little impact on my life. Gradually my vision worsened and I struggled as most of us do. I was forced to consider a future that may include being legally blind.
An optimist at heart
By nature, an optimist, I began looking for ways to bring more joy into my life. No longer keeping a strict schedule, today I live more in the moment. I don’t want to rush through the rest of my days.
Finding a new routine
My days now include a long leisurely cup of coffee in the morning. After breakfast, I like to stroll through our beautiful flower gardens. It is impossible for me to worry about what the future holds as I weed flowers or go for a long walk.
While working, I had little time to enjoy friends. Now I treasure each of my friends. The ladies group of my church call themselves Ladies of Faith. This wonderful group cheer for me when one of my articles is published. They will also pray for me when I am struggling.
A surprising opportunity to give back
In 2020, in the throes of the pandemic, I applied to become an advocate with MacularDegeneration.net. I was surprised and pleased when I was asked to join the team as an advocate and writer. I was a long-time member of the website and had gained so much from the community. From them, I learned more about my diagnosis than I learned from my doctor.
Becoming an advocate has enriched and blessed my life immeasurably. I am so happy when I can provide information and support to others with macular degeneration. Most every day, I learn something new from one of our members.
If you are struggling I hope you reach out to this community for support. We are on this journey together as we each try to live our best life in spite of the challenges of macular degeneration.
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