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A man with closed eyes and a radiating heart t-shirt lays on a stack of hearts, spreading loving kindness.

Paying It Forward and AMD

To me, “paying it forward” means, to do a good deed for someone else. It’s a random act of kindness thing. To do something for someone else without expectation of any return. It’s very heartwarming and gratifying to pay it forward. It gives you the “warm fuzzies” to respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else.

What does this have to do with AMD?

We have an opportunity to do this right here at MacularDegeneration.net! Many of you are already doing it! This site provides a platform for those of us with AMD to voice questions, concerns and fears to one another. We, the members, can learn vicariously from others' experiences. We can share our experiences, strength, and hopes with each other through our interactions on this site. The power of the group is far greater than the power of an individual.

Want an example?

Many years ago, the famed anthropologist, Margaret Mead was giving a lecture when a student asked her what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student was expecting Mead to talk of cooking tools, clay pots or fishhooks.

But Mead talked about unearthing a femur (human thigh bone) that had been broken and then healed. Margaret Mead went on to explain that in the animal kingdom, a broken leg means death. The animal can’t run from danger, get to the river to drink or hunt for food. An animal cannot survive long enough for a broken bone to heal.

I still don’t get it?

A healed bone means someone took the injured person to safety, bound the wound, fed, and cared for the wounded person until they could heal. "Helping someone through adversity is where civilization starts," replied Mead.

(I like to think this is an early example of a sentient, compassionate being helping another. This goes back to the caveman days!)

Helping those who are newly diagnosed with AMD

What I’d like to try to do for those newly diagnosed with AMD:

  • Reassure them that AMD does not mean they will suddenly go blind! At worst they will lose some central vision but retain their peripheral vision.
  • I want to tell them this disease is a “slow mover". I was diagnosed more than 8 years ago and have had 60+ injections in my wet eye. I still drive, read, watch TV and have close to my baseline vision from 8 years ago.
  • Ask them to educate themselves on AMD and the steps they can take to have their best chance at retaining the vision they have. This site is vast and deep with stories, articles, personal accounts and interactions with fellow AMD patients. You can find info, support and encouragement here.

Pay it forward by sharing your experience

The cost of this is free, the only thing you have to do is participate. If at first you’re shy, just read what you want to on here. Later, make a post, ask a question. If you have personal experience that could help someone else, consider sharing it. We’re all in this together! When you pay it forward you’re usually changing someone’s circumstances for the better. The neat thing is the person paying it forward gains as much from the experience as the person they’re helping. Let’s all pay it forward when we can. I wish you well on your journey.

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