An Interview With Myself

How did you feel about having AMD when you were first diagnosed and now?

Then: I was scared and confused, I knew nothing about macular degeneration. I thought they were telling me I was going to go blind...soon!

Now: I have accepted it but I am fighting it at the same time. My diet and exercise regimens have been enhanced. I keep my eye doctor appointments as my top priority. I belong to a number of internet support groups where I've found mutual support and have been educated by articles, fellow AMD patients' experiences, and dialogue from the members.

Vision loss prognosis

What did you think about your AMD prognosis or vision loss progression?

Then: I didn't know what they were telling me? I knew it was bad but I really didn't know how long I'd keep my sight.

Now: I have dry in one eye and wet in the other. I know this disease is a ”slow mover,” I've had it for 8 years and I'm still driving, reading, and watching TV.

Vision loss fears

What were your fears about losing your vision when you were first diagnosed compared to now?

Then: I was scared half to death. I did not know what to do or who to talk to. I thought I would have to retire early and be disabled.

Now: I've come to accept it. And through education, research, and dialogue with my doctors, fellow members of AMD sites, and a lot of posting and reading, I have had many of my questions answered and my fears have lessened immensely.

Coping strategies

What have your coping strategies for vision loss been?
Then: I scared myself half to death researching on the internet! I asked doctors, nurses, optometrists, and anyone I could find, what I should expect and what should I do.

Now: I have joined a gym and I'm participating in 2 different classes. (I attend at least 5 classes a week). One is Silver Sneakers (a great one for we seniors, I'm 71.) The other is Les Mills Body Pump. (this is ”hardcore” with medium weights and high reps, it isolates different muscle groups), with Body Pump I get toned and even an endorphin rush after workouts. My resting heart rate is down in the 50’s, pretty good for an old guy! I've also significantly improved my diet, trying for a diet closer to the Mediterranean diet. I've lost a lot of weight and my BMI is in a healthier range.

What is the most beneficial thing I've done?

Joining some macular degeneration internet groups. Especially MacularDegeneration.net (this one), where I’ve found a wonderful group of like-minded people that also have this disease. I have been able to advance my knowledge and strategies around AMD profoundly. I've learned from reading others' posts and questions and then reading all the responses from other members. The mutual support and compassion is nothing short of amazing. We are learning vicariously from each others' shared experiences. I personally have learned more here than all of the doctors' offices I've been in combined!

What does this have to do with the current pandemic?

This is a difficult time in history. The pandemic has us all frightened and alarmed. I believe we will come out the other side of this stronger and more bonded to each other than ever before.  I respect what each of you is going through, with not only the pandemic but with AMD. I'm so glad you found our group! We are stronger together than alone. I wish us all well on our health journey!

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