Legally Blind Anniversary

In real-time, today is February 13, 2022. Today is Marcy’s birthday.

Marcy is a gym friend. She is one of my yoga instructors and gives me a ride home every time she teaches. I bought balloons, decorations, and a card, and we celebrated a bit at the Y.

6 years ago, Marcy was a Zumba acquaintance, not really a friend. Her birthday fell on a Saturday, Zumba class day. The instructor arranged for a slightly more elaborate celebration with homemade tutus and paper tiaras. I remember it well, not only because I was dancing in a tutu at age 62 but because it was my first “official” day of being legally blind.

My 6th anniversary of being legally blind

Yep. Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of my diagnosis. I had experienced a precipitous loss in vision, but my retina specialist did not believe me. Dry AMD is not supposed to work that way, you know. I insisted I be given an emergency appointment that Friday. My retina specialist was, shall we say, gobsmacked by the condition of my macula. Guess I showed him.

I contemplated staying home that Saturday morning, but what was I going to do at home? Be miserable and sit around imagining a horrible future as a “blind” old woman? Heck. You might as well dance.

Dancing the negative emotions away

Essentially I have been dancing ever since. Dancing has always given me joy. Some people may characterize it as dancing on the deck of the Titanic and being oblivious to reality, but I am not unaware of my vision problems. They have gotten progressively worse as time has gone on.

I am doing all that I can do about it, and I am in a study. Beyond that, being anxious about my state would be counterproductive. Who wants to sit around fretting when they can dance? Not me!

Coping through therapy

In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), what I did is called "opposite to emotion." If you want to change your mood, do something that will make you feel the opposite way. It works.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that having a vision loss is a proverbial walk in the park. It’s not. I would be thrilled to be able to drive myself places and read books again. But just the same, it is not as gosh dang (family website!) bad as I would have imagined before my loss.

Despite all the challenges, I find ways to enjoy life

I have made a TON of adaptations and modifications. And while I can assure you some of those adaptations and modifications are not up to par, they have not been that awful.

I have come to appreciate what I am still able to do and value the people who allow me to get out and do them. I have made new friends and have done some things I never had an interest in before to get out of the house! Some of those things weren’t so awful, and I actually learned a few things.

Vision loss also, believe it or not, expanded my role in the world. Before 6 years ago, I never considered becoming a “lab rat” in a clinical trial or writing with a serious purpose. I am doing both of those things now.

6 years. I cannot say it is a happy anniversary, but it is not all that bad. After all, I am still dancing. How could everything be awful?

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