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A Lesson About Life With MD From 'The Birds of Killingworth'

I love to read. I read a lot. No matter what the subject is — a good murder mystery, a sappy, silly love story, an adventurous tale of great excitement —, I read it all.

I also read the daily newspaper (electronic edition, please), constantly pursuing daily news updates online and, of course, our beloved articles on

My diagnosis of myopic macular degeneration (MMD) tried to put a damper on this passion of mine.

A course of action fell into place

When I first started to experience the challenges of MMD, reading was becoming a struggle. I began experiencing an unnerving presence of waviness in objects, and letters had a strange appearance in one eye. I began referring to this eye as "the bad eye." Additionally, there was a new experience of smudginess in this eye. I was constantly feeling like I needed to wipe whatever it was away to make it easier to read.

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When I received my official diagnosis of myopic macular degeneration in March of 2019, a course of action fell into place. The first goal was to stop the bleeding in the eye that was causing all this distortion and blurriness. My nearsightedness was the culprit. A "normal" eye is basically a round sphere; my nearsighted eye, I was told, has the shape of a football. This football eye of mine had begun to stretch, and in this stretching process, bleeding had created stress and irreversible vision loss.

A lesson about life found in poetry

Thankfully, a regimen of injections was started, and after about a year and a half of this treatment, the stress and bleeding has been stopped.

Unfortunately, the damage done cannot be reversed. This is where the challenge of reading comes into play.

Poetry has always interested me, and I recently read a line that I truly feel is applicable to me today. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem in 1863 called "The Birds of Killingworth." The poem itself is long and slightly convoluted. Basically, this poem involved villagers and their various crops and the overabundance of birds which were wreaking havoc on those crops. In an attempt to solve this problem, all birds were eradicated, wiped out. Clearly, this did not solve anything; the absence of birds caused more problems than before. Through all of this, Mr. Longfellow stated, "For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain."

Thus, the bottom line is, leave well enough alone, let nature take its course, and the balance of nature will play out.

I keep on keeping on

With a bit of a stretch of the imagination, I like to think I am moving along in this holding pattern of mine.

Sure, my "bad eye" is not great. My vision is obscured, manageable though it is. I cannot do anything about what is lost and continue to hope nothing else goes wrong. I live my life as I have and keep on keeping on. I like the birds that I do see.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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