I just finished reading an article written by my MacularDegeneration.net team friend Cora Lyn Sears titled We Begin Again. She wrote about how she felt after receiving news that she would need to start injections again for a small leak in her ‘wet but stable eye.'
I was inspired by her message, “Intellectually I know that this is only a minor setback and will very likely be resolved with a few injections, but emotionally it’s a different matter.” She is so right. It got me thinking and I wanted to share.
Perspective is a complicated thing
Like my friend Cora Lyn, I too, struggle with perspective and sorting through emotions whenever there’s any change with my eyes.
Intellectual and practical perspective
I struggle with this a lot actually, even though intellectually I know certain things:
- I can’t change what’s happening to me, I can only be as healthy as possible in an attempt. I can exercise, eat well, and take my vitamins, but ultimately this isn’t up to me.
- Worrying doesn’t help me. If anything it makes the situation more difficult.
- Things could be worse than this, I am alive and well and am blessed in many ways.
Emotionally, it really is a different story
- I’m scared of losing my vision and that is an okay thing to be afraid of. Who wouldn’t be?
- Vision changes cause worry, even a feeling of panic at first, and that has to be a normal reaction, right?
- Things definitely could be worse, but that doesn’t lessen my struggles. My reality is my reality, and my reality feels extremely hard sometimes.
How bad is my situation?
If you’re anything like me, you have experiences that make you wonder about how bad your situation actually is. You might hear stories from friends or read articles online like I do that make you think...hmmm...maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about what’s happening to me???
Besides my struggles with macular degeneration (a general difficulty with seeing things clearly, wavy lines and a blind spot in the central portion of my field of vision in my right eye), I’m pretty healthy. I am successful in my career and enjoy what I do. I have healthy and happy children. We live in a beautiful home in a fantastic small town and I’m surrounded by great people.
My macular degeneration
My ‘dry’ MD eyes haven’t turned wet and may never, God willing. I haven’t had to endure injections. When my retina did tear, I had a fairly easy and very successful laser surgery with no complications after. I can still drive. I can still work. I can still see. So, how bad is my situation?
Loss, sadness, and being grateful
I am an elementary school teacher by day and just a month ago, we tragically lost one of our kindergarten students to a car accident. When something like this happens, it can make the blip in your vision seem like a very small issue. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I’m realizing that I can be both sad about the loss of a student and sad about the loss of my vision, just in a different way. Both types of loss give me perspective.
What is perspective?
Perspective is not about comparing situations. It is a lifelong lesson in understanding who we are and how we will deal with what happens to us. Perspective is about learning how to be grateful for what we have even when it’s hard because we are also struggling with difficulties. It is a process. Perspective can’t happen without first experiencing hard things.
We are not alone in our struggles
I’m at the stage in my life where I’m learning that, unfortunately, bad things happen to everyone. Everyone struggles with obstacles in life. The challenges of macular degeneration are just some of mine. I’m also learning that it’s okay to feel whatever I feel about it. Even if each day brings a new perspective with something new for me to feel.
Trying to stay positive with vision loss
I have a lot to be grateful for and I truly am; however, my vision loss is always in the back of my mind. I am trying hard to learn how to allow my vision loss to enhance my experiences in life, and I hope that you can too. Stopping to smell the roses, both figuratively and literally, is not an easy thing to do. The process can feel difficult, but it can also feel satisfying.
I am challenging you all to try to ‘take it all in’. A diagnosis accompanied by vision loss can help us learn to focus more on what makes us happy and less on robotically moving through our days as humans tend to do.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Feel what you feel,
Do you still drive?