Can Macular Degeneration Cure Other Ailments?

Last updated: November 2022

I know, I know, macular degeneration curing other ailments sounds pretty crazy, right? But... is it? I was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration almost 13 years ago and let's just say life has been quite the roller coaster ride since.

Negativity

Personally, my macular degeneration has cured a little (actually a GIANT) thing I was struggling with called chronic negativity. I felt really sorry for myself when I was first diagnosed with macular degeneration.

It felt like my world had ended, my life was over, and I needed to point out every single seemingly negative thing in my life so I could dwell on it. Gosh, it is still so awfully painful just looking back on feeling that way.

Prioritizing mental health and happiness

Honestly, I can’t even place the blame for my chronic negativity on my macular degeneration diagnosis because I suffered from it well before then, too. Why, do you ask? I’m not entirely sure, but I like to chalk it up to just not knowing any better at the time and not prioritizing my mental health and happiness.

Something I know now that I didn’t know then is that sometimes we are given hard things in life so we can learn lessons and grow into our best selves. Read. Rehearse. Repeat. We are given hard things in life so we can learn lessons and grow into our best selves.

Things happen FOR you, not TO you

Over the years, I’ve gone all the way from depressed and frightened to encouraged and empowered. Honestly, I’ve had to have a complete change of perspective in order to fully grasp what my macular degeneration diagnosis has done FOR my life. I used to say that it did something TO me or took things away FROM me... but that just isn’t the case. It never was.

You see, we all have some difficult "stuff" to deal with in life. This is just part of the hand we’ve been dealt in this one shot we get at a happy life... we can’t change it, so why allow it to control our lives instead of enhance them?

Eric’s perspective

One morning, I was on a walk to our local small-town bakery in an attempt to grab a few treats to surprise my kiddos for breakfast. This particular morning happened to be during the part of the pandemic where masks are required to enter places of businesses in my home state. On my walk, I was chatting with one of my most important people, Eric.

Eric’s perspective is one we can all learn from. He is just a shining example of finding the bright side of life, even when things feel hard... especially when things feel hard. While chatting that early summer morning, he sent me a story about a Chinese farmer whose hardships were actually blessings.

The Chinese farmer

The story goes like this: a Chinese farmer had a horse that ran away. His neighbor gave his condolences for having bad luck, but the farmer knew better. His perspective was, "good news, bad news, who can say?".

Later, the runaway horse came back with a second horse. Good news! So, the farmer then gave the second horse to his son as a gift. His son was thrown from the horse and suffered a bad injury.

The neighbor again gave the farmer his condolences for having bad luck. The farmer replied again with, "good news, bad news, who can say?"

At that time, the emperor's men came and took all able-bodied young men away to fight in a war and the farmer’s son had been spared because of his injury. Good news!

Positive effects of macular degeneration

I read this story, chatted with Eric, and walked the mile all the way to the bakery only to realize that I had forgotten my mask at home and needed to turn around to grab it. I admittedly had a minuscule moment where I almost felt frustrated. But... I decided instead to be more like Eric and the Chinese farmer and change my perspective.

My new perspective

You see... it was a beautiful day outside, the perfect weather for a longer walk. And, given the extra time it took to get to the bakery I was able to bring my older son with me for some one-on-one time during the second trip to the bakery.

And... to take my perspective shift one step further... Eric reminded me that now I got to spend time with my older son AND still surprise my younger son with bakery treats. Win, win... good news!

Difficult diagnoses aren't just hardships

I often write about how my diagnosis of myopic macular degeneration has been a catalyst for many amazing things in my life... not just hardships. I’m hoping that over time, you’re having these same life-changing, evolutionary experiences. A shift in perspective is sometimes all it takes to start turning our lives around.

Time to pivot,

Andrea Junge

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