Losing my vision was one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through. I can not begin to tell you of the fear and internal torment that I went through on those dark and dreary days back in June and July of 2010.
Those 30 or so days from June 2nd to July 3rd were very strange. My vision loss in early June left me with a big obscured spot near the line of sight in my right eye, which was my only sighted eye. I did have to adjust to the aftermath of that stroke, as my vision was foggy and bright, along with the blind spot. Some days were better than others, as I tried to make due with what I thought was going to be my vision for the remainder of my life. I mentioned stroke. I suffered a central retinal arterial occlusion. Simply put a stroke. The blood flow to my retina in my right eye was disrupted by an arterial wall collapse. The doctors figure that the collapse was caused by years of deterioration from the radiation I had to cure the infancy cancer in my eyes. The arterial walls, over time, lost their elasticity and became very hard and finally collapsed. I do take a blood thinner now to try and keep this from happening again. So far, so good. I would love to be able to keep the vision that I have left, even if it is meager at best.
I did manage to get a ton of yard work done during the month of June, as I was forced to take the month off from work. My vision was in no way good enough to drive at work. My livelihood had been disrupted.
The doctors told me after the month of June that my blind spot and over all vision had improved to the point where I could safely resume normal activities. Needless to say, I was elated, and excited about being able to go back to work. I did not like the idle time, and was starting to feel like a loaf monster.
That last weekend was the weekend of the 4th, and Jack our grandson was supposed to come over for a stay Saturday into Sunday. We were going to take him to see the fireworks that Saturday night, until all hell broke loose.
I had been out weeding in the garden all week, and it had been a hot sunny week. I was glad at my progress, and by Friday afternoon, I was 2 rows from completion. It took me 2 days just to weed the onions and carrots. I hated weeding these rows, because it was such tedious work. It was awesome to stand and admire the rows upon completion though.
That Friday afternoon Lynne came to get me in the middle of the afternoon. I was fried and tired and she asked if I would like to take a ride to Skowhegan to get some take out and an ice cream. I did not disagree.
After the meal and an ice cream, I ran into Hannaford’s to grab a few groceries. I was met at the check out by a friend of mine’s wife. She noticed how tan I was from the week’s worth of weeding.
I exited the store, and went out to the car. We left the parking lot and I experienced the first of several strokes which were very similar to the one from the first of June. It was like geometric shapes floating and spinning in my sight. Checker boards spinning and tumbling. Pink Floyd was all I could think of.
My vision returned as we arrived home, but I was left with the blind spot sliding directly in front of my line of sight. I tried watching TV that night, but could not make out anything on the screen. It was all gray and foggy.
I did my normal chores before bed. Walking the dogs was as it normally was. I could see good enough to walk around the lot.
I went to bed very confident that it would get better in time, as it had done during the month of June.
I was wrong. I was very very wrong.
I awoke the next morning in the midst of another stroke, and that one subsided and slid immediately into another one.
I sat on the edge of my bed and waited for the strokes to subside. They did after an hour or so.
I got up, and walked the dogs. I told my wife what happened, and she called my ophthalmologist.
During the next couple of hours, I had a few more smaller strokes, and the last one at approximately 10am, my vision never came back.
I have been blind since. I have been learning how to be blind ever since.
My vision comes and goes, with what little I can still see. I am left with right outer peripheral vision, and it is like looking through cheese cloth at dusk. It basically sucks lots. The vision I have left is what they call temporal vision. I can not see what I am looking directly at. I have to look at the left of what it is that I want to try and see.
I get dizzy and the room starts spinning when I try to concentrate on what I am looking at.
I have what they call “hand motion only” vision. It is not usable vision, unless I am in a very familiar area. I have contrasted vision, which is that I can notice white on black, and vice versa.
It has been a year of ups and downs, and without my family, friends, and the folks at the DBVI I don’t know where I would be. I can assure you that I would not be faring as well as I am today.
I thank you all, and as I have done in the past year, I look forward to the challenges that my future holds.
There will be a ton of them, but it is my life, and I will live it to the best of my ability.
I am certain that these events have transpired for a reason. I will continue to try and find out what those reasons are, one day at a time.
God Bless You All.
Until we meet again.