‘I was cross-eyed when I was born so my parents took me to Primary Children’s Hospital and I had surgery to correct my eyes. They didn’t know I had keratoconus. I was bullied through all of grade school. Every time I took my glasses off, people would make fun of me and wonder where I was looking or why my eyes were going in different directions. When I got into high school, it was even worse because I didn’t want to wear my glasses and I thought I looked better without them. I wanted my makeup to look on point. In high school, I started to understand what was going on with my eyes.
I was told that keratoconus wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t progressing very fast. By my senior year, my vision was slowly going away but even then, I didn’t pay attention and didn’t care. I got my first job at a call center and my doctors wanted me to wear contacts. Soon, I got lazy and didn’t want to put them in and take them off. When I finally did, my eyes were red and burning. They gave me antibiotics and they told me that contacts maybe weren’t a good idea after all. So, I got new glasses and never went back to contacts.
Last year, I was told that I am going to go blind by the age of twenty-eight or thirty. My corneas are now shaped like cones rather than circular. The doctors suggested a cornea transplant…so in July of last year, I got my first cornea transplant and didn’t know that I wasn’t going to get my good vision back right way. In December, I started to see better but just recently, my vision has started to fail again. I can’t see at night anymore. I can’t see the lines of the road when you’re driving. It’s so disappointing because now, I worry about needing to drive somewhere if I’m by myself. This condition is going to be with me forever. All the doctors can do is slow it down. I don’t drive at night anymore. I am now legally blind out of my left eye and the vision in my right is getting worse but very slowly.
I know I am going to be blind and I worry about missing the moments of my son’s life. But, I believe in God. I believe He gave me this challenge because He knows I can overcome it and keep going forward with my life. Even if I might not be able to see in the future, I can pay attention to and capture the magic of moments right now. I took my vision for granted and now that I’m losing it, I’m sorry because I should have cherished it and taken better care of it when I was younger. I touch my son’s hair and I hold his hands and I tell him, even though he’s just a baby, that I’ll always be there for him and that I’ll never forget him. I’ll always be his mom whether I can see him or not.’