What resources do you recomm
end?” I asked at the end
of my torture session, rattling off the list of vision-enhancing
nutritional supplements I’d found during my Internet
searches. Given that he was theRP expert, I figured he would be a wealth of knowledge. Instead of counseling me on the best vitaminbrands, he scribbled down the phone number to the Center for the Blind and shoved it into my hand.
ere,” he said. “I’ve yet to
discover a vitamin o
r anything else that’s made a
ny real difference with RP.Medical help is at least twenty years out and
it’s not likely to benefit you anyway. I’m sorry.”
“What about driving?” I
pleaded, sucking in my breath like a two-year-old.
“You seem like an intelligent woman,” he s
aid, already turning toward the door
. “What do you think?”
I spent the next week huddled in my basement sobbing. I mourned the vision I had lost, but mostly Icried because I was terrified about what awaited me.
I cried out of fear I wouldn’t see my two
daughters, barely five and two, grow up. I cried about lost future candlelight dinners with my husbandand about the burden I feared I would become to him
. I cried because I couldn’t drive anymore and
because I was scared I
wouldn’t be able to w
ork. I cried over lost sunsets and ocean views and any otherbeautiful scenery or image I would miss out on. I cried until finally it occurred to me that I could still seeand that maybe, instead of mourning the unknown future, I should concentrate on Now.
It’s been nearly seven years since I
discovered that my tunnel-vision eyesight
wasn’t merely a
reflectionof what friends have often joked is my tunnel-focused personality. In that time, my vision has shrunkfrom a ten-degree to five-degree visual field
fueling a determined quest to halt the progression of thedisease and preserve what precious eyesight I still have. Having concluded that the retinal specialist was
bad for my health, I’ve
instead sought out every alternative treatment I can find
. I’ve changed my diet,
Idown Chinese herbs, I undergo acupuncture, I ingest cocktails of vitamins, I stare into a color therapylamp, I pump electrical micro currents into my eyes, and I try to do daily eye exercises.In a world of fading vision,
plenty of things to avoid. They include coffee shops thatallow dogs
one belly flop onto a hard cement floor amid a Saturday morning coffee crowd is enough;treadmills
flying off of one at six miles an hour hurts; stairs without rails, crowds, darkness andnegative people.
But I’ve also discovered there’s plenty
to embrace. Every day I look at my two daughters, now elevenand eight, and soak in their amazing beauty, their smiles, and their zest for life. I walk a lot, whichmeans I
gotten to know my Seattle neighborhood and the neighbors in it,
and I’m in goo
d shape as a