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Guest Post: Chrissy Renee Antonopoulos

Second Chance for Mr Cane

Originally published on November 20, 2014 by Chrissy Renee

Introduction: I am thrilled to introduce you to Chrissy Renee Antonopoulos of See Through My Eyes. Crissy, who hails from Australia is a fabulous young woman who established See Through My Eyes, a nonprofit organization designed to meet the needs of individuals who are blind or sight impaired. As one of the newest Women on the Move, you’ll be hearing Chrissy’s story in October of this year but for today she has permitted me to re-post an article from her blog. Enjoy!

Chrissy is standing with her purple (white) cane posing for the cameraI have been walking a lot more since unwillingly giving up driving. I have grown in confidence with walking alone but I still find road crossing difficult. I’d given the cane the flick because we just weren’t getting along. I haven’t used it in some months now although there has been a little voice in the back of my mind telling me to pull it out again and give it another go.

Yesterday was the big day when Mr. Cane got his second chance to win me over. I must admit, he did a damn good job at it! I went for a walk with a friend who hadn’t encountered anyone using a cane before so it was interesting for her to see how it was used and the reactions of others.

One of the big issues I’ve been having is that when I’m walking, others have no idea I’m vision impaired and if I make a mistake crossing they will think I’m an idiot. I like the fact the cane is a way of saying “Hey, I don’t see good, look out for me”. This was evident when we crossed a main road, without traffic lights, but with an island in the middle (so we could go half the road at a time). This particular spot had been an issue for me because the road is so busy I can’t simply rely on my hearing and limited sight. In a way the cane was like my indicator signal of a car. People knew to be mindful of me. We had a great experience, each time we crossed (we did it a few times!), when we were on the island, a person would stop the traffic to let us cross. It really was a testament to how kind people can be. These small gestures increased my confidence with crossing roads and also gave me more trust in those around me.

We also noticed people’s reactions when walking toward us. Each person we passed, even someone with a pram, moved off the footpath out of the way to let me pass. I don’t know what I expected, that people would walk into me or make comments, but experiencing it first hand made me feel more at ease with the whole idea of using the cane and reduced the stigma to using it.

Mr Cane and I have gone on another date today, with similar success, and we are on the road to a happy and long partnership. Up until this point, I wasn’t ready to accept the fact I may need extra help getting around and there is nothing wrong with that. Now is the right time for me and I will embrace it and continue to gain more confidence and independence.

Thank you Chrissy for sharing your caning experience with us today. Like many of us who have residual eyesight and who use ‘the cane’ there are days that can test us to the limits. I can’t wait for the day when these mobility devices will be viewed like eyeglasses, a tool to help us maintain our independence.

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Guest Post: Chrissy Renee Antonopoulos

  1. I love that she calls her cane, Mr. Cane! I probably should use Mr. Cane more, but I tend to use my guide husband a lot more when we go out. I foresee using Mr. Cane a lot more soon though.

    1. I had a guide best friend but she moved back to Rochester Ny several years ago and I only get to see her about twice a year. I’ve been back and forth deciding on a guide dog but for now my cane works wonderfully well.

  2. Great that you are bonding with Mr. Cane. Your post makes me smile. I feel good and positive vibes and a matter of fact way of presenting.

    1. Hey Jackie thank you for your comment, it made me smile and I know Criss will like it as well.

  3. Thank you Stephanae, I appreciate your kind words. <3

    1. You’re very welcome Lynne. And please you can call me Steph. 🙂

  4. Lovely post. Acceptance is a challenge and that must be the hardest part. My mom had major problems with her eyes, to the point she could not drive and needed assistance, with day to day things. Being the independent woman she was, this was so hard for her. The last thing she wanted was help and depend on me, as this to her, made her feel less. For me, as much as I knew her disability hurt her, it was truly an honour to help her and be there for her. x

    1. It seems like not too long ago that I was right where your mom was in struggling to accept assistance. Then my brother said to me one day that accepting help from others wanting to give is not only a help to me but a blessing for the giver as well. Obviously this goes much deeper than just one solitary or a few instances of needing help because as I’m sure you found out with your mom, when you have a permanent disability life changes drastically. It’s not so bad now but I do have days when I miss driving-that was an awesome privilege that I’m glad I was able to experience. From the sounds of it you had a very close and loving relationship with your mom. It is so difficult having to go through sight loss after having vision for more our lives. My ophthalmologist told me once that she still has patients who do not see well, are well into their 80s and they still drive even though the shouldn’t be on the road. I think a large part of it has to do with the independence piece.

      1. I am pleased to hear you are past your struggles. Your brother is a wise man, it truly is a blessing for the giver. My mom and I were very very close, and I miss her terribly. Her life did change drastically, and as sad as it was, I am so blessed that I was there for her night and day for all those years, to help wherever I could. I agree, those patients probably feel that, not being able to drive would be the last straw, but seriously they are not only being a danger to themselves but others on the roads. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. x

      2. I’m so sorry for your loss Lynne. I could tell from your comments that you shared a special relationship with your mom. You have a great weekend as well. <3

  5. Great post – sometimes accepting that something might be helpful is the hardest part. Glad to see Mr. Cane may be working out!

    1. Thanks for popping over Sarah!! I find it very enjoyable reading about how others overcome difficult situations. This particular one spoke to me because I was in the same boat. You’re right though in that the hardest part is acceptance. Maybe we think that when we need help, be it a mobility device or whatever, we can feel less than. However once we reach the point of acceptance that is when our real strength kicks in.

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