Vision Loss With A Vision Gained
“I experienced repeated hospital visits, 21 spinal taps, two eye surgeries, and one temporary shunt in my head. I am able to see hand-motion in my left eye and light in my right eye.” ~Krystle Allen
Woman On The Move 55 Featuring Krystle Allen
I became legally blind 18 years ago to an acquired condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri due to malpractice. Pseudotumor Cerebri is a false brain tumor. It mimics all the symptoms of a brain tumor except for the actual growth of a tumor. In lieu of a tumor, excessive fluid is produced around the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It manipulates the brain to shift forward placing pressure on the optic nerves which lead to inflammation of the eyes and nerves rupture as well as dangerous head pressure levels. If left untreated it can lead to total blindness in some cases and brain aneurysm.
My condition is in conjunction with Papilledema which is the rupture of the optic nerves and bilateral optic atrophy. At the start of my vision loss, I did not know how to respond because it was a foreign circumstance to me. There were repeated hospital visits, 21 spinal taps, two eyes surgeries, and one temporary shunt in my head. I am able to see hand-motion in my left eye and light in my right eye. Out of my peripheral view, I see blurriness, floating red dots, and most objects.
When I developed this condition I was expecting to enter my junior year of high school in Passaic, NJ. I believe there was a different plan in store for my life. What many might view as a set back I now know was a set up for greatness!
Adjustment, Transition, and Adaptation
I was declared legally blind due to my incurable condition and vision restrictions. However, my vision loss was my vision gained to pursue visionary experiences for the rest of my life. I will not pretend that losing my vision was not difficult and will not be difficult. However, where there are difficulties there is an adjustment, transition, and adaptation.
At the beginning stage of my vision loss, I adjusted to the good and bad one day at a time. Before my vision loss, I had never met a person with a vision impairment. I had no knowledge of the resources and broad community of people who happen to be vision impaired. People such as students, advocates, employees, employers, entrepreneurs, and movers and shakers.
Transition meant taking advantage of every opportunity that came my way to regain and build my independence. Beginning with being proactive in using the services available from training centers for the blind. I re-enrolled in high school and went on to study social science once I entered college. In addition, while pursuing my studies I also worked part-time jobs.
I became a self-advocate due to lack of access to adaptive technology in my learning institutions and my places of employment. My day-to-day challenges inspire my drive to be a better person and leave a lasting impression.
Living Life On My Terms
There so many stereotypes which challenge my efforts to live life and not just exist. Things like:
- when people approach me to ask who dresses me,
- when employers doubt my skill sets before experiencing my talents,
- or even when passersby critique my independence
It’s as if I should always have someone helping me because of my disability. How does the phrase go? “I can show you better than I can tell you”.
My experiences have taken me as far as Tokyo, Japan to advocate for residents with disabilities. As a starter and a finisher, I blaze trails of innovation to share resources and uplift people who I encounter daily. I am a founder Eyes Like Mine Inc., a non-profit organization on a mission to share awareness about the abilities and potential of individuals with vision loss through community service initiatives, comprehensive empowerment workshops, and innovative social change awareness events.
Along with my past and current ambitions, I am a plus-size model and I competed in the 2018 Face of Kurvacious competition in New York. I am the creator of the Ms. Blind Diva Empowerment Pageant on a mission to empower women with vision loss by providing tools to encourage and cultivate their daily life experiences.
“The sky is the limit for me and I do not allow my doubts to be bigger than my dreams. I don’t party in pity; I party in heels. And I am not the blind chick but the original blind diva and Ms. Blind Diva if you’re nasty!”~Krystle Allen
Krystle Allen Bio:
Krystle Allen is a Newark, New Jersey native. She is a millennial entrepreneur and non-profiteer. Krystle is no stranger to work that involves community development, social change, and grassroots efforts. Krystle presently serves as an AmeriCorps Vista member with a non-profit organization known as the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center located in Newark and Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
Vision Loss With A Vision Gained Featured Image Description:
Krystle looks stunning in a royal blue one-shoulder form-fitting dress as she stands to pose with her blinged-out white cane. Shiny crystals adorn the single strap on her right shoulder and she is wearing a pink wrist corsage. Her long dark hair flows gently over her right shoulder.
Headshot of Krystle in a mauve off-shoulder sparkly top. Her dark hair is draped over her left shoulder and she is wearing a gold statement necklace.