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Too Sighted To Be Blind

Too Sighted To Be Blind

It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve written anything for Bold Blind Beauty. I’ve been so consumed with all the other aspects of this site it’s been overwhelming. Things like updating policies, products, and people to feature, have taken so much time my choices are limited.

Image Description is in the body of the post.
Stephanae

One of the things I seldom talk about is how I adjusted to living with blindness. Next month will be 10 years since I gave up driving and began adapting to losing some of my independence. During that time my left eye was unusable and my “good” right eye had these massive floaters. 

I used to think floaters were these tiny specks that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. As a high myope (severely nearsighted) I remember seeing my first floaters when was very young. But the ones I had 10 years ago were different. They were solid black clouds that constantly moved to obscure everything in my line of sight. Imagine driving and suddenly you’re unable to see street signs, traffic lights, people, and vehicles on the road–it’s scary.

After I stopped driving I’d have to wait until January 2009 for what would be my last vitrectomy (macular hole surgery). During a vitrectomy, a gas bubble is injected into the eye. This particular surgery was a little different because my surgeon was going to remove those annoying floaters as well. 

Seeing Yet Not Fully Sighted

Veering off topic for a minute, if you’ve never held your head in a downward position for 4 weeks or more, you haven’t lived. Yes, this was what I had to do each time I had a vitrectomy. And let me tell you the first few days after each surgery my neck was on fire. I had to do this on four separate occasions and each time I was ALL IN. 

Image description is in the body of the post.
Hey! I’m Walkin’ Here Tote & Ready To Conquer Tee

To help people understand what it might feel like to be blind there are various simulations from blindfolds to special eyeglasses. If I could point to one experience that prepared me for blindness it would be vitrectomy recovery. While I could see peripherally and downward, being unable to look up when I went for follow-up appointments was a strange feeling. Sort of like ‘you can see, but you can’t.’

Anyway, during this last recovery period, my retina specialist found a leaky blood vessel at the back of my right eye. Though an injection of Avastin stopped the bleeding, I’d find out later I was legally blind.

Too Blind To Be Sighted

To this day, none of my doctors can explain how the first macular hole evolved into the series of issues that stole my sight. Back when it all began the possibility of me ending up where I am today was highly unlikely. Going from healthy eyes to glaucoma, a torn retina, cataracts, uveitis, and blindness still seems like a dream. Yet each day I awaken I know it’s real. 

My blindness is the reason why I advocate for inclusion, accessibility, and equity. No one can know what going blind feels like until you’ve experienced it first-hand. Even then, when one or more of us share the same condition our sight is different for each of us.

The one thing this whole experience has taught me is to be more open-minded. I realize I know so much less than what I thought I knew and I’m learning more every day. There are so many conditions people live with and there really is no room for assumptions. 

I am blind and I look like I can see. It isn’t easy being too sighted to be blind yet too blind to be sighted. Even so, I will continue breaking down barriers in the hopes for a judgment-free world. One where blind and visually impaired individuals are doing what they love and are equally represented in all areas of life.

Featured Image Description:

In this three-quarter profile shot, I’m wearing a teal colored sleeveless sporty dress with a hoodie. It looks great with my Bold Blind Beauty braille teal wristband. Photo credit: Jana N. Williams Photography

Additional Images:

  • I posed with my “gold” white cane and wore a black tee with a white tote bag. The tee has an image of fashion icon Abby. To the right of Abby is a checklist Handbag, Heels, White Cane and directly under her and the checklist is the slogan: “Ready to Conquer.” The bag has black handles, features Abby, and say “Hey I’m Walkin’ Here!” Abby is front and center above the slogan
  • In this picture, I’m standing in front of a gorgeous red door at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Since there was a wedding in progress we couldn’t get any shots in front of the building so we found this magnificent red door with these tactile black knobs. 
  • The mug’s design includes fashion icon, Abby (in trio format) who are to the right of the handle. Directly under the trio is the slogan: “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE.” To the left of the handle, the slogan is tactile braille.

15 thoughts on “Too Sighted To Be Blind

  1. Knock Knock
    only me just stopping by to say hi
    Hello
    Keeping a blog is life of its on competing with the real world, sometimes I wonder why people even do it and then sometimes I stumble upon something and realise, yes this, this is why, you never know who will fall in love with your words or what will be inspired in whom.
    I may not visit your blog as much as I should but yours is up there right next to my all time faves and I dont even know why
    cheers
    ~B

    1. Hey B how are you my friend. I constantly ask myself why I do this especially considering there’s little time for anything else. I feel the same about your blog and so wish I had more time to visit more frequently. Thank you so much for kind words.🤗

      1. you are welcome and thank you
        and have an awesome weekend
        ~B

      2. You too!

  2. Steph I always love it when you share your story. And I know that neck fire pain from facedown recovery! So grateful for what you have created on Bold Blind Beauty.

    1. Thank you Susan, I forgot you had the gel bubble inserted correct? Did you ever use any of the facedown equipment? I didn’t but if I had to do it over again I think I would.

      1. Gas bubbles and silicone oil bubbles. First batches of recoveries in Pittsburgh no, just a sturdy futon, but for my later Baltimore ones I had my massage table!

      2. Oh wow, I’ve never had a silicone oil bubble. Based on what I’ve heard recently they’ve come a long way since 2009. It sounds like recovery time is shorter but I guess it depends on the individual situation. During one of my procedures the retina specialist injected the gas bubble in my eye while I was at his office. I only had to keep my head down 5 days and it worked beautifully but then the hole reopened and I had to have another vitrectomy.

  3. Steph, thanks for sharing this. It made me glad they didn’t have anything to offer me in terms of surgery.

    1. Hi Donna, how are you? I was thinking of you not too long ago. Thanks for stopping by and reading. You know, to some degree as it was happening with the surgeries and procedures I felt like I was very fortunate. But the downside was my retina specialist was so bent on my sight coming back I think he lost sight of what I needed which was the unvarnished truth. I appreciate holding out for hope but I could have been so much further ahead had I receive low vision rehabilitation early on in the process. But I guess in some regard there really were no easy answers and getting four more years with so-so sight was a good thing at the time.

  4. Lovely. Glad you found the time to write and I took the time to read it. I haven’t been doing much of that lately either. As you pointed out, each situation is different and we shouldn’t judge, because we really don’t know. I imagine “being being too sighted to be blind yet too blind to be sighted” does have challenges all it’s own. You continue to be an inspiration. BTW, the friend I told you about many months ago is doing okay. She has started volunteering 3 days a week at the daycare where she worked when her sight started going bad. It is really good for her to get out and get to do a little bit of what she once loved doing.

    1. I’m so glad to hear from you. It’s been ages since I’ve been able to visit blogs and I’m hoping with this new social media scheduling tool I’m using that this particular issue will be resolved to allow me time to catch up with my favorite bloggers. I’m so glad to hear that your friend is doing well. Getting out is really the beginning of reclaiming independence. In a way I’m sort of glad my sight loss happened while I was still working because while I may have wanted to fall apart at times I was forced to leave the home every day and interact with others. Once I got involved with a couple of blind organizations that’s when the big changes took place.

      1. I haven’t had time to blog lately either. I hope to change that, but not sure how. Esp. since I’m working my “part time” job almost every day for the next 2 weeks. Glad you are busy and your site is doing well!

      2. Blogging is no joke, it’s hard work. I wouldn’t be able to work part-time and blog, so kudos to you.

      3. It’s probably been a couple of months since I have posted anything. Just don’t have the time. Maybe, after the weather cools and I don’t have outside work that has to get done I can get back into it.

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