Monday, 1 December 2008

10 Years of Blindness

I can't believe it has been 10years to the day that my vision dropped substantially over night. I remember it all too well and it has made me the person I am today.

The night before I wrote all of my Christmas cards out to friends with my Selina pen, it had my name engraved on it. I was really excited about Christmas this year mainly because I was 10 years old, but this Christmas I was going to spend it in Disneyland Florida too!

I woke up on December 1st 1998 with blurry vision. This had never happened to me before and nobody said it might. I told my mum about it, but insisted on going to school that day. I loved school and there was no way I was going to miss out. My mum agreed to let me go and spent the day trying to contact my consultant.

It was reading week at school and when I opened my book that was given to me by my Granddad that year called Birthday Girl it all hit me. I couldn't read at all. The print was just all blurry and I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't tell anyone at school, but pretended to read my book.

I got home from school and we went straight to the hospital. After a lot of hard work my mum managed to get my consultant out of a conference. I remember her shouting at the receptionist 'surely a little girl's sight is more important than a conference'.

I cried terribly when they were putting all of the eye drops in and by this time I couldn't see anything! My consultant finally came and had a look at my eye. He said I had a haemorrhage and would arrange for someone at the hospital to operate, as he specialised in squints. My parents disagreed however and went in search of Prof McCloud who operated on me at the age of 2.

We tracked him down, but had to wait an agonising 2 weeks before I could be seen. During the wait I got Gastric Flu and all I kept being told was I need to get well so I can have the operation.

On the day we were meant to fly to Florida we went bowling instead. I guess they were trying to keep my mind off of not going, but I just burst in to tears at the bowling alley.

The day of the operation came this was the day after my mum's birthday. Prof McCloud said I didn't have a haemorrhage at all and actually had a detached retina. It was a lot more serious than he was first told and he said my eye was a real mess. He did some tidying up and hoped that the retina would reattach itself.

The retina didn't and so my sight remained the same. The anaesthetic made me very sick too and I spent a lot of time throwing up.

That Christmas I got the most presents I had ever had in my life, but I knew why I was getting them, but they failed to distract me from going blind. I had another operation in January to reattach my retina and thankfully had some vision restored. No where near as good as my original partial vision, but I could now see colours, vaguely people's faces and read 72point font.

In the years to follow I had more and more problems with my retina. It kept detaching, holes appearing and scar tissue developing. I had my last operation at 18 and had gotten used to my sight gradually deteriorating, but it was still devastating when I was told that nothing more could be done for me.

I am so grateful for the sight I had and still grateful for the light perception I'm left with. All 14 operations were worth the pain even for vision for just a few months. Next month will be 2 years since I've had just light perception and it has given me time to finally adapt.

There's still hope for the future with stem cells, but for now I have to concentrate on living my life to the max with what I have. I believe on this day 10 years ago I had to grow up in an instant, but it's made me the determined individual I feel I am today.


Jennifer said...

Hey Selina!
I read this when you posted it but never commented.
I'm going to do a post on my blog mentioning people's blogs and posts i've found recently that i like and wanted to link this one if you don't mind? Its very well written.
I want to do posts like these maybe once a month so maybe people can find other blogs they've never read before.

Selina said...


Just read my post back. It's not bad! lol. Feel free to use anything from my blog. I swear you're the only one who reads it at the mo!

Jennifer said...

Aw i'm sure they do. Nobody read mine for the first year i'd say. I didn't post much and wasn't really interested. Its funny how people find you and you find other blogs. I'm really enjoying blogging now.
I'll post those links tomorrow