I’ve been waiting some time to write this because I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it but I always knew when I started my blog that this was a story I was going to share. I’m going to do it in sections because it is quite a long story to tell but I hope by the end of it, everyone realises how important cornea donation is. I will honestly never forget that a stranger gave me back the gift of sight.
I still remember the morning I woke up and I couldn’t see properly. I guess not everyone can say that. Throughout my life, I was really lucky in terms of vision (which I realise is a weird statement to make) and never had one single eye problem. I guess that it what makes me journey scarier in many ways. If I had been born blind or with a visual impairment, I could have adapted quicker and I wouldn’t have known any better.
But that’s not what happened. I woke up one morning and everything was a blur, particularly out of my left eye. At first, I didn’t panic which might sound odd but I really wasn’t overly concerned at that time. In all honesty, I put it down to another late night with my head stuck in my books or too many hours on the laptop. I had just turned 28 and never had any eye problems so surely nothing could be going wrong now?!!
I went to university (this was during my second degree) and I had to sit down at the front of the lecture theatre. Could not focus on a single thing around me. I couldn’t see facial expressions, I couldn’t see slides, I couldn’t read my own writing (Was I writing in a straight line? Was I writing on a page I had already used?) and the panic started to kick in. I sat through the lecture and mainly listened and I kept closing my eyes. I had this bizarre idea that if I rested them, everything would go back to normal when I opened them again. I had no such luck.
Wow this is difficult to write because I’ve never told anyone any of this in so much detail but I’m telling you everything about my journey because it is so important. After the lecture I went to the toilet and I cried (thankfully it was empty). I just locked myself in a cubicle and cried. Why couldn’t I see bus numbers? Why I couldn’t see shop signs? Why was walking down an aisle in Tesco nothing more than a blur of colours, all meshed together? I finally managed to call my mum (thank god for speed dial) and I completely broke down.
My mum came to meet me and by that point, I had composed myself. I had this idea that it would be like when I was 5 years old and grazed my knee; my mum would give me a plaster, a big hug and a bag of sweets and everything would just suddenly be fine. Looking back, I know that is silly but I guess denial plays a large role in my personal story. I remember her taking me to an Optician who agreed to see me straight away (I needed this to be referred to the eye hospital).
Walking to the Opticians, I just started accepting the fact that I needed glasses (which wasn’t something I was overly thrilled about! In hindsight that was the more attractive option) and I felt better. My mum couldn’t fix everything, but a nice pair of spectacles could! I started thinking about what colour or design I might like as we entered. That would be my first and last visit to the Opticians. I never did get those glasses..
I’d appreciate any comments or questions you might have about my cornea transplant or my eye condition. Although my posts will reveal everything, if you do want to chat about it, please do not hesitate to send me an email, leave a comment or tweet me @thingsarahloves.