I have had corneal transplants in both eyes as well as cataract removal in the right eye. The eye drops that I will be on forever cause cataracts as well as a whole lot of other side-effects that I have to deal with daily. My eyes are now worse than ever. I trust my Doctor with my life. He has told me that I will be blind and to learn Braille soon. Unless:. I have a "not really experimental but not really mainstream" surgery in each eye to restore my vision. With today's technology, it is the only thing left to help me. Unfortunately, once my vision is gone the doctors cannot restore it so I have to have the procedures done before I completely lose my vision. My right eye is 99% blind at the moment and my left eye is going downhill quick. Here's the kicker: NO insurance covers this sight saving surgery that I need. I had payment arrangements made with my doctor but the other doctors/partners of the practice did not agree with the payment terms and refused to offer other payment options. Now I have to come up with the $12,000 ($6000 per eye) myself.
I have been in contact with every charity/organization/group and funding sources. My paperwork has been submitted. Now, I wait. These organizations have waiting lists and funding could take months upward to years to come through. I have until May 10, 2013. That is my next appointment and the one in which I have to pay up or go blind.
I am on disability and my husband has a good job but he has been unable to work a lot due to his own health issues: he has had a heart attack, he has diabetes and has developed Bursitis in his hips causing him severe pain and limiting his ability to do his manual labor job. I have been through major hell and back in my short 39 years on this earth: I don't have enough room to explain nor do you have enough time to read my life story but just ask, I will gladly tell you.
I was brought up to never ask for help or "beg" as my Dad would say. I really don't ever ask for help: especially this kind of major help. This has been awkward at best. I have been through every range of emotion for terrified to accepting to grieving to just plain overwhelmed. I know that going blind is peanuts compared to what some people have to deal with on a daily basis. I am trying to keep a positive attitude when all I really want to do is cry.
I have been asked what my vision is like. All I can say is, take a pane of frosted glass, tint it grey and try to look through it and make out details of something 8 feet away. That is what I experience daily. I can sometimes see the computer as my husband set up a huge monitor and my font can be seen from the moon. Most days, I can see the screen for about 20 minutes before even that is a blurry mess of grey shadows.
First off, I have been greatly humbled by the generosity of everyone. I truly have no words except THANK YOU. I met with my surgeon on Friday, May 10th. After undergoing a series of what I call "torture tests" the doctor concluded that I have one eye in extreme danger of failure and the other one isn't much better but I have a slightly larger time frame to have that one surgically corrected.
I have a surgery date for the lesser of the two eyes in June. It is basically a smaller surgery to "hold me over" until I can afford the actual needed surgery. The other eye cannot be dealt with in this manner. It needs the "big" surgery. I have a tentative surgery date of July 16. I was able to show the doctors that own the practice that I have been actively trying to raise the much needed funding. We went over every personal financial detail. That was awful but necessary. As many of you know, I was raised to not ask for help. My father considered it begging. I was raised to be proud and deal with whatever life throws at me: and life has obviously enjoyed using me as target practice. I am now at a time in my life where I realize that asking for support isn't a sign of weakness and that pride can't always solve problems. Most days, a simple hug, verbal or physical, is all that I need. Moral support is the best thing ever.
Along with being raised to not ask for help, I have a very hard time expressing gratitude and feelings in general. I truly have a poker face. Inside, I am doing backflips and crying out in joy. I never realized how much a simple act of kindness can really make a person's whole day, year or life turn around. At times, I have felt like my husband and I were alone in our sinking ship. Once I learned that it was okay to reach out and ask for help, I have realized that there are a ton of people that have been there with life preservers just waiting to throw down and help out.
To each and every person, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for the thoughts, the prayers, the link shares, the donations, the smiles, the encouragement and most of all: for just being there when I've needed the strength to face each day and not feel alone in the fight. While going blind isn't the worst thing a person can face in daily life, it is still pretty scary when it is happening to you. I have maintained a positive attitude and have done my best to limit the pity parties I have thrown for myself. When I feel like it is the worst thing ever, I look around and see other people's struggles and I know that mine is minute compared to what some other people go through. I am thankful that I wake up each day. I am also thankful for the days where I have sight and I can see the beauty in the world around me. I no longer take the blue sky or green grass for granted. In fact, I no longer take anything for granted. So, take a second and look around you and see the beauty that is for one day you could wake up and it could be taken away from you. Appreciate everything. Take a second to slow down and see the good in people. Hold that door, say thank you, smile: you never know whose day you might be making a difference in. Each and every one of you has made a difference in my life. THANK YOU.
I may not be able to pay it back, but I can pay it forward.
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