Hi All, I'm so glad you've decided to check out "So, I'm Legally Blind"! "Bloom Where You're Planted" means so much to me because my Dad said that to me many years ago when I was feeling down about my disability. My Dad said, "You've gotta bloom where you're planted, no matter where you're planted". I really liked that saying and my Dad said, "he always wanted me to do my best no matter what God gave me to deal with". He went on to say, "If you're a bloom in a beautiful yard, then make that the best yard because of you, and if you're a bloom in cement, then make that the best looking cement because of you". In other words, "Do the best you can with what you've got" is how I took that. I was born with congenital cataracts and have been legally blind my whole life, later lost the sight in my left eye for some time and was on the way to losing sight in my right eye, but I've never forgotten what my Dad said so I wanted to add that to my blog.
That's how I've always felt about having a disability and being visually impaired. It hasn't always been easy, but I've always been able to manage with support. I've experienced the good with the bad. I remember being in grade school and not being able to see the board, recognize one classmate from another, holding my book/papers so close that my classmates would yank them from me and say mean things. I remember once in my local Walmart, reading the Enquirer and an and an elderly man came up to me out of nowhere and said, "What are you blind? Don't hold it so close" and yanked the magazine out of my hand! He walked away before I could even think of what to do or say. Sooo Rude!!!!! People feel they have the right to say things to you and you just have to shake your head and wonder "What the ....?
I've experienced all kinds of things, but I've learned I have a pretty thick skin, that I'm a fighter, a disability advocate and persistent as all heck!
Eventually, I went on to complete my B.A. at UC, Riverside. While at school, I had to use the services at the Disability Office and ended up liking the people and services they provided. Although, I began grad school as an MBA, I switched to Rehabilitation Counseling and graduated with an M.A. in 2004 from CSU, San Bernardino. I currently work as the Physical/Visual Counselor on a local college campus. And I'm able to work because I have such great Assistive Technology that allows me to do my job.
About 5 years ago. I started to get a lot of headaches and that was unusual for me. Getting ready for work one day, I was fixing my makeup and couldn't see to apply my eye shadow. I figured I just hadn't woken up enough, rubbed my eyes and tried some eye drops. Nothing! It didn't occur to me to go straight to my eye doctor! I went to work and it got worse! Called my eye doctor, mom picked me up and off we went. The general Ophthalmologist (mine wasn't available) examined my eye and said I had another cataract on top of he one I was born with and referred me to my doctor. Eventually, I was informed that I'd lose the sight in my left eye, but my right eye was still good. I was told there was nothing they could do because I still had sight in my right eye. Overtime, I adjusted and adapted, my boss provided me with the best CCTV, the Onyx and I used that for over a year. I was able to continue working and keep my job. I even talked to my Rehabilitation Counselor about getting a guide dog. I guess that's called adapting!
I due course, my right eye began to go and it was determined that my asthma medication caused a second layer of steroid-related cataracts and because I was predisposed to cataracts, I was the 1% who ended up with the steroid-related cataracts. Over time, I had surgery on both eyes to remove both sets of cataracts and I could see again, for one thing, but I could see colors like never before! I could see people's faces! I could see that my dog Dollie was a brownish-white, not pure white like I thought! TV was Awesome! I felt like I was watching color TV for the first time! It was so great! However, I've had such light-sensitivity and I couldn't see detail, but good with the bad.
Eventually, I was able to wear glasses for the first time! Glasses were never strong enough, so I couldn't wear them. But now, I could wear reading glasses and they really helped, otherwise I wouldn't be able to read. I had prescription sunglasses that really helped and it was amazing. Throughout that time, I always knew I wanted to start a blog/website about being legally blind and to help people via my story and visual impairment information. I've been able to help many people who are visually impaired and I hope to continue with that. I'm so happy I was given a second chance to see, although I'm still legally blind, can't drive and can't see unless I have my glasses/magnifier. But I wouldn't have it any other way because now I can see again!
My hope is that, So, I'm Legally Blind will help other visually impaired people, their friends and family. Referred to as a resource site, provide encouragement via my story; that I understand your frustrations, provide up-to-date Assistive Technology resources and hope you enjoy my Blog.