I first noticed that I was having difficulity seeing when I was in my last semester of nursing school (at age 32). My previous work experience included working as a secretary in the private sector and in the Marine Corps. I visited three eye doctors hearing that I was “just imagining it”, “had a lazy eye” and then finally someone referred me to the right person.
Like most of you I had never heard of Stargardt’s Disease. I was dumbfounded. I was finally going to begin a career that I had worked hard for and now I was going to be legally blind and noone could tell me if it would be sooner or later. I remember going home and trying to memorize my children’s faces and crying because the blurry empty spaces were only going to increase.
I was able to provide safe patient care for a couple of years. I gave up driving and bedside caregiving on my 35th birthday. I continue to miss the independance, but would never want to hurt anyone.
With the encouragement of the Michigan Commission for the Blind, my family, and my employer, I shifted my nursing career to the management/administrative side. I now take care of nurses rather than taking care of patients.
I know that this is a difficult disease. We have been delt a tough hand. I will not tell you that I do not struggle or that I am happy to have lost my vision. But there are so many things that we can do…we just have to figure out what they are. I challenge you to make a difference. I would enjoy hearing form you. If you are interested in corresponding, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org