My name is jerry Black, I am living in Billings Montana. Back in 1977 (I was 20) I was told by the doctors at Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota that I had Stargardts At the time I had visited several ophthalmologists in the area with no diagnoses. It was not until Mayo that I received a diagnosis. At the present time my vision is 20/300 corrected.
As I look back at this stage in my life I realize its almost like the stages of grieving. Getting through the denial portion is probably the most important. Without getting past it you can not get on with your life, or at least make the best of it. For those of you that have not had the disease long will realize, most things can be overcome. After the onset of the disease and some time I went on to college and a good job with the U.S. Government for the past twenty years.
The middle ten years was the period I was speaking about (denial). I accomplished very little and was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully it won’t take as long for you to get through it.
There are certain things I have learned that may be of help. Some of these are listed it no particular order.
You will embarrass yourself at times. Not recognizing people (calling them the wrong names) , not seeing objects, etc.., learn to laugh it off.
Don’t let it inhibit you.
Take extra time when crossing intersections. Concentrate, As the blind spots get bigger its easy to daydream and not see a car.
Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help. Everybody likes to be independent, however there are times when its not possible to go it alone. At airports for example. There is no way I can read the arrival and departure signs. Ask at the counter, they are more than willing to help. You will hear the occasional.. Are you blind comment. I find they are usually more embarrassed when you reply, yes I am.
Get used to some extra miles on your feet. Don’t be surprised, when you go out of your way because you can’t see signs on the outside or in the mall. I have to be up close to see the name of the store. Take some extra time.
Don’t give up the things you like to do. I still bowl, go to sporting events (with binoculars) and golf. Don’t golf alone, unless you can afford a lot of lost balls.
I never get a chance to talk about this type of thing with anyone with Stargards, so I wouls appreciate any messages. Pease feel free to send me a message at: Jerry.firstname.lastname@example.org.