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Melanie from Fort Worth, Texas

Melanie’s Stsrgardt’s Adventure

Hello everyone! My name is Melanie Mitchell, I was somewhat diagnosed with Stargardts 8 years ago. My discovery was made by an A** of a Dr., that went something like this, “You have Stargardts you will be almost completely blind by the time you are 24, there is nothing we can do. Take these vitamins and I will see you in a year.” Needless to say I got a second opinion, with a wonderful much more compassionate Dr., whom I still see.

On that note, once again my name is Melanie. I am 26 and currently live in Ft. Worth, TX. Just to give you a general idea of ME a couple of years ago, Dr. Wang with The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, said to me “We are not sure we have ever seen your “symptoms” and not quite sure what it is.” In which I replied, “So will you name it after me?” “Well I discovered it,” he replied. “Well they are MY eyes,” I said.

I can honestly say I have never been sad about my degeneration of sight, frustrated as hell? Yes, absolutely, but never sad. I start my dream job, as an Event Coordinator, January 9th. I still have decent acuity and able to read and drive. My vision has stayed steady until recently, it has dropped faster and more drastic than in the past, a little scary, but I adjusted.

Stargardts has just become a way of life. I even have fun with it now and then. If I go to a new general, physician or to get a physical, they check my vision, I either read random letters (they don’t know what to say) or I pretend to freak out, don’t worry I keep it short. When people ask if I need glasses, I often reply with, “Oh my gosh, I never thought of that, thank you I will keep that in consideration,” then plant my face back to the monitor or paper I am reading. At fast food restaurants (or where menus are listed above the counter), I ask a question and they point to menu above them. I then say “I’m sorry I can’t read!” They look really puzzled when I am in full business attire. The list goes on and on. My friends often have fun with it as well, all in good fun!

So as you can see, I take it all in stride. I am a firm believer in “never being dealt something you can’t play!” I hope I have not offended anyone with my alternate approach and sarcasm.

Thanks for letting me introduce myself to you and ramble on.

Melanie Mitchell