EDEN CENTRE – 18 YEARS OF BEING BLIND CELEBRATION

It’s been an incredible adventure since I started writing about my experience with Glaucoma. I have met wonderful persons’ who are changing how the world and the society view persons with disabilities. In my capacity as a Glaucoma Awareness Blogger, and the Assistant Treasurer for Society of Professionals with Visual Disability (SOPVID), I was honored to receive an invite from my friend Mugambi Paul to be part of his 18-year celebration of being blind. He is a person who wears many hats that sometimes I can’t help but ask him when he gets time to sleep or time to himself. He is an inspirational and motivational speaker, a musician, and an activist in disability mainstreaming on a personal capacity. In an official capacity, he is the regional coordinator for the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD). Wouldn’t you be as amazed as I at how he copes with all the roles he undertakes? You can read more about him on his website’s link http://www.mugambipaul.com/

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In his usual style, he wasn’t going to make the 18-year celebration all about him. He chose to share the day with his friends at EDEN CENTRE located in Thika Town. The centre caters for children with various disabilities by providing them with shelter, food, education among other necessities that help them to live their lives without discrimination. It’s saddening that some parents are ashamed of having children with disabilities, that they lock them indoors when they should be proud of them. Part of the centre’s responsibility is to create awareness that children with disabilities deserve to fulfill their potential while being empowered with their identity, capacity and rights. The children should enjoy equal opportunities among communities where they are free from discrimination, and love dominates their lives. The centre’s vision is to advocate for change and supports the children to fulfill their lives on equal terms with others, and with dignity.

The Adorable Children of Eden Centre

The Adorable Children of Eden Centre

The morning weather wasn’t as welcoming as it was drizzling, and the center was off the main road. I had debated about how I was going to get there, as I prayed that the floodgates wouldn’t open up. The umbrella that I was carrying wasn’t strong, and if gusts of wind were to blow, it could be easily carried away. While I was in the supermarket buying some items to take to the children’s home, Mugambi called me and asked where I was, I informed him that I had just arrived in the city, and I was about to leave to go to the center. He told me that transport was available, and they were going to pick me up. I was utterly surprised and excited that my prayers to avoid the rain were not only answered, but they were answered beyond my expectations. My ride arrived, and soon we were on the road headed to EDEN CENTRE.

Mugambi Paul, Njeri Njehia, and I

Mugambi Paul, Njeri Njehia, and I

When we arrived in the centre’s town, we were received by some of the children from the main road, who led us to the centre. It reminded me of the times’ when our former president Daniel Moi used to travel to schools. Children would await him with songs and dances on the road stretch up to their schools. Once we got to the center, we were welcomed with hundreds of children waiting at the gate. The excitement and smiles on their faces were intoxicating as they held our hands, leading us inside to our designated sitting positions. Once we settled down, we were given a hearty welcome by the centre’s director Eunice. She invited Mugambi, who was the guest of honor to speak, and to introduce his friends. The children stared at us with awe and admiration. At the front, three children caught my attention. There were Charity, Kabogo and Timothy. Kabogo is a child with spinal injury. What amazed me about him was how responsible he was. Whenever I stood up to take photos, Charity would keep reaching out for my hand, touching my earrings and clothes. Kabogo would tell her “Stop that Charity, it’s bad manners.” Charity drew me in because she was unashamed to reach out and did whatever she wanted. It proved that she was a risk taker and was unafraid to go after her dreams and goals. She is also named like my mother, and she reminded me of bits of her. Sitting on the other side of Kabogo was Timothy, a child with cerebral palsy. He amazed me with his quiet exuberance throughout the event. It was like he was observing the guests while he took notes in his mind. Whenever he needed something, he asked for it with authority. One of the things he did was request for a bottle of water. He struggled to open it for awhile, and when he couldn’t, he asked one of the teachers to open it for him. After that, he drank his water, closed his bottle and kept it close to him. Whenever he was thirst, his tiny arms would pick it, open it, drink it, close it, and keep it by him. I was glad that his mother chose not to keep him indoors, and I got to meet him at the centre.

Kabogo, and Timothy

Kabogo, and Timothy

The children sang, rapped, and performed poems for us. They exuded shyness and sometimes we couldn’t hear what they said. However, the bravery that got them to stand before us and perform was enough on its own. We laughed till tears came out. Every performance touched us deeply that words cannot explain. Before we realized it was 5 p.m., and the clouds were threatening to open up, however, they didn’t. Instead, the sun came out so that we could enjoy the day with the adorable children.

Anderson, and the children

Anderson, and the children

Before leaving, we couldn’t go without giving our donations to the EDEN CENTRE, and the children. Without the children, there wouldn’t be an EDEN CENTRE. There were foodstuffs, umbrellas (in preparation for the so-called “El-Nino”) among other items. The event was closed with a word of prayer, and the children led us out to our vehicles again. The children from the football team ran beside the cars as we left. They called it “Their football practice for the day”. They were singing to the music that played in the cars as they ran. Even as they lost their breath, they didn’t miss a word of the song. The song was Chameleone’s “TUBONGE”. Once we reached the main road, they let go of the vehicles as they waved goodbye to us. I couldn’t help but stare at them through the side mirrors as we drove away.

Donations

Donations

A part of me was left there, as I carried a part of them with me. I’m going to go back there because I have chosen to mentor two of the children that tagged at my heart. Disability shouldn’t be a reason to keep anyone from achieving their dreams and goals. My friend Mugambi is an epitome that you can achieve everything that you set your mind to. I am glad that he went to encourage the children of EDEN CENTRE. When he left the centre, he left them with hope and courage that they could be anyone they wanted to be. To us, we spent our day motivating the children. Today, we are busy working on other issues in disability mainstreaming. To the children, however, we left a mark on them that would last a lifetime, and that they would cherish forever.

Donations

Donations

 

As my friend, Mugambi always reminds me “No one is immune to join the 43rd tribe called disability”. It’s an open club for everyone, so the next time you meet that person with disability on the streets, or if you are related to someone with disability, treat them with love and respect. Nobody knows their tomorrow, live for today.

Mugambi thanks his UK friends for linking him with EDEN CENTRE. It was a memorable day never to be forgotten.

COUNTING MY GLAUCOMA BLESSINGS

Living With Glaucoma

When I received the Glaucoma diagnosis in October 2013, I gave the doctor a blank stare. Yes, I had heard about the disease before, and from my online searches about it, it was a painless, incurable disease. At the time, my head was pounding heavily, and my eye was popping out of its socket. His next statement was “You might have to get surgery on your left eye.” Now, that left me more perplexed than before. The eye that was troubled was my right eye and not my left. I kept thinking, “What is the doctor trying to tell me?” Frankly, after the surgery statement, I tuned out of the conversation and only came back in when he was giving me the prescription form. I left the office thinking “Surely how can it be Glaucoma? A disease that has no cure?” I lived in denial for the months that followed…

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COUNTING MY GLAUCOMA BLESSINGS

When I received the Glaucoma diagnosis in October 2013, I gave the doctor a blank stare. Yes, I had heard about the disease before, and from my online searches about it, it was a painless, incurable disease. At the time, my head was pounding heavily, and my eye was popping out of its socket. His next statement was “You might have to get surgery on your left eye.” Now, that left me more perplexed than before. The eye that was troubled was my right eye and not my left. I kept thinking, “What is the doctor trying to tell me?” Frankly, after the surgery statement, I tuned out of the conversation and only came back in when he was giving me the prescription form. I left the office thinking “Surely how can it be Glaucoma? A disease that has no cure?” I lived in denial for the months that followed, though I kept up with my appointments and medicine regimens.

Looking back over the past 20 months since I was first diagnosed, I can’t believe how much I have achieved during the short time span. This post outlines the blessings I have come across since my diagnosis. I believe that everything I pass through is for experience and to make me stronger. Glaucoma is no different, and here are the blessed experiences it has brought me since my diagnosis.

Courtesy of PowerofPositivity.Com

Courtesy of PowerofPositivity.Com

  • Spirituality- Getting diagnosed with Glaucoma, and losing my mother within the same time span, was a serious knockout on my self-esteem. I didn’t think I was capable of recovering and making a life for myself. I think depression was just awaiting me around some corner. I consistently slept, almost 16hours a day (due to the medications, and partly due to sadness). I remember praying and asking God many “Why’s?”, “What is my purpose? Why am I alive? Because all I’m doing right now is sleeping, and medicating myself.” However, in all that I was passing through, I had peace within me. I thought at the time that I was just resigned to my fate, and living like a “living-dead” person. I have come to realize however that everything has its timing. Prayer has brought me closer to God, and I can’t imagine how my life would be without Him.
  • Surgery- On April 4th, 2014, I got my eye surgery known as Trabulectomy. (Read it here (https://livingwithglaucoma.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/glaucoma-week-my-miracle-weekhow-i-got-my-surgery/). It was one of the most liberating moments of my life. When I was getting wheeled into the theatre for surgery, I realized that I had harbored a lot of fear, anxiety, and resentment towards having Glaucoma. As my Glaucoma Specialist worked on releasing the pressure in my eye, my fears, anxiety and resentment were also getting released too. I was about to start another journey with Glaucoma, only that this time I would be free from endless pain, and headaches. I was also free from expensive medications. Now I only use the artificial drops, and allergy medications occasionally. The cost doesn’t pass the $10 mark. I must also state that my Glaucoma Specialist convinced me to start writing my experiences with the disease. Thanks to her mentorship, I started the Living with Glaucoma in Kenya Blog. I’m always awed when I receive messages from readers who have been touched by my blog. Making a difference in someone’s life always leaves a fulfillment within me. Nowadays when I meet someone, and they ask my profession, I tell them proudly “I am a Glaucoma Awareness Blogger and an Accountant.” When they stare at me perplexed, I continue “Glaucoma Awareness is my passion, Accounting is my career.”
  • Family- When I lost my mom a month before my diagnosis, I was quite confused. I didn’t know what to do about my future without her in it. On top of that, here I was, diagnosed with an incurable eye disease that I would carry with me till my death. Being an only child, I felt entirely alone and helpless. I retreated into a cocoon and kept to myself. On the bright side, however, the situation got me closer to my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. When I couldn’t afford the medications and tests, they had my back. The cost per month was $50-$100 (5000ksh-10000ksh) between the medications and tests. (Nowadays I spend approximately $10 (800ksh-1000ksh) per month on drugs since my surgery). Now I enjoy meeting up with my family members for get-togethers, birthday celebrations, baptisms, holidays and others. Laughing our hearts out as we remember my mother and her highly memorable personality.
  • Friendships- Well where to start with this one?? Ok…Friends over the years were many…the keyword here being “many”. Some friendships I had reached almost to the 20-year mark. When I got my first job after campus, my boss was always troubled with my “productivity” in the office. A day wouldn’t pass before two to three friends had come to the office to see me. I switched my phone to silent mode because texts were always buzzing in. In the years since my diagnosis, and my mother’s passing, I realized I had carried the term “friend” loosely. When trouble is knocking on your door, very few friends stick around to battle with you. The ones that hurt you are usually the closest. Since my diagnosis, hurtful words were thrown my way such as “Don’t show me the eye, you will make me puke.” “How far do you expect me to “bend” for you? I’ve done this, and that…” Recently another so-called friend said, “Hilda, we are trying to help you grow with us, yet you are refusing.” (Hilda tuna Jaribu kuku-make u-grow na sisi, unakata). (Someone kindly tell me how one refuses to succeed?? I’m yet to learn that trick.) Her meaning of “growth” is wealth, employable jobs, businesses, cars, etc. I was the black sheep of the friendship because I had no quantifiable success that they could relate to. Their concern was that I was holding them back with my health issues, and other personal matters. Hurt as I was, I prayed for strength to forgive their hurtful words, and left the friendship. In real sense, I have realized that the friendship needed to end so that I could truly grow into new and existing friendships that would help me achieve my goals, purpose and develop my character positively. I have also come to appreciate the close and loving friends who still care and love me for who I have become, and not for who I was before my diagnosis. I have also learned to be careful about trusting people. It seems now that I am mono-eyed, I see people for who they truly are, what they think of me, etc. than when I had sight in both eyes.
Courtesy of Spirit Science

Courtesy of Spirit Science

  • The Election- Two weeks ago, I got elected as the Assistant Treasurer to the Society for Professionals with Visual Disability (SOPVID). It was a shocking and yet incredible experience because I am the first female member elected to the executive committee. I have a new platform to progress my campaign for Glaucoma Awareness. I have also met blind individuals who have overcome their disability to succeed in their professions. There are lawyers, engineers, IT consultants, teachers, musicians, models, activists, accountants, etc. you name it. There is so much to do, learn, and gain from this position. I can’t wait to start working, and making a difference in the lives of the visually impaired. Helping those who have lost hope to see a future even with their lack of sight. I’m finally doing what I was born for.
  • Dining in the Dark- Now this is an event that I had heard about from various Glaucoma groups I have joined since my diagnosis. I admired the concept because it had a fun aspect to it. It also aimed to show sighted persons, how blind persons socially interact. When the concept was finally introduced in my country Kenya, I was ecstatic. The concept is here for the long-run. I intend to attend the dinner, one of these beautiful days.

For my parting shot, I will leave this lovely quote here:-

“When I lost my sight, people thought I was brave. When my parent left, people thought I was brave. It’s not bravery, however. The choice is not mine. I wake up, live my life… don’t you also do it?” Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)

Glaucoma Week-My Miracle Week:How I got my Surgery

Glaucoma has no cure. Get an eye check-up at least once a year!

Living With Glaucoma

It’s almost a year and a half since I was diagnosed with Glaucoma. It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. I realized recently that I have never told you my faithful readers how I ended up getting my miraculous surgery. With Glaucoma Week coming to a close, I felt that it was befitting to share my experience, and encourage someone who has lost hope, because I got my miracle during Glaucoma Week. It doesn’t matter what you could be going through. It could be health issues, money issues, family issues and others. Your reality is that life as you know it, is over but it is just the close of a past chapter, and the beginning of a new journey.

It almost feels like yesterday when I got my first diagnosis. My head was pounding, and all I wanted was some relief. Painkillers weren’t doing me any favors, and I just…

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Glaucoma Week-My Miracle Week:How I got my Surgery

It’s almost a year and a half since I was diagnosed with Glaucoma. It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. I realized recently that I have never told you my faithful readers how I ended up getting my miraculous surgery. With Glaucoma Week coming to a close, I felt that it was befitting to share my experience, and encourage someone who has lost hope, because I got my miracle during Glaucoma Week. It doesn’t matter what you could be going through. It could be health issues, money issues, family issues and others. Your reality is that life as you know it, is over but it is just the close of a past chapter, and the beginning of a new journey.

It almost feels like yesterday when I got my first diagnosis. My head was pounding, and all I wanted was some relief. Painkillers weren’t doing me any favors, and I just felt that I was drugging myself. The nausea and the insomnia overwhelmed me. I had no idea that I suffered from one of the most dangerous eye conditions in the World. I visited many doctors and took some serious prescriptions that made me zombie-like. I slept 14hours a day, because of the four different types of medications that I took. Fatigue was constant, and I had given up hope and resigned to the fate that had befallen me. I spent almost 100$ dollars every month on medications. I couldn’t function well without them. I had also lost my mother a month or two earlier before I was diagnosed. The double tragedy had made me numb to the point whereby I couldn’t grieve properly.

When I cried, I didn’t know if I was crying because of the constant headache and pain in my eye, or if I cried because of grieving my mom or both. Depression had started to creep into my life slowly, and I didn’t notice it. I rarely left my bedroom unless I was going to the bathroom, or to the kitchen. My footsteps could only walk into the three rooms. The living room only saw me when I had visitors coming to console me over my mother’s death. One of my close friends, Mishy always paid me a visit at home at least twice every week. She would encourage me, and tell me “Don’t worry dear, you will get the eye surgery one day” I would just stare at her zombie-like(Literally) (because of the medications). I would smile groggily, and just tell her “I can’t afford it, my fate is resigned to these medications, for the rest of my life.”

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One day, my grandmother called me, and she wasn’t pleased that I hadn’t gone to see her for almost three months. At the time, serious financial constraints were accosting me, and I told her that I couldn’t go because I didn’t have the money. She told me to go, and that she would refund me the money that I used for my transport. I went home, although that day was scorching, and my fatigue and nausea was getting worse. Once I got home, I also found my uncle, and we got to talk about my life, and how I coped with mom’s death. Later on, I went out to enjoy the fresh highland breeze. It somehow made my eye feel better, and I felt quite calm even with my thoughts always thinking about my eyesight. After a few minutes, my uncle called me and said “Hilda, your eye condition is being shown on TV.” I quickly ran in and watched it as I thought about my future. (The TV segment was quite depressing). I kept praying and asking how I would get out of my situation. “There is no cure for this disease; I can’t afford the surgery, how will my life be moving forward?”

I had come to HATE sleep. I just couldn’t escape it, once I put in the eye drops. The entrapment made me bitter because I truly didn’t have a choice but to sleep once I used the medications. I couldn’t stand any light sources, and all the rooms in my house remained dark. I rarely opened my curtains. I kept saying “Surely, I wasn’t born to be a sleeping zombie, God, please get me out of this.”

After the TV segment, I noticed that the day’s newspaper was lying on the table, and I started reading it. In a small part of the newspaper, hidden among various other news articles was a piece on Glaucoma Week. I immediately noted down the phone numbers of the journalists who were in charge of the story. The following day I called one of them enquiring on when the newspaper pull-out on Glaucoma would be published. He informed me to check the same week on Thursday.

On that particular morning, I woke up quickly and rushed to get my paper only to be thoroughly disappointed. There was no article or pull out regarding Glaucoma, and I immediately called him. I think he heard the frustration, and desperation in my voice (or was it teary gasps), as I explained that I wanted to join the Glaucoma Patient Awareness Program. I also wanted to meet with other Glaucoma patients as myself, who I felt understood what I was going through. I wanted to find somebody I could commiserate with, and at least share laughs with about Glaucoma. “Hey, at least she/he would understand me, and not ask me some questions that I get from my regular circle of friends.” (The questions can sometimes be very annoying). In the minds of many people unafflicted with the condition, they seem to view the eye as a body part that cannot get sick. No matter how many times you explain the situation to a non-afflicted individual, they never understand it/don’t want to understand it. (No pun intended). The journalist decided to give me the phone number of the Chairperson of the Glaucoma Society of Kenya (GSK), who is also a well-known Glaucoma Specialist and is also my current doctor.

It took awhile before we finally talked, and she told me to attend a Glaucoma Awareness meeting the following week on Thursday. When I awoke, getting out of bed was a hustle, and I called my friend Mishy and told her about the meeting, and I didn’t think that I could make it. She told me that I should go because it was first of all, an opportunity to leave the house, and to get some sunlight. Also, she was ecstatic that it could be the opportunity that I needed to get help with my eyesight. Eventually I went, and I met with the Glaucoma Awareness Team. I felt so good sharing my story with them because I knew that they understood what I was going through. I was also happy that they would give me solutions to my problems (or at least help me to get cheaper generic drugs for the condition). One of the doctors told me that I was using too many medications for the condition. As he put it “It’s like shooting a mosquito with a gun, when you can easily swat it.” It was unimaginable that I had to budget for my medications for the rest of my life, the same way I budgeted for my rent, and bills and food. My doctor sat quite a distance from where I was, but she could tell that my eyeball was quite swollen. I got my medical appointment for the following week.

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I did go, and after she had checked my eye pressures, she said “Well, you need surgery….tomorrow.” I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, and I asked again “Tomorrow?” and she said “Yes, tomorrow, your pressures are too high, and you need surgery urgently.” All that came to my head was “Where was I going to get the money?” My family and I had already spent tremendously on hospital bills when my mom was ill. My friends had also chipped in too for her hospital bills, they had chipped in during the funeral arrangements, and here I was again, going to ask them to chip in for my surgery. I told her that I couldn’t have the surgery the next day, and she scheduled me for surgery the next week. She said, “I hope that you won’t run away just because of the cost.” I smiled and said that I wouldn’t (although escaping the surgery was at the forefront of my mind). I went, and sat down at a coffee shop and (silently) cried my eyes out. People kept looking at me, and I kept acting like I had something in my eye. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I missed my mom sooooo much at that moment. I felt alone, and desperate. When I calmed down, I called one of my close friends and ranted crazily. He told me to send him my list of friends; He would deal with them, as I informed my family.

The next week (Friday 4th April 2014) I got my surgery. As I lay on the operation table, wide awake and responding to the questions that my doctor asked as she performed the eye surgery, I couldn’t help but say a silent prayer. He made the impossible, more possible than I could ever imagine. He turned my coincidence (when I went to see my grandma and saw the Glaucoma segment) into a God-incidence. (When I met my eye doctor and had my surgery). I have NO REGRETS about it, and now I spend 5$ dollars a month to buy my current medication. My eye appointments and checkups will remain for life. Yes, I have 10% vision in my right eye, but it is a small price to pay when you compare it to the pain that I once felt.

My passion has always been to reach out to people and make a change in their lives. With my blog, I hope to reach millions of people. I hope that you can recognize this serious disease named Glaucoma. It is a “Silent Thief of Sight.” It is my dream to reach across boundaries, and help communities become aware of the condition, and take initiative to get eye checkups with an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) at least once annually. It’s my hope that I have reached you today and touched your heart. With Glaucoma week (March 8th-14th, 2015) coming to a close, take some time out, visit an eye doctor, and be assured that your eyes are in good condition. There are some things that I have learned this past year during my journey with the condition. Your head/brain is the signal that your body sends (through migraines/headaches, etc.) when trouble is brewing within it. If it persists even after painkillers, it is important to visit your doctor ASAP. Money, wealth, and all material things may come and go. They are easily recoverable even after you have experienced a financial downfall. Your health and your life are IRREPLACEABLE. DON’T take them for granted. You might not get a chance to change your health circumstances once it’s too late.

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HAVE A LOVELY WEEK MY AVID READERS!!!

 

TAKING SIGHT FOR GRANTED (WHAT I MISS)

Living With Glaucoma

Hi my faithful followers!!Yes i know i owe you an apology for going MIA(Yet again). Well, I am back to continue informing you about my journey with this life-changing disease called Glaucoma. Life still has to continue, even though sometimes i get paranoid now that I have full vision in my left eye only. I am grateful that i still have this sight because you recognize that one minute your life can change instantly. Today i will outline the things I’ve noticed I do or (don’t do) now that my left eye is the one with perfect vision. Some you might think that I am paranoid, others might look like I am losing my sanity, and others are just normal.

  • 3D movies- Some weeks ago, a friend took me to watch a 3D movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I was excited because it was awhile since i went to the…

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TAKING SIGHT FOR GRANTED (WHAT I MISS)

Hi my faithful followers!!Yes i know i owe you an apology for going MIA(Yet again). Well, I am back to continue informing you about my journey with this life-changing disease called Glaucoma. Life still has to continue, even though sometimes i get paranoid now that I have full vision in my left eye only. I am grateful that i still have this sight because you recognize that one minute your life can change instantly. Today i will outline the things I’ve noticed I do or (don’t do) now that my left eye is the one with perfect vision. Some you might think that I am paranoid, others might look like I am losing my sanity, and others are just normal.

  • 3D movies- Some weeks ago, a friend took me to watch a 3D movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I was excited because it was awhile since i went to the Cinema. To be honest, the last time that i sat in a Cinema Hall was in 2005!!(Yes I know I have shocked some of you). It was just after High School, and the movie was “Chronicles of the Geisha” or something like that. Anyway going to watch a 3D movie was a new experience to me. I couldn’t wait to see what the hullabaloo was all about. The movie was fabulous, and I personally can’t wait for part two of “Guardians of the Galaxy”. What I kept asking myself as i watched was why I was seeing the movie, as I would a normal 2D movie. As in, I couldn’t see(literally) the difference from watching a 3D movie, to a normal movie on my TV screen. Any way, I didn’t think much of it until I met another friend(who knows about glaucoma) at a party. We discussed the movie, and in the process I explained how I didn’t see any difference between the 2D and 3D movie. He got into some technical explanations of white light hitting the left eye, and blue light hitting the right eye so that the 3D experience could be complete. Well my AHA!! moment hit me right there and then. It saddened me that I would NEVER experience the full 3D experience. I wished I had gone to watch a 3D movie way earlier before I developed the condition. On the bright side though, at least my dreams or (nightmares) as I sleep are still 3D.
  • Foreign Particles/Walking in the City/Public Service Vehicles- When i walk the city streets, I find myself automatically walking on the streets that are less crowded. Our country is well known for its infamous citizens who are always walking in a rushed manner ALWAYS. It doesn’t matter where we are headed to, or why we are quickly going there. We simply walk with a rushed sense of time. When I am walking and some dust enters my eye, or wind or rain, I rush to stand somewhere calmly. I don’t want to be knocked down as people rush home from work to get to their bus-stops. While in the public vehicle going home, I choose a window seat, so that i can avoid getting knocked by people as they file into the vehicle to take their seats, or as they are alighting.
  • Crossing the Road- You might consider this paranoid, but I now look at the roads at least six times before I cross. I prefer to cross especially when the vehicles are at a far distance. The problem being that some of the motorists rarely follow the traffic rules. You might cross, and find yourself running across the road so that you don’t get knocked down.
Your Vision is Important. Get an Annual Checkup

Your Vision is Important. Get an Annual Checkup

On a lighter note, there are some things that I’ve noticed that do or (don’t) happen now that my optic nerve is damaged in the right eye. Hope you have a laugh at this!!

  • Onion Tears- Now when i cut an onion, I don’t feel the stinging effect in my right eye. It is quite distant, but the left eye gets the full brunt of the onion juice.
  • Eyebrow Shaping- Now when I am getting my eyebrows shaped, I usually forget and close my left eye so that I can see how the left eyebrow is shaped. Alas! I realize that there is nothing to see clearly. It is just a hazy image.
  • Swimming- I haven’t entered a pool since my diagnosis. I am not planning to any time soon either.( Unless i get a go-ahead from my doctor)
  • Applying Make-up- I’m not a fan of make-up as such. Though on some occasions I would love to. When it comes to eye make-up, I stay far from it with a ten-foot pole. The best I can do is eye-shadow. As for mascara and the others, I will wait for my doctor’s approval.
  • Frying Food- I keep my distance when I put food on the stove. Don’t want any cooking oil to jump out of the pan, and land in my eyes.
  • Looking at the bridge of my nose- I was playing with my friend’s kids the other day, and I realized that I cannot see the right side of my nose, when I look down cross-eyed. Well, that’s a game I won’t teach my kids in future.

As we get into the Christmas mood, remember to help out in any way that you can. Donations, feeding the homeless and others. Anything that you do will make a difference. I hope my blog makes a difference to many individuals around the world. Your vision is precious. DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. You can also take someone else to get their eyesight checked. Make your vision a priority in your life. It doesn’t cost much, and you will also feel good. It is the season of giving.

Merry Christmas Dear Readers, and Happy New Year!!

 

Merry Xmas!

Merry Xmas!

 

ONE YEAR LATER……MOM I MISS YOU…..

It’s been quite a minute since i last updated my blog. My apologies my faithful followers. I’m now back and I truly feel appreciated. I couldn’t believe it when I checked my stats and saw that i have over 300 FOLLOWERS in a short span of time!!! really feeling appreciated, and that my blog is making a difference in people’s lives.

The past few months are such a blessing to me, since I had my surgery. My attitude and perspective in life has changed, because I have learned that even the impossibilities become possibilities with a positive attitude. I’m thankful that I met my doctor when I was at the lowest point of my life. During my appointments, she encourages me with regards to my vision. She is also a mentor and a friend. I truly appreciate her medical expertise, and her guidance. As a Glaucoma patient, sometimes you might feel quite miserable when you realize that you’ve lost your vision in one or both eyes. Yet previously your eyesight was good in both eyes. Since my surgery, I forget that I’m a Glaucoma patient. No more pain, no more headaches, and the only medication I use is artificial teardrops. Yipeeee!!!

On the day, I was diagnosed with Glaucoma in the right eye, I was already battling with something else-My mother’s death. It hadn’t been a month since she passed on, and a few weeks later after her funeral, I was being told that “you have glaucoma”. What a blow that was for me!!! I immediately remembered my mom at that moment, and began crying. I felt quite alone at that moment, and I wondered how I would survive without her support. On 31st August 2013, my mom passed on. She wasn’t going to be around to walk me down the aisle, or to meet and approve her future son-in-law, or to see her grandchildren, and it saddened me.

Mom and Friends

Mom and Friends

Today I dedicate this post to my mom. I can’t help but imagine the reactions that she would have had when she learned that I had been diagnosed with Glaucoma. The first thing she would have done was cry, locked up in her room so that i wouldn’t hear her sobs. The next thing she would have done was pray saying “No weapon formed against my baby shall prosper.” with so much conviction and faith, even the clouds would shake.

She would also have taken me for every single appointment, for vacations,money etc especially for Christmas and my birthday on Dec 27th so that I could forget my eye condition for a few days. Of course I wouldn’t lack a birthday cake, a gift and a card(s) too. On the 21st of August was her birthday too. I would have bought her a handbag, and a cake too. My mom’s handbag addiction was insatiable!!!

On my 21st Birthday

On my 21st Birthday

I know that she would be quite proud of  me to see that I have overcome the challenges that Glaucoma put me through. The strength that has been borne within me since her departure and my diagnosis has amazed me, and quite literally my family and my friends. One year later I’m slowly accepting that her purpose in my life was completed, and I now have to forge on without her, for my future. Above all, God has given me peace of mind, and hope for a better future and life.

Love You Forever

Love You Forever

I want to tell my mom this:-

“Dear mom, I miss you sooooo much!!! It’s now a year since you left. I want you to know that your “Kamami”, “Gacheri”, “Your only egg” is doing fine. Don’t forget to pray for me every day. I MISS YOU!I LOVE YOU!”

 

GLAUCOMA: FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIPS PART 1

Hi friends,

I know that its been quite awhile since i wrote anything with regards to my condition. I can honestly say that i am well, and taking each day with ease. The past weekend was a celebration of our mothers, and it made me think about my family, and the friendships i have built over the years. Its crazy that i can look back, and recognize friendships that i have maintained for over a decade. Friends help you grow in your thoughts, your career, and other relevant parts of your life. Thus the saying, “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you your character.”

As for family, its your family, and the family will always remain your family. Blood is definitely thicker than water. They are the ones that will support you, even when you have had the worst arguments with them, shared in laughter and other moments.

With glaucoma, my perspective in life has completely changed with regards to the way that i view my friendships. I have learned that the friends you expect to be there for you, are the ones who run the other direction. They do not even come near you or touch you with a ten-foot pole. They are the ones who are ready to kick you when you are down, and poke you every chance they get. This is something I recognized especially when I was preparing for my glaucoma surgery.

ImageOne of my “close” friends who I have known for over a decade, took my glaucoma surgery as a joke. Ironically she found a way to make the situation all about her. When i showed her my eye pre-operation her comments were “Oh my…, that’s so gross, please stop showing me, I’m going to vomit.” My “Ahaa!” moment with regards to my friendship with her came at that moment. We were dis-agreeing on other matters before that day, and for me that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I kept thinking “Who died and made her a god?” “Who tells her she has immortal life, and she will never have issues with her health?”.

She truly hurt my feelings at the time considering the number of years we’ve had as friends. Another friend explained the situation better to me. He said “Your thinking that you are still friends because of the length of time you’ve known each other. When it counted, your friend kicked you down. You respect the friendship, she doesn’t. Leave her be.”

I have always believed in self-sufficiency and independence since I can remember. Its a difficult process for me to seek for help. When my doctor informed me that I had to have the surgery to save my vision, i broke down in tears. I couldn’t believe the cost that it would take to have surgery in one eye only. The other reason I cried was because I recognized the fact that i now had to seek financial help from my friends again. They had helped me numerous times last year when I was going through other issues that were beyond my control. This was the third time that I was going to seek their help financially again, and i just felt overwhelmed.

Image

Friendships come, Friendships go.

My fears were un-founded because my friends contributed financially towards my surgery to a point where i was simply dumbfounded. My family covered part of the cost, my friends covered another, and through the grace of God the hospital covered the balance, and part of my outpatient costs. Having my surgery was truly a miracle, and it goes to show that you shouldn’t allow situations that are beyond your control to bring you down.

The friends who had my back not only raised enough money to assist with surgery costs. They also raised enough to pay my house rent, shop for food, cover my outpatient costs, and have some money left for other expenses. Besides financial help, other friends are still coming home to check on me, others call, text and whatsapp.

I have learned quite alot about family and friendships during my recovery, and as i re-build my life:-

  • My spiritual relationship with God comes FIRST! ALWAYS!
  • Family is family. Blood is blood.
  • Real friends are ready to pick you up when you fall, dust you off, and encourage you on your way back up. Fake friends, DON’T!
  • Glaucoma (or any other disease for that matter) doesn’t give anybody the right to bully you, or disrespect you.
  • Letting go!One learns very quickly the aspect of forgiving and walking away when someone tells you something nasty out of ignorance!walk,walk,walk away!

You may be going through other issues in your life besides health. Whatever your issue, always remember that you can’t go it alone. Find friends and people who encourage you, and strengthen your relationship with your Maker.

SAVE your sight, save your eyes. The FIGHT with Glaucoma starts with you. Visit an Ophthalmologist for your annual checkup. Make your eyes a priority.

 

GLAUCOMA: LEADING CAUSE OF IRREVERSIBLE BLINDNESS!

Im still receiving emails with regards to the risk factors of glaucoma. How high are my chances of getting glaucoma? How do i know i have it?what are the symptoms etc here is a post i did on the same. save your vision,see an opthalmologist.

Living With Glaucoma

I know you have been waiting to get information on Glaucoma, its causes, treatment e.t.c. Thank goodness for my friend Joanne Muthie of  The Leafy Agenda (I know you’re cringing under the desk for mentioning your name) who got me a pamphlet when she went to get her eyes checked out. (Thanks girl for the support). This way, I won’t deter from the serious and accurate facts of the condition.

IRREVERSIBLE BLINDNESS…

For starters, Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.

It’s an eye disease which causes PROGRESSIVE irreversible damage of the optic nerve (vision nerve) which slowly leads to blindness. When there is high pressure inside the eye, it’s associated to the disease.

Once your sight goes, it’s gone. There is NO WARNING or OBVIOUS signs that can be detected until significant vision loss has occurred. This is where the term “Sneak Thief of Sight” comes…

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