Due to glaucoma, Sarah slowly began losing her eye sight. After two hard years of transition, Sarah realized her potential to make a difference in the world. Here she tells her story of the hardships faced and explains her plans to help others understand visual impairment.
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Sarah - I was diagnosed with Glaucoma several years ago and due to a lack of health insurance I just wasn’t able to treat it and I lost most of my vision and I sat on a couch for two years and did nothing because I was so depressed. A friend said, “You know, you can do something with yourself,” so I decided it was time to do something with myself.
I’ll be honest; I knew that my vision in my left eye was getting really blurry and I had seen a doctor and gotten new glasses and he was like, “Well, you’ve got glaucoma and it’s pretty bad,” and I was just like, “Oh… okay.” About a year after I saw him [and he told me], I was driving and almost wrecked my car because I didn’t see a gray car in a shadow until he hit his brake lights and I was on him. I didn’t wreck, I drove home and I gave my keys to my husband at the time and I said, “I can’t drive anymore.” He was like, “What do you mean?” I said, “I can’t see.”
It was hard to think; things are over - things are done because I can’t see anymore. But, the one person that kind of said, “Get off up your butt - go do something with yourself,” got me talking to my best friend [who wasn’t the same person] and she just said, “You know, you can do stuff.”
I became completely empowered when I lost my vision. I was content with my life, I was happily married (I thought), I was raising an awesome kid and I never thought I needed to do more than that. As the vision faded, I kind of felt left out of things. I didn’t think about it before. I didn’t think about being better than I was, I was just living life day by day because that’s how so many of us live. And then when you think, and your told, well you can’t do this because you can’t see… [You think], “Screw you. I can do whatever I want. I can do it - of course I can do it.” I may have to do it differently, I may be slower at doing it but you have no right to tell me I can’t.
One of my experiences here, using taxi service; Uber, Lyft, any of that, is that, when they pull up, they see me there with my cane and my sunglasses and they hop out of the car and I’m like, “I can do it, it’s okay, thank you,” and when I get in, they’re like, “Oh, can you see a little bit?” Then I explain the difference between being blind and being legally blind and what it means and then I teach them about how to treat anyone with a visual impairment because a lot of people just don’t understand. But I think that people are just afraid that it’s contagious.
It’s all about really getting out there and getting people to see your face and getting people to know that you are capable. It’s handi-capable, not handicapped.