At 11 months old I was diagnosed with Retina Blastoma. My parents first noticed me crawling in to walls, not looking at food, and not keeping focus on things. My mom took me to Indianapolis where I was treated by Riley Children’s Hospital. Doctors didn’t think I would make it that the cancer had grown too fast, but they did the operation, and I obviously survived. My parents couldn’t afford staying in a hotel, so they stayed at the Ronald McDonald house for my surgeries. I’m thankful to both organizations and the support they gave to my family.
With Retinal Blastoma it usually only takes one eye, however because it was caught so late they ended up removing both of my eyes. I’m totally blind with prosthetics. I was born with brown eyes, but when I was 13 I decided to choose green eyes. They cost around $5000, so I can’t have too much fun with them. I pretty much clean them once every six months or so, so they’re not too much work. I have a Chicago Cubs sign on my right eye and a Green Bay Packers sign on my left. This is to distinguish which is which if I ever get them confused. When I was younger I would have a friend take bets that someone had a sports emblem on their eye and kids would pay to see it.
I graduated college from Ball State University in 2009, and live in Louisville Kentucky. I want to blog my experiences as a person who is living blind. I will comment about day to day interactions, take photos, and give my view on current issues. I’ve been working on a book, so I will post a few chapters from it this week, and get some feedback hopefully.
Technology has really made things a lot easier. I’m glad to be blind in this time period rather than 20 or 30 years ago. My IPhone gives me so much information, and I use it for several day to day functions. Things like identifying money, scanning barcodes on canned or boxed items, light detection, and color recognition. I still remember buying my first IPhone where I didn’t have to purchase any special software to make it accessible it just worked out of the box. Apple really set the standard for this, and it is nice to see Google following along as well.
Relationships for me have been so far anyway disappointing. My last 3 real quick 2 have cheated, and one was really emotionally draining for me. Starting a relationship is kind of hard, because women are attracted to a man because they can provide. I am all for equality I’m just explaining attraction. No women go to the homeless shelter to find love. I do normal things, and yet I don’t know what it is but it’s hard to cross the line from being friends to having someone consider you for a relationship.
There are several factors I think in which hinder me finding someone easily. One is eye contact or nonverbal communication. I miss this aspect the most on a daily basis. I read in college that 90% of communication is nonverbal, so I think I miss a lot. Also I can’t tell who is looking at me to begin a conversation, so it is on that person to do so. Two is the fact blind people don’t even make up 1% of the population. Most people could go through life and never encounter someone blind. They also put themselves in my position and pity me. They think to themselves if I lost my sight I could never do what you do. It’s hard to overcome that one. I will revisit this later in the blog and really write my opinions this is kind of a warm up so to speak.
I have a Seeing-Eye dog named Robin. I’ve had her for 6 years, and it’s changed me a lot. I used a cane for 22 years of my life, and that’s something I want to talk about some in this blog is the differences in the way people treat you with having a cane or dog. With my dog every person who loves dogs talks to you, and they tell you stories. I really should have gotten a pet psych degree from Ball State, because I have to hear about someone’s dog dying every time I go to the store. Some blind people tell me they like this, because it helps them start that communication I was talking about earlier but I hate it. The reason why is, because it hardly ever leads to a friendship. What I mean by this is I usually encounter these people on the bus or in line so I’ll never see this person again. They’re not connecting with me because I’m blind they are thinking my dog takes care of me and how sweet that is. I get that often I’ll be taking an elevator or something and someone will say I bet your dog takes care of you? I usually just laugh, because again in 1 minute I’m not going to be able to change their minds. Truthfully let’s think about this one second if the dog takes care of me how does she eat? She doesn’t have hands to open her container, or to make me food so she doesn’t take care of me at all. Let’s use some common sense when it comes to blindness. Robin is great for guiding me around things, moving quicker, and companion but she is still a dog.
I touched on a lot with this first post, and were only going to dive farther in the blind world. I know maybe by reading this you may be scared to ask a question, but that’s how we learn. If you have a question leave a comment and I will post about it. It doesn’t matter the subject, because as this blog evolves I will probably open up more and more.