I remember getting my first pair of glasses when I was 12 years old. I left the store the day I picked them up and was shocked at how clear I could see everything. I was able to see every leaf on the trees outside. They were green blurs before, but with glasses I was able to see every vein and ridge. It was amazing to me how beautiful the world was when everything was in focus.
About 10 years ago I had surgery to correct my vision so I wouldn’t have to wear glasses any longer. That was another wonderful moment because I no longer had to deal with fogged up glasses on humid days or raindrops on rainy days. Everything was beautiful once again but without the need of a pair of glasses to help me out.
But now, because of multiple sclerosis, my vision is messed up yet again only this time there’s nothing I can do to correct it. I get these crazy moments when my eyes just don’t have it in them to focus. They will jump around, wobble about, see double of everything, and become weak and blurred. I also have lost color clarity in my right eye so everything is gray scale. It’s actually quite weird and hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it before.
Sometimes just trying to read an email or a text message becomes an impossible task to complete. When that happens, I’m thankful that technology exists today to read them out loud for me. You never realize how important your eyesight is until you lose it.
That’s one of the hardest things about living with a progressive form of MS. I see my body slowly deteriorating and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t actually see the changes from day to day, but when I compare how I was doing a year ago to how things are today, I find noticeable differences…and if I think about it too much, depression sets in and the tears flow.
What I have to do each day is stay focused on the things I can do instead of what I can no longer do. My can’t do list has grown much longer over the years, but my can do list surprisingly has grown too. I may not be able to walk more than 5 steps unaided, see clearly, breathe without concerns, sleep through the night, or swallow consistently, but I can laugh at my shortcomings, make a mean fruit smoothie, hug walls and floors with style, invent new words that really should to be added to the dictionary, and create more laundry than a five-year-old.
Try your best to not lose focus on today by looking at the past and dwelling on all the things you used to be able to do. Regardless of your progression or where you are at in life today, your disability has not taken away your ability to live. Pause and think on that.
Don’t let your can’t do affect your can do. You can still do a lot of things, you just might be doing them differently than you did in times past. Be grateful for the things you can do. You’ll be amazed at just how long of a list that actually is. I believe in you!