I wondered for a few weeks now how to present this.
I have known for about two months now, but the diagnosis was confirmed yesterday. It felt like a meat clever on a butcher block.
My name is Catherine, I am 28 years old and I have glaucoma.
A simple yet, fear loaded word.
For those who don’t know, glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease that affects the optical nerve and can lead to a loss of vision including blindness.
As a writer and avid reader, this diagnosis is hard to digest. The idea that at some point in my life, I can lose my sight is frightening. I can lose my windows to the world, what I use to do the things I love the most.
I’m sure most of us have thought at a time or another about what we would do if we were to lose our vision, a fearful idea, but we brush it off. Most of us are born with this privilege. The thought of losing it, like any other privilege, is dreadful.
I can’t brush this off. While unlikely, it is a possible future.
In my case, it is very early onset. I have no loss of vision, since my other eye is compensating. I was lucky enough to have a cautious optometrist who took the extra step to refer me to a specialist, ‘’just in case’’.
This ‘’just in case’’ revealed a case. One that can be treated early on and prevent further damage and loss. I was told not to worry. Easier said than done.
Having a disease that commonly affects the elderly and diabetics made me reflect on my own aging and vulnerability. I feared fatmisia from the doctors, knowing they often put together larger body size with diabetes and high blood pressure. I have none of those, but it’s irrelevant. I always had a shitty vision, but I never anticipated it would get to this point.
Yesterday, I put anti-glaucoma drops in my right eye for the first time. It is supposed to lessen the pressure in my eye. The thing is, I have normal eye pressure. I had no indicator that it could be glaucoma. Just a bad visual field on the left side of my right eye. I don’t know what this treatment will do.
Regardless, I am grateful my condition was caught early. I am hopeful a treatment might exist to cure this disease before I die. We often assign some diseases and illnesses to elderly. The more I talk to people, the more I realized there is no set age to develop it. I am lucky to live in a country where healthcare is universal.
Still, I am only talking from my own perspective, projecting my own fears, from an abled standpoint. Individuals dealing with partial or total loss of vision can and have full and rich life. People are resilient and if I am ever faced with this reality, I sure will roll with the punches.
I think it is time we open this conversation to end ageism toward diseases and disability. I am a young adult and I have glaucoma. It doesn’t change who I am. And if I ever get to the point where I lose my sight, then I’ll just do erotic audiobook.
The silver lining is that the drops will apparently make my lashes longer. Only on one eye at this time. Oh well.
No matter what your health situation is, your age and the diseases/disabilities you carry, they do not define you. You are a warrior that slay every day. Even when you stay in bed. Stay strong. Take care. Reach out.