I Watched My Children’s Faces Fade As I Lost My Sight | A Blind Reflection by Chrissy Terry |
Two years ago on October 9, 2015, my life changed forever.
I had so much going on at work that when I woke up to a blurry spot in my left eye, I knew I couldn’t call in, I thought I was just exhausted. I drove the entire 45 minutes to Whale Branch Middle School covering my left eye with my left hand, so that I could see where I was going. I was the Co-chair of the National Junior Honor Society and we had about 400 boxes of doughnuts being delivered that needed to be sorted and distributed, I was the Relay for Life chair and was selling pink shirts for breast cancer awareness, and my students had a robotics competition coming up that we were trying to get ready for. There was no way I could take off, even for my own health. My students were great, I told them I was having a little trouble seeing out of that eye and asked them to please help me out by being on their best behavior and they did!
As the day went by, my vision started to worsen. I called my GP’s office with no answer, then called my Ophthalmologist‘s office. They said I needed to be seen ASAP, but I knew I still had so much that I needed to get done before I left school. So,they made me an appointment at their Lady’s Island office at 2:20. I asked my team leader to cover my last class, and called my mom around 11:30 to let her know what was going on. As the day went by, my vision was completely fading in that eye.
I was becoming a little concerned, I knew I couldn’t drive myself to my appointment. Around 12:30 I called my mom, she was having lunch with my brother Eric for his 39th birthday, I asked her to please meet me at the school and drive me to the doctor. At that point we both knew it was not good, I NEVER asked for help. My Dad dropped her off at the school around 2, she drove me in my car to the eye doctor.
They originally thought it was a blood clot and told me to go to MUSC. Brock met us in Yemassee, my mom took his truck home, and we headed to Charleston. I was very calm and had a peace about me. I had been praying all day that whatever God’s will be done in my life. By the time we got to MUSC around 5, I had totally lost sight in that eye. I went through so many tests, but since they did not find a blood clot, they sent me home at 1:30 Saturday morning and told me to follow up Monday. Dr. Hunter told me to call him Saturday and let him know what was going on. Landon had a soccer game. I never missed my kids games, no matter what. However, when I woke up Saturday morning, my right eye was blurry. I told Brock I must just be really exhausted. He told me I needed to sleep, to which I agreed. By the time he and Landon came home at 10 and woke me up, the right eye was almost completely gone.
We called Dr. Hunter and he told us something was wrong and we needed to go back to MUSC immediately. We called the kids to come in, we prayed as a family. As my children’s faces were slowing fading from my vision, I held each one close, cried, and tried to take in every second of what they looked like. I prayed “God, whatever your will, let it be done, but if it is your will, please Lord let me see my babies faces again.” By 11 am Saturday, I was totally black blind. I stayed at MUSC until that Wednesday, with them running more tests and telling me it was only temporary and that my vision would return in 4-6 weeks. We left the hospital not knowing anything, except that it was “Optic neuritis” and went straight to Zach’s football game in Orangeburg. We lived life as “normal” as possible. I was totally black blind, no light perception, for about a month. We had amazing family, friends and community to support us during that time. My awesome sister, came from Kansas to help with the house.
Little did we know that this “temporary“ blindness would be permanent by March 2016. “Optic Neuropathy with no cure, no surgery, and no medicine to “fix” it, the Optic nerves were dead and not coming back.” We were in shock and now had to deal with this being permanent. We did not get help to figure this out, we had to do it on our own and had no clue what we needed to do to move forward in our lives. Once we finally got the help and tools I needed to be successful, I was and I am. I don’t let this sight loss hold me back or keep me from enjoying my family or my life.
After 2 years, this is our normal. I do pretty much everything I did before I lost my sight, just differently. I have accomplished things that even some sighted people would not attempt.This has affected my family in a way that no one could possibly understand unless they have gone through it themselves, as a young family. There are still some very emotional days, but God gets us through each struggle to make us stronger. We are thankful for our blessings. Brock, the kids, and I try not to take things for granted because we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we do know there might not be a next time. -Chrissy’s Facebook | 10/9/2017
Chrissy was clinically diagnosed with LHON by Dr. Nancy Newman, a leading expert on LHON, at Emory University. Chrissy lives in Hampton, South Carolina with her husband Brock, and their three children. She is adapting to her new normal with assistive technology and determination. She is In the process of returning to teaching and stays very active with her kid’s sports and activities. Chrissy has started running again with her beloved guide dog, Orange, running by her side!
Oh wow Chrissy I can’t imagine that. I struggle with my loss (diagnosed thirteen months ago with Punctate Inner Choroidopathy) sometimes which is comparatively less but so far I’m blessed as I can still see my children’s faces and my grandson. I may have to get close up or see through my phone camera but I can see them.
Maria thank you for sharing Chrissy’s experience.
Amazing story, Chrissy. Good for you! My husband was diagnosed 8 yrs ago and still mourns not seeing grandkids faces. You’re a wonderful example for everyone.
Thks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your story. My nephew was dx 3.5 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t think of his struggles and challenges. Prayers for you as you move forward in your new path of life.
Excellent post, Chrissy! I was talking about how birthdays are precious with my great nieces as I don’t know how much longer I will be able to see their faces. Thank you for sharing your story. So much to learn from each other!
Your story is heartfelt and amazing. I remember bringing my daughter to your home 8 years ago for soccer practice with Brock. And then years later my son worked with Brock on the fire department. Thank you for sharing your story! GOD BLESS.