In 2016, my Mom lost her vision. First in one eye, and then the other. After endless appointments, testing, and waiting for many months, she was diagnosed with LHON. She is one of the strongest women I know and has always been so independent. As expected, she has had some bumps in the road with this, but she is still determined to keep as much independence as she possibly can. My Dad and I have gone through the entire emotional roller coaster right beside her.
On one hand, I am angry that she is going through this at all. As with any disease, why does anyone have to experience this? When her vision started to go, she was nearing retirement. This was going to be her time to take a rest, enjoy amazing adventures, and watch my baby grow. On the other hand, I think of all the people that have been diagnosed with LHON at such young ages, who haven’t had the chance to enjoy life as much as my Mom has. There is no such thing as good timing for something so life-changing.
I have been wanting to do something as a tribute to my Mom since this all began and today, I finally got my tattoo for her. My Mom has spent my whole life guiding me, and I am so thankful that I am able to be there now to guide her. – Alison’s Facebook | 7/24/2018
Alison’s tattoo is an intricate black illustration of a compass. In the middle of the compass is one eye with lots of detail and long lush lashes. The compass is marked with letters representing north, south, east, and west. Along one edge of the compass are the number “11778”, which is an LHON gene mutation number. Along another edge, are some braille dots.
Alison Fordham is 30 years old and lives in St. Thomas, Ontario. Her mom, Susan, was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) in the summer of 2017.