I’m a proud mama of two fantastic kids, group fitness instructor, blogger, speaker, podcaster, and consultant in beautiful San Diego, CA. Oh, and as my website name would suggest, I am also legally blind. Yes, I’m a Girl Gone Blind — and I’m here to tell you all about it!
I wasn’t born blind. Nope. I grew up fully sighted as a typical youngster and crazy teenager in Coronado, CA. In high school I discovered my love for the graphic arts. I was on the yearbook staff and was the editor my senior year. I decided to pursue a career in graphic arts and graduated from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. with a degree in Graphic Communication and Design Reproduction. I loved the creativity of design, typography, color, art, and photography. I started working in design, production, and sales in the printing industry right out of college. I moved into the Halloween costume industry and worked as a product manager. I loved being in the artsy & creative world!
After 16 years in the industry. I became a stay-at-home mom after my second child was born. That is when I made a commitment to take care of my own health and get back into shape! I was 90 pounds overweight and miserable. I had to make a change. Slowly, I lost weight as fitness and healthier eating slowly became my new passion! I spent a few years as just another girl at the gym until I decided to take it to the next level. I became a certified Group Fitness Instructor. I jumped right in and never looked back! I have been an instructor for over 15 years helping others find their love for health and fitness like I did. I was fit, fabulous, and having fun when I noticed a problem with my vision. A problem that wasn’t going away.
I noticed a blurry spot in my right eye in April 2013. In September 2013, right after celebrating my 50th birthday, I was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a rare genetic condition causing sudden vision loss. It affects 1 in 50,000 people.
On November 5, 2013, I drove my car for the last time. On November 8, 2013, I was deemed legally blind by my Neuro–ophthalmologist. I had no central vision left in either eye. I will never forget these moments….. the moments that started to change my life forever. Dealing with the loss of my vision, and my life as I knew it, is very difficult. Not gonna lie….some days are definitely harder than others. Really hard.
Adjusting to this unexpected life is an ongoing process. Coming to terms with the fact that I will be legally blind for the rest of my life is the craziest emotional roller coaster I never wanted to ride on. I mean, no one wants to go blind at any point in their life. No one. So, I will continue to adjust to becoming a Girl Gone Blind and just show up every day. The day you stop showing up, is the day you give up – and you’ll never know what amazing people and adventures the universe still had planned for you.
Thank you for visiting my blog and let’s keep showing up together! ~ Maria ❤️