December 10, 2012 | 10:48 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have worn glasses since I was five and have such severe Keratoconus I had both of my corneas transplanted. Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea. The cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape, which causes vision problems.
I wear contact lenses most of the time, but do occasionally use glasses, which are truly horrible. They are super thick, change how my eyes look, and are too embarrassing to wear any place other than in the privacy of my own home, and only when I am alone. If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my vision. I’d love to be able to see better.
I have always been grateful for sight. It has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, and while my new corneas have been a blessing, my eyesight is deteriorating and that makes me see things a little differently, both literally and figuratively. I have spent most of my life worried that I will one day lose my vision, so I take everything in and try to memorize it.
Sidebar: One of my corneas came from an 18 year old boy who died in a car accident, and the other from a 22 year old boy who was shot in a robbery. I am able to see because of the generosity of these young men and their families. I am an organ donor and have kept these two boys in my prayers since the day they saved my sight.
I can describe every inch of my son’s face to you. The truth is I can describe the faces of all the people I love in great detail. I take pictures of them with my mind so that I can see them in my minds eye when my vision is gone. It could plateau of course and I could maintain my current sight but the truth is each year gets just a little bit worse.
This morning I woke up to see my cat sitting 5 inches away from my face. She was staring at me as if she was memorizing how I look and it made me sad. I am leaving for England in 11 days and I will be away for 2 weeks. I wonder if she knows and is preparing herself. Perhaps she is hoping I memorize her face so I don’t forget. She’s sweet like that.
I never take my vision for granted and while I hate my coke bottle glasses, I also treasure them. I went to my son’s school yesterday to watch a holiday performance. As I sat there watching this divine child and his friends, I was overcome with emotion. I feel so blessed to see him grow up. Not just be with him, but to actually see what he looks like everyday.
When I was at school I lost my car key. I looked everywhere but it was simply gone. I must have dropped it on campus at some point and I was so sad. My friends Naomi and Karen helped me look for it, but we could not find it. Karen was going to drive me home to get my spare key and bring me back to school to get my car. I was very grateful.
We went to the school office to check one more time if the key had been turned in and no luck. I said a prayer and asked God to please help me find the key. I told him I knew it was there and could he please just help me. I left the office with Karen and told her how sad I was. Karen is a lovely woman and has a strong conviction to her faith.
We do not practice the same religion, but we have a deep and profound respect for each other. Karen is big on prayer and I told her I prayed to find the key. She told me that she prayed too. What was interesting is that we both told God the exact same thing. Independent of each other we used the same words and then within minutes, the key was found.
Some will think it is silly, but I don’t care. I believe in the power of prayer and our joined forces found my key. As I drove home I thought about Karen and faith. We follow very different teachings in terms of faith, but we pray to the same God and it left me feeling very peaceful. It got me thinking about what I am able to see and what is invisible.
I am always worried about my eyesight. I worry about the health of my eyes and pray I will not only see my child grow up, but his children too. When I close my eyes I can see all the pictures I have taken over the years and so I worry a little less. Vision is a powerful thing and I learned today that I see some wonderful things when my eyes are closed.
I will probably always worry about my sight and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try some of the new options available to people with Keratoconus. I will always pray, always respect faiths different from my own, and always be grateful for what I am able to see when my eyes are open, and closed. I am blessed to have perfect vision when I keep the faith.
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