“Your eyesight may not return.”
In a haze of blurred white, all I could make out was a fuzzy outline of the optometrist’s lab coat as he held the door knob.”I’ll be back shortly; I need to confer with my colleague.”
The door closed, and I was alone. I didn’t mean to whine, but when you’re a writer facing permanent blindness, a few whiny words slip out.
Saline tears raced over my cheeks, and met at the center of my chin. They waterfalled into my lap. I raised my face toward the ceiling. “Why is this happening? How can I write without my eyesight?”
Sterile silence answered my questions.
When the doctor returned, he placed a piece of paper in my hand. “Get this prescription filled. Put one drop in each eye every two hours, even throughout the night, and come back to see my colleague tomorrow.”
“But tomorrow’s Sunday. You aren’t open.”
“He’s coming in for you.” His gentle hand assisted me out of the chair and led me toward the door by the elbow. It would be a very long, miserable night.
By the next morning, thousands of invisible pins pricked my body. My head ached, and walking outside turned sunbeams into fiery branding irons that seared my corneas. My husband drove me to the eye doctor.
When I shuffled into the office, the physician’s voice did not reassure me. “Let me take a look.” He clucked as he prodded, not bothering to hide his concern. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I don’t even know where to refer you. This is serious.”
Fresh tears careened rivers off my face. I could hear him rifling through papers.
“According to these reports, your eyes are worse than yesterday. I want you on complete bed rest when you get home. Come see me Tuesday. I’ll try to figure out what to do by then.”
I went home, crawled in bed, and cried out to God. A voice whispered in my mind, “What verse do you claim?”
“Though You slay me, yet will I trust You.”
“Then trust Me.”
“But how can I write if I can’t see.”
In that moment, I decided to obey, and my whole perspective changed. I knew that if God wanted me to write or do anything else, He’d make a way. Others had authored in spite of blindness. Helen Keller, Jennifer Rothschild, and Jim Stovall came to mind.
Several days later, I met with Dr. Malhotra, a cornea specialist, who quickly identified the problem. He diagnosed me with Cogan’s Dystrophy, or Map-Dot-Fingerprint Dystrophy.
It took almost five weeks for the torn skins over my corneas to heal. My sight slowly returned. It was September, 2009.
Flash forward, three years. Though my vision challenges me from time to time, I’m able to see, and I write nearly every day. To maintain my sight, I take fish oil and vitamin supplements, use lubricant drops daily, and put salt ointment in my eyes at night to keep the skins taut and smooth. I’ll do this the rest of my life, and hope for few corneal flares.
Cogan’s Dystrophy makes it appear as if a fingerprint has been left on each eye, hence the more common name. I choose to believe God branded me with His own fingerprints to fulfill His special purpose in my life.
I once was blind, but now I see. And whether I’m to do it with my eyes or not, I will answer His call to write.
What obstacles have you overcome to fulfill your call to write?