Through My Eyes
We received a wonderful story from a recipient who was struggling with FUCHs’s Dystrophy. Below is her touching story about her journey and newly found hobby of photography that is made possible because of “her girl’s” choice to be a donor.
Dear family of my donor,
I am writing to thank you for the gift of your loved one’s tissue. All I know is that she died a tragic and untimely death. I have a son the same age. My feelings are deep and filled with emotion. I struggle to find the words that adequately thank you for your thoughtfulness to complete strangers at a time when you suffer immeasurable sorrow.
I suffer from Fuchs Dystrophy. It is a deterioration of the interior lining of the cornea. The endothelium of the cornea has irreplaceable cells. Mine were dying and it causes the vision to be uncorrectable. Imagine that your glasses are smeared with Vaseline. I had reached the point where my joy of anything outdoors was dampened and frustrating. I could not read anything clearly and driving was becoming dangerous. If the miraculous tissue grafts were not possible, I was facing some drastic life style changes. Until about 15 years ago I had enjoyed far-sighted vision so this was quite a blow in a relative sense.
The cornea from “My Girl” went into my left eye. I had the right eye done just before Christmas. That tissue was from an older man who died of a heart attack. One might think that having gone through this before that it would be old hat. Not so. First there is the awesome gift. Second, I have found out that having 2 good eyes is greater than the sum of the parts. The gift of vision is enormously precious and you find out that acutely when it is failing much faster than the rest of your body. I want you to know 1 began to pray for my donor and family months ahead and I asked my friends and family to do the same. I knew the match would only be made at the last minute but I also knew that God knew who it would be and that He loves that person infinitely.
It has been 3 weeks since my surgery and it looks so far like I will be 20/20 in the left eye with my right nearly as good. Almost as good as seeing distance well, is seeing color, texture, and contrast. I can sit in a restaurant facing a window and see my companion. I can see the colors of a bird in a tree, drive without worrying I’m going to make a left hand turn on the wrong side of a median. I can read signs timely and no I longer fear blinding and deadly back-lighting. I can see my wrinkles. Oh well, nothing is ever perfect is it? I can’t wait to play tennis or maybe even softball again. I have bought myself a new camera and have been taking pictures of birds. One is enclosed for you.
The beauty of the world is startling when you haven’t seen it in a while, and I tell myself every morning to be joyful. I never want to get used to this. I shall always take the best of care of your precious gift.
I am tremendously thankful to everybody involved in this: the Alabama Eye Bank, my amazingly calm, skilled and straight talking doctor; the pioneers of the technology; but most of all to you for your generosity at a very sad time. I am dissatisfied with my words of thanks. But you must also know that I send my thankfulness to you also through God, asking Him to shower you with grace, peace, and consolation as well as eternal bliss for My Girl.