I know that you guys have been waiting with baited breath to hear the story of how I went blind or what caused my condition. I will try to answer all of your questions in this post, but if you read it and still have questions, feel free to comment them down below.
Let’s start from the beginning. I was born 17 years ago in Maryland. The doctors said congratulations to my parents for a healthy, 8lb. 2oz. girl and sent me home. Over the next few months my mother noticed things that were unusual for a baby. I was not acting the way babies usually act. I always stared at the floor and never at people, I could not follow anyone with or any sounds with my eyes and they constantly darted back and forth. I just would lie on the floor like a potato. I never looked at anyone when they called my name, I never reached for the food in the correct spot when it was placed in front of me and I cried 24/7 and when people put me down.
At my 2 month well check up, after performing a standard examination my pediatrician had reason to believe that I was blind and referred me to a pediatric ophthalmologist. After a thorough examination by the ophthalmologist, he came to the verdict that I was completely blind with only light perception. It was then he diagnosed me with Bilateral Optic Nerve Hypoplasia—a non-progressive congenital nerve condition, and sent us on our way telling us to come back for check ups every six months, and now that I am older, yearly.
After hearing this news, my grandparents, being strong Catholics who believed in the power of Christ to heal, traveled to Lourdes, France in hopes of getting holy water that may heal my eyes in some way. They came back and put it on my eyes daily and prayed to Jesus that if it was in his will, he might heal me. One regular day, my mom put Cheerios in front of me like she everyday. She noticed that instead of feeling for the Cheerio, I just reached my hand out and grabbed it. Stunned by this, she decided to wait until my scheduled appointment and then have it checked.
At my regular check up with my ophthalmologist, he was performing the tests per usual when he noticed that I had developed usable vision in my right eye- 20/100, yet still remained blind in the left. As a longtime practicing ophthalmologist he had worked with numerous kids diagnosed with ONH and all of their vision had stayed stable, with no improvement no matter what intervention was performed. This is why I often say: ‘Twas the power of Jesus who helped me in my time of need.
Many people need to be able to see Jesus work in order to believe in Him, which of course is not the ideal way to go about faith. But I literally got to see Jesus work throughout my life. He opened my eyes in a very legitimate sense. I am forever grateful; He has changed the way I view the the world and the way I view other people. This experience not only changed my life, but changed the lives of people around me. My mother, who at the time was an atheist, had no faith in God or what God could possibly do. She only put the water on my eyes to please her mother, but once it had the effect that it did, she was turned toward the light and has proudly been a member of the catholic faith ever since.
And this experience has influenced my outlook in life to look for the positives in every situation. Yes, I’m legally blind and still experience significant visual impairments, but compared to the initial diagnosis my mom received, what a gift is the bit of vision I have!