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Her World Of Darkness
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Her World Of Darkness
The power of sight is something we take for granted. But what would you do if it were to be slowly taken away from you? Read this real-life story of a woman and find out.
[872 words]
Shenielle Aloysis
I am currently a full-time freelance writer and have been writing for about almost two years.
[May 2001]
Celebration Of Life (Non-Fiction) After tragedy strikes, a period of healing follows. This story tells us of how a woman overcomes two tragic circumstances by focussing on her healing. [926 words] [Motivational]
Her World Of Darkness
Shenielle Aloysis

    When I first met Ann, she impressed me with her strength by taking her ailment in her stride. She was not letting it overwhelm her and if you were just speaking with her on the phone, you would never know that she was going blind. Ann is in her late 2s and faces a dark future literally. Her retina is shrinking and with that, she is slowly going blind. Doctors have said that very soon she would not be able to see. Despite this, Ann was still willing to share her hopes, dreams and fears. Yes, she still has hope in her heart and dares to dream.

“I was born with normal vision. When I was four years old, I started learning classical dance and there were a lot of night performances. But I started tripping over things, and my parents just dismissed it as me being a klutz. I did not realise then that my vision was failing me. I thought I was normal.”

“But the situation deteriorated further and became so bad that I ended up breaking bones. I then became fearful and simple refused to go out at night. I still did not realise that something was wrong, as I was seeing the world as a four-year-old.”

Doctor’s perspective
“At 13, the school nurse referred me to the doctor, who said that it was nothing serious. I suppose I was kind of seeing things the way I see them that I never thought of getting a second opinion. My parents too, did not give it much thought and did not pursue the matter.”

“At 16, I had problems differentiating the various colors, so I saw doctor again. He confirmed that I had night and color blindness and it was degenerative. This meant that I would ultimately lose my eyesight. I was devastated!”

“I could not fathom the concept of being blind. It was something that happened to other people, things you read about,, things you hear – I was in complete denial. I was angry, disillusioned and frustrated. I felt that everybody was against me, even God. Then I wondered if people would still accept me as I am or treat me with disdain. I wondered if I would ever lead a normal life. Everything seemed bleak and unfair.”

At this point in her life, Ann turned to religion. A Christian, she asked the Lord for help. She went to church regularly and prayed for a miracle. The doctors advised that she stop schooling to ease the strain on her eyes. But she decided that she wanted to complete her A-levels at least and she did – a first indication of her determination to overcome the odds.

During that time she realised that reading was getting more and more difficult and that she needed enlarged prints.

“I still managed, I passed my O-levels and went on to pre-university and completed my A-levels by the time I was 19.”

“After this, I decided I should try my hand at working and I did work for a couple of years with two different companies. These experiences and exposure gave me the confidence and courage to get my degree. I then signed up with the University of London to do a correspondence course in BA, English. However, I did not finish the course as my parents had bought a travel agency for me to run and I was not able to juggle my studies and manage the agency at the same time.”

She closed the company after three years because of the extremely long hours that she had to put in – about 12 to 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week. The other problems she encountered were the difficulty in handling cash and the inability to travel on her own. She said she did not regret closing the agency.

During her time with the agency, she said that she had enjoyed meeting people. And from the employer’s position, she managed to build her confidence and learned to travel on her own.

“I went out and got myself a white cane as my vision field (tunnel vision is about five degrees now.” Her vision had deteriorated to such an extent that she is not able to see further than an arm’s length away.

With this deterioration, Ann has accepted the fact that she will eventually lose her sight. She has started learning Braille and will be completing the course soon.

Dreams for the future
Ann revealed that she is legally married and does not care for a customary marriage. “My husband is well aware that I am losing my sight and in time to come, I would be completely blind. He is a flight instructor and he needs to travel frequently. We are planning to migrate to either the US or Australia in the near future.”

“I still dream of completing my degree. I would love to have children as well, but the fear of passing on my genes is very real. Maybe I will just settle on adopting a child and have a normal life.”

She said the experience has taught her to “never ever give up hope and to continue believing in yourself. It helps you to go one with life, learning to see people and things, not with your eyes but with your heart.”



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© 2001 Shenielle Aloysis
May 2001

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