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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is November 25, 2020

One step at a time

My glaucoma story

By Megan Tate

Born four months premature, I was placed on 100% oxygen for the first several months after birth because my lungs were underdeveloped. This resulted in retinopathy of prematurity.

As a child, I dealt with limited vision in my right eye and none in my left. I had friends who suffered from glaucoma and I was aware that it could lead to blindness and that it could be painful. But that’s all I knew.

For most of my life, I had limited vision. I could see well enough to walk around unassisted most of the time and I could see images to a certain degree. What I saw best, however, was bright colors.

While learning web design, I discovered I could change the entirety of my computer screen to one solid color, allowing me to tour the spectrum of the rainbow. Little did I know that while I was looking at all those beautiful shades, I was taking snapshots of them in my mind for future reference. God was preparing me for the road that was ahead.

In the winter of 2013, I noticed that I didn’t seem to be seeing things as well as before. I chalked it up to poor lighting, my finicky eyes and contrast. I even went to my eye specialist who said my eyes looked just as they always had. My eye pressure was perfect, and my retina looked flat and stable. In essence, there was no medical reason for my decreased vision. But I knew something wasn’t right. I could no longer see those colors on the computer screen like I once had.

One evening in late January 2014, about two weeks before my 25th birthday, my husband and I had settled in to watch a movie.

I usually worked on a jigsaw puzzle while we watched. But that night I wasn’t feeling well. I sat on the couch instead of at the kitchen table and leaned against the couch.

I had a persistent headache, something that wasn’t completely unheard of for me.

As the movie progressed, my headache worsened. We turned off the TV and I jumped in the shower, letting the hot water massage my throbbing temples.

For me, seeing halos, or noodles as I had called them since I was a little girl, was a common occurrence. So, when I closed my eyes, noodles flashed across my eyes. They were annoying but harmless.

The next day I stayed in bed. I felt awful. By now my headache had morphed into a full-blown migraine.

The next morning when I awoke, I stood up and walked into the bathroom, flipping the light switch as I had done a million times before.

It clicked on, but it was still dark.

What are the chances, I thought? Mentally, I counted the number of bulbs in my head. There were two sets located above the his and hers sinks. Eight of them. What were the chances all eight had blown overnight?

Without turning around, I called out to my husband.

“Baby, the lights in the bathroom are blown,” I said. “They were working yesterday.”

“No, they’re not,” he said from his position over my shoulder. “They’re on.”

That was the start of a journey that I never could have prepared for, one that I find hard to accept and one that I ask God daily to change. I just can’t accept that I might be blind for the rest of my life. And I can’t acknowledge that I may never see those beautiful colors again outside of the snapshots Christ made sure were stored in my head.

That morning when I walked into my eye doctor’s office, my heart was pounding.

I was diagnosed with what I would later come to know as acute open-angle glaucoma; a glaucoma that creeps on you like a beast, stealing your sight without warning or apology.

According to my doctor, my once flat retina had also partially detached.

By nature, I am an optimistic person. I have a let’s-fix-it attitude. But three glaucoma surgeries later and more than six and a half years of prayers and hopeful thinking and I am still blind. I hold on to my faith that there is a reason for everything, even if I can’t understand what that reason is.

My prayer is that Christ will use my story to help others, that it will strengthen my ministry and that I can be a beacon for him. So, I keep myself busy. I sing, I write, I take care of my home and my beautiful fluffy orange tabby as well as the amazing man who has become my eyes.

 

Megan Tate, a Northcentral Electric Cooperative member, is a gospel singer. Her music is online at iTunes and Amazon. You can also follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/megantatemusic.

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