By TANIA WITHERS
Everyone has a story, and every story is different, so here is mine!
My name is Tania and I just turned 40. Twenty nine years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I found this really difficult as I was just about to leave primary school for high school, and I just wanted to be like everyone else.
So to be like everyone else, I would pretend that I didn’t have diabetes, eat badly, not take my insulin or do regular blood tests. This did immense damage to my body. Skip forward thirteen years to then find that this damage was irreversible to my eyes.
I was 24, had my life ahead of me and the world at my feet, should have been going out enjoying myself with my friends, but constantly found myself in doctor’s waiting rooms. I had many bouts of laser treatment on my right eye, many surgeries, to then have this all fail and become totally blind in that eye because I had not acted soon enough.
Three months later the same thing happened to my left eye and I was thrown into a world of total blackness. In that one year I had eleven surgeries on my eyes, one gall bladder removed, had to give up my two jobs, my licence, and my independence.
The last sixteen years I have been on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, trying to piece my life back together. In the beginning I was helpless, hopeless and could not see a way forward, until I realised that I couldn’t listen to daytime television for the rest of my life. I got in touch with Vision Australia and RVIB at the time, and started to regain some form of confidence and independence, through learning how to use a cane to get myself around, then computer lessons, using a computer that has talking software, to finally getting a guide dog to then gaining some part-time employment.
Since then I have become totally blind, all I see is black, no light, no shadows, no shapes, not the faces of the people I love – just black!