Barbara - My Story
I've had disappointments and heartbreaks, setbacks and embarrassments, but something always came along that either made me better or was an even better road to walk. It was all dependent on my ability to stand up and move on.
I was 2 when I lost my eye. A doctor gave me wrong medication for an eye infection. And just like that a door slammed in my face but so many windows opened for me. Windows I did not see at the time but only realize now that I think back on my life experiences.
When life hands you lemons - get out the tequila. Life is what you make of it. Embrace it and adapt to it in a way comfortable to you. No need to go into a depression mode. When you are happy the world’s happy-when your down-you are kinda on your own, the world will not be down with you.
That’s exactly what I did I made my life work for me. Being so young still I cannot remember how it felt like to see with two eyes so it’s quite normal for me to see with one. I think it would be quite uncomfortable to have two. There were a lot of adjustments required some learned by simply thinking ahead and other learned by, falling, bumping and some more falling. Adjustments are good-makes life interesting.
This will depend on each individual. Some of the adjustments I needed to make were to learn to see depth in a way. I needed to learn to always hold onto the stair railing. To avoid people looking back as if I was talking to some kind of imaginary friend I needed to adjust my head to ensure my eye was not looking strange or in a different direction. I will definitely not bore you with more detail to the adjustment I had to make however I must say its like second nature to me by now
I do not see any person with one eye in a classification of being disabled and no you cannot use this as an excuse to stop in the disabled parking at Pick & Pay.
If I had not lost my eye I would have never achieved what I have and never have met so many people as I have. Just to name a few:
Represented South Gauteng, Gauteng and Vaal Triangle in winter and summer sports from Grade 3-Grade 12. I attended the SASSU Athletic Championships in my first year of University in PE.
Arts and Stage work:
I started doing this to improve my self confidence. This ended up being a regular thing. I participated in numerous events in stage work. I represented South Africa in Los Angeles in 2005 for the Nationals in stage work. I did very good and brought back 10 medals including a scholarship to study in New York.
My academics were not lacking:
I managed to reach Top 10 in school-two times.
I went on to study BA Drama at TUKS.
Currently studying at UNISA for My BTECH Safety Management.
I was Head girl in Primary School.
Deputy Head girl in High School.
Culture Head girl in High School.
I also went on to be the Social & Rag RCA in my Hostel in University.
Now do not get me wrong the above I did not mention because I wanted to show off or brag. I wanted to prove that life is what you make of it.
The most important thing to remember is that I had a support structure behind me cheering me on and supporting me, helping me through life’s challenge. Without whom I would have never achieved what I have.
Firstly and most importantly I had God to show me the windows he has opened for me. He guided me and showed me the way. Without him I would not have achieved anything and would have come to a dead end the minute I had lost my eye.
Secondly my family especially my mom and dad. They were strong for me and taught me theses adjustments I had to make like it was supposed to be a normal way of life. They protected me in the way they brought me up and supported me. They were my supporting structures that guided me on my journey and they still do. I remember one thing they told me and I remember it still: “God marked you with this one eye you are His forever.”
You must remember that without God and without family you will never get to where God intended you to go. He has a plan for everyone. It might not seem so at the time but looking back I see that all worked out just fine.
Josua - My Story(English)
My name is Josua and I am 27-years old. I recently lost my vision in 2011 due to a severe case of Glaucoma which left me about 15% vision. With this amount of vision left, I decided to make the best of it and further my studies as a blind person in the line of massage therapy. This was not an easy task as it was very difficult to read manuals as a normal person does. In this struggle I was accommodated by facilitators which printed the manuals in large print which made things a little bit easier.
I managed to complete my studies with great patience and assistance, but there was always the fact of knowing and realizing that my vision was still deteriorating by the day. I constantly had problems with my eye pressure increasing and crushing my optical nerve even pore. The increasing pressure put a lot of strain on my eye up to the point where there was constant bleeding within the eye at the back of the retina. After numerous surgeries and treatments with laser, doctors were able to finally stop the constant bleeding, but not without sacrifice.
Though the bleeding was stopped, it was only for the right eye. The left eye bled so much that doctors could not look at the eye to see what was going on inside. Pressure was still increasing in the left eye, even though both eyes were operated on and draining pipes were put in. this lead to another surgery for the left eye, the most painful of all. The doctor operated and cooked the eye walls which produced moisture to the eye. This was done with another device using laser technology.
Things went well for a while after recovering from that painful surgery, but I was not out of the woods yet. After a few months, the left eye cramped daily, almost like someone pushing a needle into the eye. My family soon noticed that my eye was getting smaller, as did I, but I thought it was only my imagination. As time went on, the front chamber of they eye deteriorated completely, the retina was detached, the color of my eye fading and the eye was still shrinking, almost the size of a swollen raisin.
While this was happening, I managed to apply and get into a college for the blind, Optima College for the blind. It was here where I was taught how to work on a computer from a blind perspective and learnt the skills to be able to function on my own as much as possible, from walking around to using an ATM. In my period of studying, things took such a turn that I once again had to go for surgery, this time to remove the left eye. I didn’t take this news well, but I had no choice as it could have had severe consequences if I didn’t do it. The left eye was removed and replaced with a silicone ball which was implanted.
While I went through the recovery process, my partner started searching on the internet, looking for an affordable doctor who could help with a prosthesis. He came across a lady named Beryl with a company named, Eyes Alive. They spoke back and forth via e-mail and we soon had an appointment with Beryl. When I walked into her office, I felt so comfortable and calm. She explained the whole process to me and told me that people wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between my eyes. I thought she was joking as I have heard about glass eyes and saw how they looked, I mean, those eyes didn’t even move if you looked around
This is where Beryl informed me about their new technology and the type of eyes she makes. You could just sit there and listen for hours about her work and she spoke with such friendliness and passion. She had other clients waiting, but she made sure that I understood what was going to happen and what was to be expected.
The whole process started and we had quite a few trips to go and see her. Appointments to measure the eye and getting the right fit for comfortability, and I must be honest, I had quite the amount of complaints, from scratching in the eye to a prosthesis that was too big or causing too much pain. I felt like this lady was going to get fed up with me very soon, but never, not even the slightest hint of irritation or anything.
After going back and forth about a month and half, my prosthesis was complete and everything she said was true. I barely notice that I am wearing a prosthesis and people don’t even know it, notice it or even tell the difference between my eyes and the best of all, my prosthetic eye moves as I move my right eye. I am so happy and grateful that no words can even start to describe the joy, satisfaction and thanks I have towards Beryl and her God given talent.
I also have some information to share with those people who suffered the fate of blindness. With this technology, you can read digital letters, books and further your knowledge by studying again. All you need is a computer or laptop with either Windows or Lynex. You also require internet to download one of the following software. These are screen readers which we used at the college and this is what I am using up to now to send e-mails, study and do research on the internet.
On the internet you can choose to download NVDA [Non-Visual Desktop Access] or Windows Eyes. I am using Windows eyes and the only thing about windows eyes, is that you need a registered version of Microsoft Office 2010 or a newer version of it. Any version below 2010 will not work unfortunately and you will only have a trial version of Windows Eyes running. NVDA requires no other software to function, simply download the installation onto the desktop or laptop, run the installation and follow the prompts. The last option you have is Narrator and is on all windows operating systems as of from Windows 7. Simply access the Control Panel and look for Narrator or speech or screen reader. Access that option and activate it. Although these screen readers help a lot, they unfortunately do not read EVERYTHING.
Thank you for taking the time and reading through what I have shared with you. Blessings and all the best with your journey through life.
Josua - My Story(Afrikaans)
My naam is Josua en ek is 27-jaar oud. Ek het onlangs my visie verloor in 2011 as gevolg van Glukoom wat my min of meer 15% sig gelos het. Met hierdie bietjie visie het ek besluit om die beste van ‘n slegte saak te maak en het my studies bevorder in die lyn van masserings therapie. Dit was nie ‘n maklike uitdaging nie weens die rede dat ek nie meer gemaklik kon lees soos altyd nie. Ek het met baie geduld en bystand van familie en fasiliteerders my kwalifikasies bekom. Danksy die spesiale leerstof wat in groot gedruk was en hulp van al die mense wat tyd gevat het om te verduidelik en met sketse verduidelik het.
Alhoewel ek hierdie uitdaging aangepak het, het ek al die pad besef en agter gekom dat my visie by die dag verswak. Ek het konstant gesukkel met die druk binne my oe wat die optiese senuwee verder verwoes en selfs konstante bloeding in die oog veroorsaak het, agter die retina. Na ‘n magdom van operasies en laser behandellings, was doktors in staat om die bloeding te stop, maar nie sonder opoffering nie. Alhoewel die bloeding gestop was, was dit net vir die regter oog. Die linker oog het so baie gebloei dat doktors nie kon sien wat agter die of binne die oog aangaan nie.
Druk in die linker oog het steeds toegeneem, al was daar dreineringspypies in beide oe ingeplant. Dit het veroorsaak dat ek weereens onder die lig van die operasiekamer moes gaan, die seerste van al my operasies. Die doktor het besluit om die selwande van die oog te kook met ‘n laser om die vogproduksie te verminder. Dinge het vir ‘n rukkie goed gegaan, maar ek was nog nie buite gevaar nie
Die linker oog het daagliks begin kramp, amper as of iemand ‘n naald in my oog druk. My familie het begin agterkom dat my linker oog kleiner word, net soos wat ek al besef het, maar ek het net gedink dit was my verbeelding. Soos die tyd aangeloop het, het die voorkamer van die oog begin verdwyn, die retina was los geskeur, die kleur van my oog het begin bleek word en die oog het gekrimp tot die grootte van ‘n geswelde rosyntjie.
Terwyl die dinge aan die gebeur was, het ek suksesvol aangesluit en ingeskryf by Optima College For The Blind in Pretoria. Dit was hier waar ek geleer het om ‘n rekenaar te gebruik vanaf ‘n blinde perspektief en al die nodige vaardighede om myself te kon help. Ek het geleer om self te kon loop met my stok en selfs om ‘n OTM te gebruik. Dit was in hierdie tydperk dat dinge so ‘n draai gevat dat ek weereens vir ‘n operasie moes gaan, hierdie keer om die linker oog te verwyder. Ek het hierdie nuus nie goed gevat nie, maar ek het nie ‘n keuse in hierdie geval gehad nie. Ek moes hierdie operasie ondergaan, weens die groot komplikasies wat die krimpende oog ingehou het, sou ek nie gaan vir die operasie nie.
In die tydperk van my herstelling na die operasie, het my lewensmaat op die internet gaan rondsoek vir ‘n doktor wat ons kon help met ‘n prostese teen ‘n bekostigbare prys. Dit was met hierdie soektog dat ons afgekom het op Beryl van Eyes Alive. Hulle het heen en weer gesels deur mate van e-pos en ons het binnekort ‘n afspraak met Beryl gehad. Toe ek instap by Beryl se kantoor, was ek kalm en het baie welkom en gemaklik gevoel. Beryl het vir my die hele proses begin verduidelik en my vertel dat mense nie eers die verskil sou sien tussen my ogies nie. Ek kon vir ure na haar sit en luister soos wat sy praat met passie, entosiasme en vriendelikheid.
Terwyl sy gepraat het, het ek ewe skielik gedink sy maak ‘n grap met haar woorde en stelling dat mense nie die verskil tussen my oe kon sien nie, want ek het al glas oe gesien en hulle het nie beweeg wanneer die ander oog beweeg het nie. Dit was in hierdie moment wat Beryl vir my verduidelik van die nuwe tegnologie en die tipe oe wat sy maak. Alhoewel sy ander kliente gehad het, het Beryl haar tyd gevat om seker te maak ek verstaan alles en da t k wee twat om te verwag.
Die hele proses het begin en talle rittes was gemaak om haar te gaan sien. Talle afsprake om die regte afmetings vir die oog te kry en die kleur van die oog. Ek moet ook bieg, ek het talle klagtes gehad, van ‘n krapperigheid tot ‘n prostese wa t te groot is tot ‘n prostese wat net te seer of ongemaklik is. Ek het later begin dink dat hierdie vrou binnekort sou vererg vir my, maar nie in die minste nie. Ek kon nie eers die geringste irretasie in haar stem optel nie.
Na die heen en weer geryery in die tydperk van ‘n maand en ‘n half, het ek my volledige prostese en ek kom nie eers agter dat ek ene dra nie. Alles wat Beryl my vertel het is absoluut waar. Mense kom nie agter dat ek ‘n prostese dra nie, hulle kan nie die verskil waarneem nie en die beste van alles, die prostese beweeg soos ek my regter oog beweeg. Daar is geen woorde wat kan beskryf hoe dankbaar en gelukkig ek is met Beryl en haar God geseende talent wat sy het nie.
Ek het ook informasie vir diegene wat dieselfde oorgekom het, wat nou blind is as gevolg van verskeie situasies. Daar is sagteware op die internet wat kan help, sou u besluit om verder te studeer of u kennis te verryk. Die sagteware is gratis vanaf die internet aflaaibaar, maar lees ongelukkig net engels. Daar is NVDA [Non-Visual Desktop Access] wat geen ander sagteware benodig nie, dan is daar Windows Eyes wat ‘n geregistreerde weergawe van Microsoft Office 2010 of nuwer benodig. Enige weergawe onder 2010 sal ongelukkig nie voldoen nie en u sal dus net ‘n tydelike weergawe van Windows Eyes hardloop. Met NVDA, laai net die installasie op die laptop of rekenaar af en hardloop die installasie proses en volg die stappe. Die laaste opsie is Narrator wat op alle rekenaars met Windows 7 of nuwer gelaai is. Gaan net na die Control Panel, soek vir Narrator, speech of screen reader. Druk op daardie seleksie en aktiveer dit net. Hoewel hierdie sagteware wonderlik werk en meeste goed lees, lees dit ongelukkig nie ALLES nie.
Alle voorspoed vir die toekoms en u pad in hierdie lewe en alle seeninge word u toegewens.