Welcome to the Veteran's Club

Some of these stories were written before 2004 so will obviously be out of date but no less relevant, if you are the Author of one of them and want it removed please contact me and let me know.

Steven Whatley

Note: This was originally written between 2000 – 2004.

Very soon after I was born, my parents knew there was something different about me. When I was six months old, the pupils in my eyes were still white. The baby doctor said, “That’s normal, his pupils will clear up.” My parents knew there was something wrong and took me to an ophthmalogist. The eye doctor told them I had cataracts in both eyes and was totally blind. My parents hurt sunk with the news. The eye doc told them there was this new procedure to remove cataracts which didn’t exist six months before. This was back in 1966. The procedure was to drill holes in my lenses so I would have a “window” to see through. There was a 50/50 chance of success. My parents reasoned that some sight would be better then no sight. At that moment my mom prayed and put my life in God’s hands. The surgery was a success but I had four more surgeries in the four years to follow to make the “window” bigger. My vision was 20/200 in both eyes up until last year. More about this later. Has God kept me in his hands like my mom asked Him to? Absolutely, yes! I graduated from a very good University with a B.S. in Computer Science. I’m now working for NASA supporting the International Space Station. Things were not always rosy. My parents guided me but they let me choose my own path. They only insisted that I go to college because I needed the edge due to my vison. They never told me, “You won’t be able to do that!” or “You will end up on welfare.” They were encouraging me to live my dreams. When I was four years old after seeing the Apollo 13 splash down in the ocean after their almost tragic end, I told my parents that I wanted to work for NASA. I never said I wanted to be an astronaut but I did want to work for NASA in some way even it was to be a grounds keeper. Back to the rosy stuff. about three years ago, my eye doctors determined I had a detached retina in my left eye that had probably been tare for 10 to 15 years. Detached retinas and glaucoma is a long term effect of the surgeries I had as a baby. So, it was not unexpected. Fortunately the detached area was mostly outside of my area of vision. I had eye surgery in lat ’98 to try to reattach it. Two years later it had not done so. So, I had surger in late ’00. This time, a different technique was used. It worked but caused my iris to flatten against my cornea blocking the eye’s natal drains (not the tear ducts). This resulted in dangerously high pressure in the eye and I had surgery to correct that problem a week later. My vision has dropped in my left eye to 20/400 but the goal was to stop my vision from getting any worse. After both retina surgeries, I was out of work for four to six weeks. But, I’m back at my job and still doing good. I knew that no matter what happened with these surgeries, God was in control and things bold be OK. Life may have become a little more difficult but I’m still OK. This trust has been and will continue to be an important part of my life

Paul Wilson

My name is Tyler Wilson and i am almost 7 years old. I am sitting writing this letter (with the help of my mom) to tell you how great my dad is. When my mom asked me why i thought my dad was the best, i said there is no reason, he just is! Actually, i would like to tell you exactly why he is so special. My dad’s name is Paul Divitt Wilson (i have the same middle name) and he just turned 30 years old. My dad has diabetes and he has since he was 11 years old. He has to take 6 needles a day to take insulin (ouch!). My dad cares about me so much and did even before i was born. You see he didn’t know if he wanted children because he didn’t want to take the chance that i might have diabetes. He didn’t want me to go through what he has to. But after talking to doctors they assured him the chances were slim and well here i am! But recently my family experienced the worst of diabetes. For the past 2 1/2 years my dad has been going through laser surgeries because he bleeds behind his eyes from the diabetes. But he remained an otherwise healthy man. My mom and dad decided to buy their first home and moved from the city to the country in August of 1999. But a month later my dad had to have major eye surgery because his retina detached from his eyeball and he couldn’t see out of it. Because of the surgery he became really ill and he couldn’t work for 2 1/2 months. But through all of this he remained my loving, caring, funny daddy that always has time for me. When he could play with me he would but he always had time for cuddles and laughs no matter how sick he felt. My mom kept working long hours because we needed the money and would come home and then look after my dad and I. When my dad got better he went back to work even though the doctors told him not to. They told him not to lift anything over 5lbs (he was a renovator) because it could happen again. But Christmas was coming and he knew we needed the money. That year I got spoiled as usual but my mom and dad didn’t buy anything for each other and I didn’t have any money to buy them anything either. Things went well for a while even though my dad was now blind in that eye. Then on Easter monday 2000 early in the morning my dad woke up and he could barely see out of his other eye. So we went through surgery again but my dad could not return to work this time. He did get a limited amount of sight back in that eye and that was enough to make him happy. My mom and dad have been together 10 years but were not married, so they decided to get married on August 19,2000 because my dad wanted to be able to see my mom come down the aisle. This was a busy time and I was so excited we were having a wedding day. Everybody was so happy until 9 days before the wedding. My dad woke up and the last bit of vision he had was gone. He was now completely blind. My mom was devastated but my dad remained happy and continued to make us smile. Not only that but he had to have emergency surgery 3 days after the wedding and their honeymoon plans had to be changed. So they got married but my dad was only able to see a faint outline of my mom coming down the aisle in her wedding dress but all details about the wedding went unseen for my dad. My mom and dad spent two nights in Niagara Falls and drove back Tuesday morning right to Oshawa Hospital and spent the remainder of their honeymoon there. Through all of this my dad still had a smile on his face and never let me see that he was scared. The day after he got out of the hospital he opened a sugar free food store for diabetics hoping he could help other people not get to the stage he had with his diabetes. The grand opening was held with a charity bbq to the diabetes association as well as proceeds from the sales in the store going to the CDA as well. He also offered a 10% discount on a daily basis to all CDA members. My dad ran the store on his own from cash to ordering to stocking shelves all the while not able to see a thing. We live in a small town and business wasn’t enough to keep it going and my mom couldn’t afford to support the house and the store. We had to close it New Years Eve. But once again dad still smiled and said if I made the difference in one person’s life by showing them what happens when you don’t look after yourself, then it was worth it. It’s been 10 months now since my dad went blind and it still doesn’t stop him. He now has a talking computer where he can go on the internet and the computer reads everything on the screen to him. If I have homework and I need help my dad can scan it so the computer will read to him so he can help me. My dad also came to my school to talk to two grade two classes who were learning about senses. He taught them what it is like to live without one of the them. The kids thought he was cool and ask me stuff about him all the time. Sometimes I get sad for my dad and he asks my whats wrong so I tell him and he makes me happy again. But I don’t ever remember having to make him happy, he just always is. Just in the past month my dad has put a new sink in our bathroom, laid a new floor in our house, put together our BBQ and built a dog pen in our backyard. Nothing stops my dad! The only time I see my dad get upset is when he talks about money. We haven’t had much since it is only my mom working but dad always seems to have some for me when I know he does without. I can’t remember the last time my dad got something he wanted and my mom tells me there won’t be much money for father’day so that’s why I’m writing this letter. In my mind, there is no man in the world better than my daddy. He may not be able to read to me or go bike riding but when it comes to love I couldn’t get more. He may not be able to see my smile but he knows it’s there when he finds my tickle spot or tells me how proud he is of me or when I score a goal at hockey. He always makes light of his blindness and he’ll keep you laughing for hours with his new found blind jokes -like- a blind guy walks into a bar with his guide dog – he picks the dog up by the tail and starts spinning the dog around in the air. The bartender walks over and asks him what he thinks he’s doing. He replies – I’m taking a look around. This is my favorite joke. My dad likes people to ask questions about his blindness so he can educate them. He also said that he doesn’t want to be treated any differently than he was before. Anyways, I feel my dad is the best in the world to have overcome all he has in such a short time at such a young age and still love life the way he does. For once I would just like him to have some money to spend on himself and enjoy spending it without having to worry about it. I can only hope you read this letter and feel the same way about my dad that I do. He’s the one, the only and the best and I love him infinity (our little joke). Happy Father’s Day Daddy!! I LOVE YOU!!! (oh yeah so does mommy)

Bonnie Lorensen

Her children are grown and living on their own, but Bonnie Lorensen has a new addition in her household. She’s two-and-one-half, furry, black and she offers the Kirkland native a renewed sense of independence. The new addition is her leader dog, Tess.

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age 22, Bonnie traveled a long road before she was ready to accept the assistance of a four-legged companion.

Retinitis pigmentosa, or RP, is a hereditary, progressive retinal degeneration. Night blindness develops, usually in childhood, followed by a loss of peripheral vision, progressing to tunnel vision and, eventually, blindness.

Bonnie said she was fortunate that she was able to continue her work as a typesetter for various local newspapers, including The Mid-Week, for many years. She continued working at The MidWeek until 1988, when a serious car accident put her in the hospital for nearly a month. She stopped working then, not because of her vision, but because of other physical problems, including an inability to sit for long periods of time. Although the disease is believed to be hereditary, Bonnie said she has found no one else in her family affected. Fortunately, her two children, Courtney, 25, and Clark, 21, show no signs of the sight-robbing disease. Today, Bonnie explains her field of vision as “like looking through a straw. That’s the only way I can explain it.

Throughout the course of her vision loss, Bonnie said she has learned how great it is to live in a small town. “When my kids were in school, Lynn Tindall used to take me to a lot of events. I never missed an event my kids were involved in,” she said. Lynn’s husband, Rich, a member of the local Lions Club, called Bonnie about three years ago, asking if he could come see her. Without a clue of what Rich wanted, Bonnie agreed. It was then he brought her a packet of information about Leader Dogs for the Blind, in Rochester, MI.

The school receives about one-third of its financial support from Lions Clubs. Bonnie said she considered Rich’s gesturewell-meaning,but wasn’t ready to follow up. She did, however, have to learn to get around on her own with the help of a cane. She received training from orientation and mobility instructor, Linda O’Reilly, then with the Center for Sight and Hearing Impaired, in Rockford. “She came once a week and got me mobile,” Bonnie said.

In the fall of 1998, her son, Clark, brought home a computer. Bonnie said she had not touched a keyboard since her accident 10 years before, “I loved my job as a typesetter. I loved to type and I loved the people I worked with. It just hurt too much to not work, that I just couldn’t type,” Bonnie said. Clark convinced his mom to try out his new computer. Bonnie said she loved it. Eventually, she went on-line and found others with RP. “I’ve met a lot of people with RP on the computer, and we’ve become close friends. “I guess that’s what gave me the final nudge to get a dog.” Bonnie said many of her new friends were encouraging, telling her how leader dogs had helped them gain their independence. “I finally called Rich and told him I was ready.

We put together an updated application, including six letters of reference and a videotape showing me getting around town with my cane. “I had to walk up and down my street, to the Post Office, around town,” Bonnie said. She explained that the trainers need to see not only that she is independently mobile, but also to have some idea of her size and gait to allow a better match with a dog.

Bonnie received a call from the school on a Tuesday afternoon in September, saying they had a cancellation and asking if she could be there on Sunday. “I guess the short notice was good, because I didn’t have time to chicken out,” she said with a laugh. Bonnie said she was fortunate there was a flight from Rockford to Detroit, where she was met by trainers who took her to the school in Rochester. Although she was nervous about taking the trip alone, she said airline personnel were very helpful.

The first few days at the school were spent getting around the community using only the dog harness and learning the commands. Then, it was time for class members to meet their dogs and begin training with them. Bonnie said her roommate, Barb, was getting her second dog. She said going to the school was a wonderful experience. Other members of Bonnie’s class traveled from all over the U.S., Mexico, Germany and Poland. After the 26-day training, Bonnie said she had a great deal of confidence in herself, and in Tess. “It’s slow walking with a cane. She’s given me freedom and independence,” Bonnie said, stroking Tess’ silky black ears.

Being the people-person that she is, Bonnie also likes that Tess is a “conversation piece.” The dogs are not only smart, but incredibly well-trained, Bonnie said. She told of going with family members to a lunch at Red Lobster. Tess laid quietly at Bonnie’s feet for the entire two hours.

When she got a follow-up phone call from a trainer at the school, she asked if anyone was coming to visit. Their response. She and Tess were doing just fine.

Bonnie has recently(April 2002) broken in another leader dog. A beautiful yellow lab named ‘Autumn’, pictured below.

Dawn Marie

My name is Dawn Marie (Magooser), on the badeyes list. I found out I had R.P. at the age of 26. I have an older brother who has R.P. as well, but no one ever thought I had it. One day I was reading and I noticed “blank” areas, small and snakelike. A few months later I saw a doctor who said I “probably” had R.P. I figured he was full of shit. In the next few years I couldn’t get a “true” diagnosis and I ignored my eyes. I had increased vision loss, but only in my right eye. I decided to have two kids and hope for the best. Then in 1999 I went to my eye doctor and he said I was legally blind and should not be driving. Boom! just like that . I couldn’t believe it, and went to a specialist who also said I should quit driving. This meant I had to quit work as well. I applied for social security, and after a year, I finally got it. I hope to go back to school when my kids are older. Right now, I thank God for the opportunity to be at home with my children, I couldn’t afford to otherwise. My youngest will be 2 in January and he had to get glasses last month. At first doctors thought we had a recessive gene in our family, which meant my kids should be O.K. But my niece found out in August she has it too. Now the doctors say it is a dominant gene. I have a strong feeling my son will have R.P. as well, and I am trying to deal with that now. I will not have him tested at his young age and I will try not to think about it

Patti

My name is Patti, I am a twenty seven year RP veteran. I was told I had a bit of an abnormal condition with my eyes and was advised to see a specialist. But I was eighteen at the time and it had no impact on me. I had no problems seeing. Although night driving, even then, was somewhat of a challenge.

RP had no negative affect on my life back then. It did not slow me down. It was not until I was in my mid twenties that the reality hit home. I went to a different eye doc and was told point blank “You have Retinitis Pigmentosa, don’t plan on having any children!” I was devastated by these words.

At the time I was trying to get pregnant (I was but did not know it). Both conditions were confirmed within days of each other. A bittersweet time. lots of reflection on what was going on in my life. A few months later I gave birth to an angel we had waited nine years for. She was born premature, so things were a little hectic in our home, getting ready for this bundle of joy. At the time I worried, ‘Would my child have this dreaded disease?’ ‘ Was I wrong to have continued with the pregnancy?’ Those questions have been answered a thousand times over. I was right to have had this wonderful child. She is now twenty one and there is no sign of RP. She has an exam at least once every two years and is handling it much better than I am.

Yes I fought having the ‘Field Vision Tests’ done. There was no treatment so why go through agonizing every year. There was no cure and I did not need to know what my eyes were doing. I would know when the time was right to make adjustments, that was my argument. I fought with the doc over it for the twenty years I was under his care. He finally just gave me the advise that he thought I should hear. I would thank him for his concern.

As a veteran of RP and now much wiser, my advice would be to have the tests done when recommended, it’ll help in getting any disability benefits that you may be entitled to.

About fifteen years ago it became apparent my night vision had diminished, but I still continued to drive. One night we had car trouble out of town. I had to drive home in the dark and could only see what was in my headlights. I became quite frightened at the risk I was taking with my young daughter, sitting in the car beside me. That’s when the anger at this condition began to materialize, I had no one to talk to and did not really know what was going on. At the time there were no resources in our area to help get me though this stage. I still drove in known areas. We lived in a small town so it was not a problem. Thank God I never ran over any one. I continued to drive until March of 1999, when we moved to a larger city. I realized then, it was time to stop driving. I was terrified by this.

I began searching the internet, looking for anything to do with RP. During this search I found the State Rehab department. I called and set up an appointment, several months later I started O & M training. That has changed my life dramatically. No longer am I stressed, going out among people with the white cane, but best of all, Spike has became my best friend. The more we go out together, the more confidence I gain.

I also found a support group, for people with Retinal Degenerative conditions, called ‘Badeyes’. This is the best group of people I have never met. They have helped me through some very difficult times thanks BE’s! Patti and Spike

Linda Nail

I was diagnosed with RP in the late 70s when I was 26 years old. I suspected something was wrong after my son was born. I noticed that I had trouble backing my car up and judging distance. It was ever so slight, so I just put it out of my mind.

People kept telling me to have my eyes checked but I never went. It took getting smeared all over the road to get me to the eye Doctor. A wonderful Dr. in downtown Flint gave me the news on my second visit. I just remember sitting there taking it all in matter of fact like. I remember going home calling my mom and telling her very stoney like and matter of fact. I also had a slight hearing loss since the age of six. I did not fully begin to understand what I actually had to contend with. I hadn’t a clue what Ushers syndrome was and I had never even heard of it. I got my first computer in Feb. 99, which allowed me to meet people on the internet and to do a lot of research.

I have always lived my life 24 hours a day and have never looked ahead, I may be wrong for that but it works best for me. Iam still learning and trying to take it all in. It has only been a few month since I made all these discoveries. I know I’ve gotta get a life out there somewhere.

Inga Malone

HOW RP CHANGED MY LIFE – FOR THE BETTER

I was diagnosed unexpectedly with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 34, three days before Christmas of 1998. I had gone to the optometrist thinking I needed mild glasses for night driving, and instead walked out with the shocking diagnosis of sporadic RP.

I spent the next two years hanging onto a very bad second marriage, thinking I had to because who else would take care of me when I went legally blind? I hated my job, hated my boss, and hated my home life. One day I decided that if I’m going to go blind, I was going to learn how to play classical guitar while I still had the vision to learn how to read music. I began studying under a teacher who was classical guitar instructor at a neighboring university – and within three months, I auditioned for and won a four-year full-ride scholarship to their music school. The move was scary – still in the “who’s going to take care of me?” mode – but I took the chance, divorced, and entered the wonderful world of college at age 36.

I ultimately changed majors to mass communications, dual emphasizing in advertising and public relations. My ultimate goal is to one day be a strong voice for public awareness and support for an important social cause. On top of attending classes, I coordinate workshops for our nontraditional (adult) students on relevant issues (money, relationships, time, study skills), to keep them encouraged to fight their daily battles and stay in school. My work and studies have brought me awards and commendations, and my guitar led me to co-founding the Colorado Springs Classical Guitar Ensemble in 2000. My new world (and the people and activities in it) is everything I always longed for for myself – and I can assure you that none of this would have happened had the RP diagnosis never occurred.

My encouragement to everyone is this: seize the opportunity of RP to dare to dream – to begin doing all of the things you’ve have always wished for. If that dream includes college, know that scholarships and grants ABOUND for adults, for women, for people with disabilities, and for those with exceptional talents or skills. Just call your local university, who will be glad to run interest and aptitude tests on you, and get the ball rolling in a great direction!

My visual field is probably still at about 100-110 degrees, and the last doctor I saw said that while my left eye will probably continue to deteriorate, my right eye looks good and I should have “many years of usable vision left.” So if you’re newly diagnosed, don’t fear the worst. Just seize the day, and know that there could be an even better life ahead of you.

Lorelei Rabishaw

I was 18 years old when I began to notice little floaters and my parents began to notice that I was tripping over things. I went to several doctors in both Calgary, where I was living, and in Ottawa, where I moved at age 19. I was finally diagnosed with RP in Kingston when I was 21. It was somewhat of a relief to know that it “wasn’t in my mind” as some had suggested. I was referred to an opthamologist in Ottawa who immediately told me I was legally blind and must stop driving. Of course I felt I could still drive, and continued to do so during the daytime for a few years. At the time I was employed as a secretary at City Hall in Pembroke, Ontario and had a new sports car. Up until that time my life was happy and I was untouched by the grim realities of the world. I decided that I could no longer work as a secretary. I sold my car and quit my job and returned to university where I got an undergraduate degree in law with a concentration in criminology and criminal justice. I married and became employed as a probation and parole officer. I was still driving and life was great. I forgot about my problem until it started deteriorating further. When I quit driving I was confined more to the office and I became very frustrated. I had difficulty with paperwork and in concentrating. After my daughter was born in 1994 I was exhausted and became depressed. I worried that I might not be a good mother because of what I thought were my limitations. I left work in 1995 and thankfully had a long term income protection plan. I remained quite depressed and felt isolated after leaving work. As a Christian I felt guilty that I could not see the good things in my life. In 1997 I decided to get on with life and started some rehabilitation with the C.N.I.B. Then my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, two weeks later my horse died, two weeks later my husband was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, then during my dad’s lengthy hospitalization in Ottawa my mom had heart problems and was hospitalized in Pembroke. Through all of this I became a walking zombie but my brothers and sister continued to help me with my burdens and said they would always look after me. In November 1997 my youngest brother, with whom I was especially close, was killed tragically in a car accident. For over a year the grief consumed me ….but I sure put my RP in perspective. He did alot of fundraising for RP and always tried to get me to see the positive things in my life. During the last couple of months I have felt stronger..from my faith in God, the prayers of others, and I think strength from my brother. I still hate the fact that I can’t drive but I’m beginning to enjoy life a bit more now. I have recently purchased another horse who is trained by voice commands. Her previous owner is completely deaf and she’s the most positive and energetic person I have ever met. I only have to watch the horse’s ears with my tunnel vision and she’ll do the rest. I know I’ll start to feel more independent and alive again. My brother’s death has taught me that having RP certainly isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person. I have recently returned from a trip to Toronto to see my opthamologist at Sick Kids and found out my field has narrowed again. I’m not even upset!!!”I can do anything through Him who gives me strength.”

Richard King

life seems to have taken a whole new direction.I suppose this began about 6 months ago when I woke up to the fact that I have a peculiar “condition”, not a disease as far as I am concerned nor do I refer to it as a problem. Just this condition. A condition that requires thought and caution in an ordinarily simple regime of day to day life.A condition that also needs some of my attention to try to understand what is going on, and to consider the various options open to me as a newly labeled “disabled” person.

I became aware of my condition at aged 19 but for some reason I can’t honestly remember how or what led us (my brother and I) to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London on this particular day, all I remember is being there as a whole family, my parents, (having divorced 5 years prior) brother, sister and me sat in this dull room confronted by a big nob medical Professor and his cronies. “Retinitis” and “Pigmentosa” were the words being banded about. “What the hell is that?” is this guy having a laugh or what? “Just tell me why I’m not seeing very well in the dark and tell me how I can get it fixed”. No chance. No cures, no treatments, no vision is what you have to look forward to. From that day and for the next 11 or so years, this has always been on my mind of course, I had more or less ignored it. Perhaps a denial thing, perhaps I just wanted to consider myself as a ‘normal’ person.

Recently I have been thinking more of my condition, constantly thinking of my future; as a provider, a father and a husband and towards the end of last year I was almost at breaking point; “What is happening to me?” I was in some kind of major rut. I still manage to do normal things; I go to work every day, work out at the gym, ride my bike, play games with the kids, but I have certainly noticed differences in things and I can and can’t do as well as I did 10 years ago. I suppose I decided now was the time I wanted to look into what the future lies in store and began researching this condition. This has helped in the way I now deal with things, my life has changed for me now; being open and honest, not hiding anymore. It is one of the best thing that has happened in my life in years. I am communicating with some great people through RP and it is in encouraging to know so much support and information is available.

Graham Langford

My mother was diagnosed with RP when she was 48. At the time I was 24 serving in the Air Force in the Far East and she contacted me, suggesting I was checked. A quick check with a flashlight was clear that I didn’t have it’ 5 years later, after leaving the Air Force, I noticed I walked in to things a lot. I went to the Oculist who diagnosed RP and small cataracts. He sent me to Toronto General for tests. The tests proved conclusive. The Oculist told me I shouldn’t be legally driving as I had less than 120 degrees vision but it wasn’t much less. I was working for a company as Field Service Manager, responsible for installation and maintenance of Hospital X-Ray equipment and CAT Scanners over 1/2 of Ontario. So I was constantly driving. The Oculist died and I had to find a new doctor. After several months of avoiding doctors in case it would mean losing my license I found an opthamologist. My cataracts were causing me so much problem I had no choice. In 1997 I had driven to Florida on vacation (from Toronto) and the sunlight was painful because of the cataracts. I was referred to a younger Opthalmologist who did regular lens implants. He performed one in October 97 and the second in January 98. He noted I had RP and arranged a dreaded field test in Nov 97. I had 4 deg. of peripheral vision in my left eye, and 2 deg. in my right. He told me that he would let the MOT know and they would jerk my license (which they did two months later). My peripheral eyesight had deteriorated very rapidly in the last 6 months of 97 (after returning from Florida). I had all but stopped driving, as I didn’t feel safe. The doctor said I wasn’t considered legally blind because my eye sight had to be worse than 20/200 OR less than 20 deg. peripheral vision AND worse than 20/70. (I had 20/30 both eyes). I told him he was wrong and eventually he checked with the CNIB, who told him I was legally blind. I was now working for another company as Systems Engineer, designing remote (solar) power systems. We traveled all across Canada and sometimes overseas. To the top of mountains in helicopters and off road driving. The company was concerned about my lack of sight, especially as I had to travel and work around heavy equipment, and in the company warehouse. In August 1998 I was put on disability to (a) Eliminate a liability to the company and (b) Enjoy life whilst I had some usable vision. My mother went blind at 75 years old. My aunt and cousin also have RP as did my late uncle. Am I mad, bitter, angry. NO I am not, I enjoy the fact that I have my mobility. There are many things I can’t do but there is an awful lot I can. I am not terminally ill. It may be many years before I lose all my sight (heck I could die first). I focus on what I can do today and let tomorrow take care of itself. As a Christian I don’t believe God screws up. He will meet my needs in a physical way just as he has spiritually. I get frustrated at times but as a general rule I believe God is giving me contentment in this trial’