A patient diagnosed with a retinal condition must listen to their body as well as their mind. If and when the time comes, you realise tasks are beginning to become difficult to perform, I recommend asking for help and thinking about what you need to do to accomplish that task. For instance, the magnifying glass has become my best friend! Some days I need it and some days I don’t, but I use it to make daily tasks easier for myself and ensure I’m able to read whatever I need to.
Where driving is concerned, I think we need to be smart. The most important thing is to keep yourself, as well as others around you, safe. Again, listen to yourself and if you get in the car and you don’t think you should be driving, get out of the car. Safety is a priority for everyone.
For myself, it was very important at the beginning of my diagnosis, to maintain my job and remain in the workforce. I was a registered nurse in a high-volume, level 1 trauma center in a major city. There were very specific tasks I needed to perform to care for my patients. As time went on it became obvious, I could no longer safely perform the tasks of my job. Accepting that was probably the most difficult challenge I’ve had with my diagnosis. Once accepted, I did what I needed to do and took a step away from my job.
As others come to the realisation they cannot perform as expected, I believe the realisation will turn into acceptance and you do what you must do. That was the most difficult part for me.
I can’t really say that this diagnosis has had any type of significant impact on my social life. I still go and travel as many places as my husband is willing to take me and being surrounded by a great family and wonderful friends has helped. I personally don’t have the personality to sit back and wallow in sorrow. I try to do everything and not miss anything because you never know when the opportunity may come your way again. I try to never let an opportunity pass me by. Again, in doing all these things, safety is my number one priority.