My name is Kate Shell and I was born with what they thought was retinal blastoma. When I was born the Dr’s here in Oklahoma told my mother that the cancer I had in my right eye was going to eat away at my brain if they didn’t go and remove it , they also said that I may have cancer in both eyes and that they wanted to take out my eyes at birth in order to save myself from being over run with cancer.
My mother being the greatest mother you could ever had wanted a second opinion. So when I was two weeks old my folks set up a fundraiser to gain cash to go to New York and send me to a top specialist . Thanks to the good people of Tulsa and the Ronald Mc Donald house my parents rounded up enough cash for a flight and had a place to stay.
Because of this the specialist they sent me to, found that I in fact did have cancerous cells in my left eye yet they had become benign and had pretty much healed it self yet my right eye was destroyed. Thus saving my left eye with the loss o f my right. So I have been blind in my right eye my entire life yet it has never held me back which is something I would like to say to all that live in 2D never let it hold you back from anything.
It was hard for me growing up I remember when I was in fifth grade I went through surgery to remove my dead eye which I was glad because I was tired of people staring and name calling. In school I was titled the Cyclopes ( which now I embrace). I remember having to clean my stitches in the bathroom with my other fifth grade students which didn’t bother me but now thinking about it as an adult it must have been shocking to another kid to see there classmate with stitches in their eye.
I received my glass eye when I was thirteen by a wonderful Ocularists here in Tulsa named Elise M Joy. She did an amazing job and changed my life. For I was about to be in middle school and I knew the crowd would be much tougher than that of elementary. At first I would just tell people I had a lazy eye, that’s how real my artificial eye looked and because I was tired of the ignorant questions like “If I hit you on the back of the head will it pop out.” or “ Do you put it in a glass of water by your bed at night.” Yet now as an adult I understand people s interest in something different from them selves and I embrace the fact that I have a glass eye, and no longer claim I have a lazy eye ( most people find it cooler to have a glass eye any way).
When I was younger I was never allowed to play sports for fear that I would lose my good eye. This was hard on me because all I wanted to do when was be an athlete. When I turned 15 my father was introduced to competitive shooting which is considered an Olympic sport. You don’t have to have two eyes to shoot a gun in fact most people with two eyes have a hard time adjusting to looking thro a sight with one eye and most block their vision to compensate. I was a natural and gained the title of National Champion wi th a 22. Small bore rifle and competed in many different matches in many different states. I could have probably gone to the Olympics yet I was a teenager and was more concerned about my boyfriend then I was becoming an Olympic athlete. So I quit and put down my gun and picked up a camera (another thing you don’t have to have two eyes for.)
I went to collage for photography and I desperately wanted to become an commercial photographer. Yet that did not work out so well for I realized I needed something more stable. Now I am 24 married to a wonderful man and I am the mother of a beautiful healthy 5 month old baby girl named Sage. I am currently attending school for medical coding , so I can get my foot in the door of the medical field to hopefully one day become a Pediatrician Ophthalmologist so I can help those kids that were like me.
If I could say anything to someone who has lost their vision in their eye or some one who has a glass eye I would say that of “ Be your self and never hide who you are.” my glass eye makes me who I am today and I don’t think I could of ever lived my life in a different way.