All In The Mind – Sanjay in Dubai
In 1998 (the year I got married) I was diagnosed with a case of optic nerve head vascular mass with secondary retinal detachment.
Until that time I thought I had the best eyesight with no problems encountered, only to face the moment of truth. I was in total shock when I discovered that there was nothing that could be done to restore my eyesight (I was gradually losing sight in my right eye).
The case summary stated that anterior segment of the right eye revealed relative afferent pupillary defect and the evidence of secondary retinal detachment and an angioma of about 4-5 discdiameter in size was diagnosed.
There was a retinal cyst in the same location indicative of chronic retinal detachment. Whatever medical terminology used the fact was that the prognosis for vision was poor. That meant a lot to me, all I knew was that I was loosing sight in one eye, it came as a terrible shock, something that I least expected.
In denial with the current issues I went ahead with my marriage on 27-12-1998 and a year later was blessed with a beautiful baby girl born on 20-04-2000 (named her Sheena, which means God is gracious).
Life went on in stages, we had the birth of our second child a cute baby boy born on 16-07-2003 (named him Shannen, which means God’s gracious gift). We planned to migrate to Canada and in November 2004 we moved from the U.A.E to Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. The right eye kept bothering me as a result I had to use eye drops to control the intraocular pressure, the right eye had redness and pain.
I had to make a decision on the very little option I had, enucleating of the right eye with orbital implant and cosmetic eye shell. Well it was painful the very thought of someone amputate a part of your body although it served no purpose, I think it is extremely difficult to let go of any part of your body whether functional or not.
In the meanwhile we were finding it difficult to find good jobs in Canada, and when we (my wife and me) contacted our ex- Companies we were blessed, we got our jobs back, no waiting we returned to India, and very painfully I had my blind eye operated and removed on 05 March 2005.
It was really traumatic soon after my surgery, adjusting to eye loss was never easy adapting to monocular vision, well there was no counseling done or any professional support systems of any sort. But the best support and encouragement I ever had was from my wife Tina my brother Dinesh, my sister Sunanda, my parents, my immediate family and from God (the surgery made me get closer to God and I had good faith in him).
I thanked God that the surgery went on well, I heard cases of error where they operated on the good eye etc. I praised and thanked God at least I had vision in one eye and whatever happened the fact was that I could still see in one eye perhaps with a little more difficulty? I knew deep within what was the value of seeing in both eyes, is why God gave sight in both eyes.
Initially everything turned out to be more challenging, my taking a step to walk and the balance, the adjustments while climbing steps and the judgment, also people passing papers in the office and me actually holding it right?
In my workplace except for my boss no one actually knew that I had lost my eye and had vision in one eye? Now this turned out to be very motivating. I wanted to prove (to myself) that I could do anything a normal person with both eyesight could do.
I even got the employee of the year award out of a total of above 650 employees from a previous Company I worked in the UAE.
I felt proud of myself despite the difficulties I knew that deep within I could achieve anything I wanted to and overcome any hurdles that came my way. I even obtained my driving license. This is one thing I always doubted my cababilities.
I am driving now for almost a year and a half. The best part is that none of them were aware of my sight problem from the driving school, my training instructor, to the inspector who conducted my driving test.
Once again it was rewarding to know that anything is achievable if one has the determination to accomplish.
My loss of sight is a secret kept from my children (they are aged 9 & 5) and are too small and will be traumatized if they know the reality, eventually as they grow up I will unfold the truth. But as of now they only do know that I had an eye surgery.
Strength of Mind
My advise to people having similar problems of the eye. Do not give up, as I believe that we are learning something back from life and our purpose of existence.
While we are very much alive here on earth we have to contribute to life and here is our chance to do a part of our share regardless of our problem.
I feel a sense of pride in achieving even the most simplest of things, I think well I could do the same if not much better than most normal human beings (having sight in both eyes).
Recently in this new company of mine, where I got promoted to Assistant Manager – Risk Management and Internal Audit, I was rated best among other EXCO (executive committee members – Managers) the best part being that none of the staff in my Company are aware of my problem, and I feel great.
I have recently further enhanced my career by joining a MBA course. What I am trying to say is never ever say die, do the best that you can if we think negatively we are not going to be satisfied.
I do understand that it is no joke to lose an eye, but if we continue to think of what we do not have we will only miss on appreciating the things that we still have and which keep us going.
I now feel pleasant to share my problems. And I take this opportunity to thank my Ocularists Mr Paul Geelen who from the beginning has been so supportive, understanding and very kind, he looked very calm and confident.
From the first day and the moment I met him I was assured that everything would work out right. I had problems with my earlier prosthetic eye shell, done elsewhere in India, with complications of allergy and chronic infection in the eye socket caused by the poor fit of the prosthesis.
Thank God I came across an article in the Friday magazine on creating artificial acrylic eyes. Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai is a branch of Moorfields eye hospital London. I am very fortunate to having met Mr. Paul Geelen and experience his wonderful work, this new artificial eye is very comfortable.
Mr Geelen exposed me to his website and the bloggers and I thought that this would be an ideal thing to share my experiences and make someone feel that he or she is not the only one, exactly how I felt earlier. Life goes on.