I didn't lose my vision the way many others did. I wasn't born visually impaired, I didn't experience a traumatic event that impacted my vision, nor have I suffered from any health issues. The cause of my visual impairment is unknown, but, the baffling event that triggered my vision loss is unforgettable, my life has forever changed. One day, my family and I went swimming as was our frequent summer activity. This time was different, really different. After I finished swimming, my vision became extremely cloudy for several hours; I couldn't drive myself home. My vision eventually cleared by the end of the day and I continued with my normal life and routine. One day, as I was reading a book, I noticed the vision in my right eye changed. I scheduled an appointment with an ophthalmologist that referred me to a retina specialist. At the age of 27, I was diagnosed with multifocal choriditis, a rare autoimmune disease. It may seem strange, but, at that time in my life I wasn't concerned about the diagnosis. While my physician stated multifocal chordates would “hijack my vision”, he also stated it mainly affects middle aged Caucasian women; I was neither, therefore, no worries and I choose to only pay attention to the later statement and ignore the “hijack” part! I was young; I was a fighter, I was a healthy athlete, I had tons of friends “miss popular” I was also in denial and didn’t believe this could happen to me. I can’t read or see shapes in my right eye; I can only see light and color. In my left eye I can see approximately 4-5 feet in front of me, everything else is a blur or has a mirage effect.
Unfortunately, researchers don’t know much about multifocal chorditis, but, what I know is that it’s aggressive in me. In less than three years of diagnosis at the age of 31, I was legally blind. I felt total devastation and my entire life changed and felt over. I had to learn how to deal with my visual impairment and how to live. It seemed like I had to learn how to live life over again. I was offered white cane training (orientation and mobility), but, initially turned it down. I felt that accepting training was like accepting the disease. I refused to accept this disease – still in denial. One day I fell, tripping over an object on the floor. I realized at that point, if I wanted to remain independent, I HAD to have orientation and mobility. The first day of training I cried like a baby, I wanted to back out because this wasn’t how I envisioned my life to be; not me.
I’ve come to realize that some of our greatest life’ achievements aren’t planned and often come from our greatest obstacles. When my orientation and mobility trainer from Mobility Solutions Inc. www.mobility-solutionsinc.com arrived, she calmed my soul. She told me that everything would be alright. She said that vision, or, the lack thereof wouldn’t change who I am as a person, to always be myself and be confident in who I am.
I’m blessed to have a very strong support system; my family and friends. I'm grateful to have such an amazing group of people on my side. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. Life events often seem overwhelming, but, if we rise to the challenge they can bring good and benefit to others in our situation. I intend to do as such, to bring change and good to the visually impaired community through creating fashionable assistive technology devices for the visually impaired. I plan to start a business, so, be on the lookout for icrush® accessories.
My life’s motto, "Either you let life happen to you, or you MAKE life happen for you! The choice is yours."
Connect with me on Instagram @ac_rush or on Facebook.com/Am.Crush
"Either you let life happen to you, or you make life happen for you!"