With my recent decline in vision and subsequent approval for mobility training, I have been retracing my RP life in degrees. When I was diagnosed with RP, I had about 50 degrees of peripheral vision. 7 years later, I had lost 50% of my already limited vision and had only 25 degrees; that was when I stopped working. In the 7 years since I have stopped working, I have lost just over 5 degrees and I finally and completely believe I made the right choice to stop working. I have spent days feeling useless and lazy and telling myself that I should be working, that there was no absolute proof that stopping full time work was preserving my vision. There still isn’t absolute proof, but I think the cards are stacked pretty heavily in favor of not working. I hadn’t thought about it in comparison to how much vision I lost in the first seven years, but now that I have, I feel fortunate that the progression of my RP has slowed so dramatically. Even though the recent vision loss has put me into a whole new realm of the RP world, and that is upsetting, I am able to see the good fortune in my story.
It doesn’t mean that I am not afraid. I am terrified. I am already imaging myself going to sign up for the training and being shunned for the fact that I do have some vision; enough that I can get around without the aid of mobility devices and see your face when you are talking to me (as long as you are not too far away). I feel like my RP is the same as almost every other aspect of myself; not quite right, not good enough or, I suppose in this case, not blind enough. I am afraid of being out on the street with a long white cane that calls attention to my presence; I prefer being in the shadows. I am afraid to take the steps I know I must take and knowing me, I will take my time.
I do plan on pursuing the training and I look forward to being less bruised and having fewer collisions, but I have to ready myself for what I believe will be a huge step and a huge undertaking. It will also involve homework and practice and I seriously suck at both those things(which I am sure is apparent in how infrequently I post here). But, as I continue on this path, I will write about it and share it with anyone who wants to take this part of the RP ride with me.