From my Christmas letter...
So many things have changed for me this year. I moved away from East Texas, where I had been living for six years. My move was more of a statement to myself than anything. There were a lot of things I needed to leave behind and a lot of ways I needed to move on with my life. Sometimes a change of environment is a good motivator.
As soon as I had gotten settled in my parents' home in Houston, I began to deal with the fact that I had lost a significant amount of my already very limited vision. In May I was told that I needed to have a corneal transplant and that something might be able to be done for my retina, which is the "film" of the eye and had partially detached from its place in the back of the eye. One thing through a complication into the matter. My parents were planning to move to Indiana, and I was going with them. In fact, my sister's family also moved to Indiana.
In May I also filed for my divorce after a year of separation. Fortunately, there were no children involved and not really any hard feelings or disputes. Still, I had and still have a lot of healing to do in regard to certain issues which are and are not related to the divorce.
July was a busy month. The move was relatively painless despite one of the cats pulling a disappearing act just to prove that she owns us all and that my parents and I had to live in temporary housing for a couple of months. Well, ok, it was tightquarters for that time period. Almost as soon as we arrived in Indiana, I set out for Orlando, where I attended the national convention of the American Council of the Blind. I had a good time reuniting with some old friends, meeting some on-line friends in person for the first time, and even making a few new friends. I was also appointed to serve as the editor of "The Student Advocate," which is the quarterly newsletter of the National Alliance of Blind Students, which is an affiliate of the ACB. I have enjoyed this project tremendously and have realized that I have a strong interest (as if I need another strong interest) in editing.
In August, my divorce was final. I returned to using my maiden name and began to get on with the healing process in all seriousness. I also learned about a Dr. Michael Trese in Michigan who is a leading authority on my eye condition. He is only a half day's drive away from here. The catch is that Medicaid is a state-run program. One state's Medicaid is usually not good in another state. I began the long ordeal of trying to work out a way to be examined by Dr. Trese.
The exam finally took place in October. He confirmed the opinion of my previous doctor and began working through the redtape so that I could have my surgery right there in Detroit. He would be working on my retina, and another doctor would handle thecornea.
That surgery finally took place on December 18, just one week ago. This has probably been the highlight of my year for many reasons. I have managed to get to a point where I can accept total blindness if that is what happens, but so far it has not happened, and I would be lying if I didn't say that this is comforting. It is a special kind of Christmas gift to have my vision restored. The improvements are expected to continue over the next few months as healing progresses. It makes me wonder what gift I will be getting for my birthday in May.
I don't know what's in store for 1999. I hope at least that it will include the finishing of my BA. I'm going to give it a try. Nine years is much too long to spend getting one's undergraduate degree. But I am hesitant to think too far ahead or to make too many plans. Perhaps one of the best-learned lessons this year has been patience and waiting, going with the flow. I've never been very good at that. But I guess that is what time is good for.