My name is Christie and this is my journey to overcome Keratoconus!
I had 20/20 vision my entire life, the only one in my family that didn't wear glasses and didn't regularly go to an eye doctor. That was my story before I went to renew my drivers license in 2011. 1 joke about a burned out light bulb and 3 different eye doctors later, I have Keratoconus.
The burned out light bulb joke came as I was doing the vision screening for the license renewal. The lady kept repeating, "let me know when you see the blinking light". The problem was I saw nothing but black on my left side in the machine! After about the 3rd time or her repeating, I jokingly told her I didn't see it and questioned if the bulb was possibly burnt out. Yep, it wasn't! HAHA
My true diagnosis came amongst the eye Doctor shuffle that ensued. I started out at a local eye Doctor who thoroughly examined my eyes but didn't recognize the disease. He said he wasn't sure what was wrong but he couldn't correct it with contacts or glasses. He referred me to a specialist in town for more information. The specialist is where I was actually diagnosed with Keratoconus. Like so many others suffering with the disease, I was told I would have to wait it out until I was a candidate for a corneal transplant. This meant letting things go to the point of near blindness. The specialist then directed me right back to the Doctor I had just come from (yes, the one that said he couldn't help me already). When I followed up with them and explained the diagnosis they had another specialist to offer so I called them. Coincidentally this Doctor was taking part in a FDA study involving a new treatment for Keratoconus. Before I was able to go to my consultation visit, we found out God had blessed us with a fourth baby. Being pregnant now made me ineligible to participate in the study though. The Doctor handling the case moved and stopped participating in the study by the time I gave birth, so we were back to waiting on a corneal transplant. I continued to research options and pray there was another way, as I didn't know how I would care for our kids if things got that bad. Then, God answered my prayers one night as my mom was watching the news. A local boy had Keratoconus and had traveled out to California for a revolutionary new treatment. I got the information from her and set about on my new journey. After researching this treatment option I decided this was what I wanted to do and we started fundraising, which brings us up to date.
We are currently figuring out how to pay for all the costs associated with treatment, organize child care for when we are gone, doing media to try and raise awareness, trying to get my husband's job enough notice so they will work with him while he travels with me for treatment (as he has no vacation days) and all while continuing on with the day to day operations around here. Please continue to visit my blog and/or Facebook page as I document this crazy journey and provide others with HOPE after diagnosis!!
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