The Blind Side of Truth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 28, 2009
Cover your right eye for 15 minutes and try to do normal activities. Do you feel disabled? That’s how I’ve been seeing since I was seven.

I have glaucoma and JRA. Glaucoma is a disease that causes eye pressure to rise, which blocks the cornea, and soon our vision gets cloudy, a telltale sign of blindness. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, is an immune disease that causes white blood cells to attack themselves. It can affect different parts of the body. In my case, my knees sometimes swell up so much that it hurts to walk. I also get sick very easily since my white blood cells are weak.

Glaucoma has left me blind in my right eye, but my left is basically fine. I take eye drops many times each day to ward off the disease. I’ve had countless operations on my right eye.

JRA is like an unexpected visitor. Some days my knees are totally fine and flexible, and others, the pain can make me wish I didn’t have legs at all. I’ve never had to have surgery on my knees though, thankfully.

These diseases, without a doubt, made me grow up fast. I realized early on that the only person who can truly help me is me. I needed to believe in myself before all else. I’ve taken on so many responsibilities, it’s like I’m 15 going on 30.

In many ways I am affected not just physically but emotionally. But I don’t waste my time thinking about life without my ailments. My medicines and doctors are the pillars of my strength. I also like to keep in mind that there are many children who have these diseases but are too poor or unfortunate to get any help.

The struggles I experience have really opened my eyes to a lot of things. Since my diseases force me to take it easy, instead of moping I spend time observing things, watching people when they’re mad and how different that is from when they’re sad, or even happy. I’ve observed people change, basically mature into different people. It’s very interesting.

Despite my ailments, I’m pretty normal. I don’t walk like I’m half blind or get special treatment. I love indie music; I’m a vegetarian; I want to be a psychiatrist; I plan to move to London by the time I’m 25. I love painting. I like the feeling of things accomplished.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my challenges, it’s not to take life for granted. I eat healthy, take care of my body, and try to be all that I can be and be the person I want to be.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

trumphater666 said...
Mar. 21, 2016 at 10:16 am
I love you
Nelu96 said...
Aug. 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm
Your article is very inspiring. I admire your positivity and strength. Thanks for making me realize the value of my life.
J. Rae said...
Jul. 7, 2010 at 9:44 am
I have a friend who is totally blind in her left eye. It's like it's not even there. But it doesn't effect her at all  I spent a week with her and never realized it until she actually told me.
Allie97 said...
Jun. 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm
this is a great article...i hope that things get easier for you!!!
Victoria L. said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Very good article. I completely understand the JRA part. I have it as well, only it is all through me.
It's true you can't take life for granted.
Sarahh said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 3:16 pm
Thank you :)
sunshinee(: said...
Jan. 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm
Wow. You've really inspired me to take on what I need to do in life and well, be healthier. I'm just not sure where to start but I know I can do something. Thanks for what you've done. I really appreciate it
. said...
Jan. 14, 2010 at 11:38 am
Great article! I really liked the ending.
I'm so glad that you don't let these diseases run your life. When they knock you down, you just get right back out there and face the world. Your parents should be very proud of you.
FacebookRulez replied...
Jan. 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm
That's so sad I'm so sorry and wow you are very strong
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