Mount Keratoconus Awaits, Pack a Lunch!
I'm still breathing. Chances are so are you. Before anything I'm a realist. I can tell you when my diagnosis was but truth is it doesn't really matter. Keratoconus is here to stay. My left eye is practically useless. My right eye as of January 2017 has decent vision with symptoms present.
I was an EMT well on my way to becoming a paramedic. I was filled with so much confidence and motivation on what I was doing in my life. I had my sights set on possibly becoming a surgeon. I knew it would be a mountain to climb but truth is if you really want something you'll find a way to get it. I took a long time to think about it and I had the discipline that's required and I had a very good understanding of how things worked in this world. I mean unfortunately natural disasters happen, people get injured, people need help. It most cases it's a life or death situation. Now here's where a trauma surgeon can come and possibly save a life. The best part is when that patient is saved and has a second opportunity in life.
But what about the symptoms Keratoconus causes. Surely you need to have decent vision to be a surgeon. Yes its true, its also true that I will not be able to be a trauma surgeon because of Keratoconus. Nor will I be able to continue the career path I wanted to pursue. Especially because Keratoconus progresses overtime. It absolutely broke me. It was such a crisis in my life that I almost gave up. But with the help of my family I was able to overcome it. It was all taken from me.
The sense of confidence, security, everything I had ever accomplished it was taken from my bare hands. I know it's still possible to get a medical degree without being able to see but I have to first adjust to being visually impaired, find a new source of income and sort things out with the responsibilities I have with myself and my family. I don't come from a wealthy family. My parents started out with practically nothing but the clothes on their backs. We all work paycheck to paycheck. The size of that mountain is astronomical but still within reach. The only way I can see myself making that climb is if I didn't have any responsibilities and was financially capable of doing so.
I fell into a deep grim depression completely devastated. I knew my initial goals weren't realistic anymore. Which I came to accept but I still couldn't find peace. Long sessions of self reflect with music that I like to listen to when I'm down in the dumps and I found a reason to keep fighting.
So what now? Well… time to dive into new chapters. Focus on what the disability does not affect. Invest into what you are able to do without sight. You are not alone, please understand that. I will be getting CXL done soon. To those struggling with any visual impairment, stay strong. You will find peace after you realize your potential and that you are capable of doing so much in this world.
Luis Gonzalez (Twitter: @LGNY_)