by Peter Marus

Today I had a cool thing happen to me. I was on the train today looking out the window and notices how the light hit the trees, and how clear it all looked for me as the light shone off the leaves. It's one of the few times I really felt happy and fortunate to have had my eyes worked o and my cataracts taken out almost 20 years ago (which was another thing that really blew my mind-I'm 29 now, and I had my first surgery on my eyes at 11 years old).

First let me describe to you what the world looked like the first eleven years of my life. Think of having an intense fog situation that you have gone through, and that is what it was like in my eyes every moment. On top of that, that fog magnifies whatever light by the power of at least 10, so my eyes were really sensitive to any light. Even now, I prefer a darker room and cloudy overcast days. This really limited me as far what things I could do as a kid. I couldn't play baseball, or most sports that had an small ball or anything that vision was most paramount. this is actually how I ended up l playing soccer and falling in love with the sport-it was the only ball I could see with no real problem. I really couldn't do a lot of playing outside, due to the light sensitivity thing. As much as this was holding my self esteem and confidence at a crushing low, the glasses I had to wear to try to help out with my situation were an abomination. they were super thick, almost Paterno thick, and the magnification they caused didn't help with the light thing. Oh yes, ladies I was a real stud as a kid this side of Mr. Magoo.

Another thing this led to is the automatic assumption that I needed help with anything I wanted to do. This is one of the things I found extremely frustrating, treating me like I was retarded rather letting me fall on my face. One of my earliest memories of school was me losing my cool with a teacher on grade school when she came and gave me that “extra attention” the special kids need from a teacher, further pointing the attention and spotlight on me . I was trying to work on some math excursuses, and I was taking my time a little more, but the teacher thought I was struggling and came to see if I needed help because she thought I couldn't see the printing well. I kept plugging along doing m thing, but she would not let me do it myself. When she did butt in, I really lost it and started screaming to leave me alone and let me do this myself . This continued all the way through the early grades, and not just in school but in life as well. My parents were always trying to help me because they didn't want me to fail, but I wanted to do it myself.

It was embarrassing, as much as frustrating to me for years. I figure this is where my stubbornness to ask for any help from anyone. See, at this point, I'm at the point where I feel as if any success I have, as well as if my life goes nowhere and I end up homeless, jobless, and broke, it's because of my creation. That is why I went to the school I chose and after school why was out of work for so long, I just wanted to choose my destiny, and not have help and feel as if I couldn't do it myself.

But by the grace of God or whatever, my parent's health insurance was able to help send me to a specialist and I got my eyes fixed. It sucked getting the lens implants (this is before laser surgery became the de facto procedure-I had to do the laser after these surgeries as well but to clean up after the initial surgeries), especially the first eye I had done was when this surgery was still relatively new to the US , but I remember when the bandage was removed on my eye the first time and seeing the light the Doctor was shining in my eye and having me move my eye. It was so amazing to see with such clarity for the first time. Over time I got the other eye done and I can now see almost perfect-still need glasses for driving, but I could go without them otherwise. I guess I took for granted the gift I received, but today it hit me how lucky I was that my parents and medical technology were able to give me the gift of sight, and i can't thank both enough for it.