FIRST MY GRANDMOTHER, NOW MY MOM, AND MAYBE ME: A GLAUCOMA WAKE-UP CALL
By Nneka Samuel
I had never heard of singer August Alsina until he revealed his harrowing battle to save his vision. The singer recently had surgery to preserve his eyesight from an undisclosed ocular disease, one that had already taken the vision in his left eye. Alsina’s candor about his medical emergency was a serious wake-up call for me.
Glaucoma, the incurable disease that can lead to blindness, runs in my family. My grandmother was diagnosed with it at the age of 31. In the beginning stages, she didn’t quite know what was happening to her vision. Neither did her incompetent doctors who negated her symptoms and told her that her eyes were simply “tired.” It wasn’t until my grandmother read an article in Reader’s Digest that she was able to self-diagnose her symptoms, which doctors would later corroborate.
My grandmother had a very aggressive and uncommon form of glaucoma. She tried to keep the tremendous pain she experienced due to increased pressure in her eyes from her children– my mother and aunt – but it proved too much. I’ve heard stories about that time in her life from my aunt especially, who often heard my grandmother crying in pain at night. My grandma’s ailment grew worse thanks in large part to poor treatment and a series of botched surgeries. She went through absolute hell and was blind for most, if not all, of the years I was blessed to have her in my life.
When my mother was diagnosed with glaucoma at 50, she knew all too well the harsh realities of life without the gift of sight. Though her glaucoma is the more common type, she was immediately fearful that she would suffer the same fate as my grandmother. Who could blame her? But when my mother broke the news to our family, my reaction wasn’t what she expected. I guess you could say that I was in denial. I didn’t mean to treat her diagnosis nonchalantly, but I was confident that time was on our side, and the medical advances in both knowledge and treatment would not fail my mother the way my grandmother was failed………
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Source: Madame Noire