In 2008, my world was turned upside-down when an allergic reaction to a prescription medication sent me into the hospital for 32 days. A rare reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome causes the epidermis (top skin layers) to blister and slough off. I had a particularly bad reaction and 85% of my skin was affected, leaving small scars over my entire body. My skin grew back (miraculously!), but the damage to my eyes was severe. Scar tissue still covers my right eye, leaving me partially blind. I have seen the world’s foremost eye surgeon affiliated with aftercare for Stevens-Johnson patients, but we are still working toward full sight.
Unfortunately, my rheumatoid arthritis has caused a lot of inflammation. This means that every time we try a new eye surgery, inflammation flares up and scar tissue quickly grows back over my eyes. I was first diagnosed with juvenile RA at the age of two, but it went into remission. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence living a relatively normal life. When my RA flared in my early twenties, it was an anti-rheumatic prescription that caused the SJS.
My Sudden Sight Moment of clarity happened at the same time I started the Sudden Sight blog, in May 2011. The first surgical attempt to restore full sight to my right eye ultimately failed, but for a brief moment I could see clearly with both eyes. It was during this time that I realized I was still the same person, with the same face, the same dreams, and the same drive for life. I have struggled, and continue to struggle, with RA and eye problems. But I have found a new normal in life, and I have accepted this new normal as part of the same me.
In the subsequent years, I have used various practices of meditation, nutrition, fitness, and mental health therapies to feel whole again. It is my hope that the posts and stories I share may help others find their own “Sudden Sight” moments that lead them down a path to their own new normal and happiness in this chaotic world.