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Mona's ForeseeHome Story

December 2022

My ForeseeHome Story

I had a guardian angel named ForeseeHome AMD Monitoring Program. She came to my home, accomplished her mission, and then left. I think of her often and recall how she protected my one good eye, my right eye. If only she had come sooner perhaps my loss of vision might not have occurred in my left eye. But the damage came fast…

My AMD story began with my mom. It dominated our lives until her death at age 95. I had a short respite of less than two years and unfortunately, AMD returned to dominate my life. It is relentless and cruel as it dims your sight.

My mom left Pennsylvania to live in Florida after my dad died suddenly during their first year of retirement. She was fiercely independent, and my brother and I had no worries about her health or safety. Then after twenty years she commented that she was having trouble driving. Whether she was having regular eye exams I do not know because she managed her health herself and I always felt Mom was invincible. I was busy beginning to live my golden years also.

My brother, my only sibling, began to have discussions and felt it was time that she lived near one of us. I chose to have her come to Ohio even though the weather would have been better in North Carolina where he lived. We bought the perfect condo nearby that she would rent. We made her new home very welcoming. I even had a nice car that we intended to trade but kept. We were so happy to have her near us and expected her to adapt easily.

It did not take me long to realize that there were other problems and she had managed to live with them as best she could. She could not find her way around our small villages. She complained that she could not see the speedometer so I adjusted the steering wheel but that did not help. I finally understood that she COULD NOT SEE and what she meant was she could not see clearly in the car or anywhere. We attributed it to the perils of aging and were glad she was near and wondered how she had made it as long as she had.

I took her to see my ophthalmologist who directed us immediately to a retina specialist who delivered the news of her advanced AMD. He was very sympathetic, but helpless, since only laser was available for treatment at this time. So, for her remaining years until her death at age 95 we spent countless hours keeping frequent and lengthy appointments. We went with optimism but left discouraged and I could only watch helplessly as her vision deteriorated. There were other health complications as the months passed but it was always her lack of acceptable sight that distressed her the most. She begged Dr. Zagera for a solution to restore her vision, but he said, NOT YET SOPHIA. She beseeched our daughter who had just delivered a granddaughter that she preserve the placenta to harvest the stem cells. Dr. Zagera always paid close attention saying, NOT YET SOPHIA. Her other health issues eventually forced us to place her in a nursing home. She became the pride of the nursing home as she traveled the halls by walker, then wheelchair smiling at all the residents although she could not see their faces. She told me this over and over and I tried to understand. I did not know at that time of the possibility that AMD would be in my future as I said my final goodbye to her. I believed I had many more healthy eye years even though by this time I had been learning a lot about AMD.

My husband was semi-retired at this time, so we spent a few months in Florida. It was during one of those long visits that I noticed that I could not see the television clearly so I moved my chair closer and promised I would check it out when we got home. I was near-sighted so it was not unusual for my prescription to change. I finally saw the ophthalmologist who said hurry on to the retina specialist. I had AMD, ten years earlier than my mom got it and less than two years since we had been at these doctors’ offices. By that time treatments had improved. I was offered an injection, followed by several more, at monthly intervals. However, he concluded that too much scarring had occurred, and I would not recover my vision. I would face the future with permanent blurriness and sensitivity to light.

It was depressing but I adjusted and vowed to save my right eye. I continued to learn everything I could about age-related macular degeneration and treatments. I was now a regular at this huge retina office, so I learned all the staffs’ names. I took advantage of all clinical trials available. I had a gene test and found I was a carrier and my children had fifty percent chance now to follow my mom and I on this descent into darkness. I have three children, two girls and one boy, so I composed a letter urging them about diet, frequent exams and of course, their genetics.

Fortunately, the trial that I took advantage of was the ForeseeHome AMD monitoring program. My sweet little white device arrived, and I placed it on a shelf by my desk, connected it and began to trust that it was guarding my right eye. I felt so protected knowing that I was not alone in diagnosing activity and my daily test would be transmitted to the Notal Vision Monitoring Center for interpretation. It reassured me that I would not have to run into my retina specialist when I felt confused about what I was seeing. I tested my eye faithfully and had many months of peace of mind and decent vision with my one eye.

Then my miracle occurred that I have always attributed to the ForeseeHome AMD Monitoring Program. It was time for Florida, and I packed my device in our car that was transported there. I would be without it just a few days while we flew to Florida and our car would arrive. I set up my friend immediately, took my test and sent it off for review. Shortly afterwards I had a telephone call informing me that there was activity in my eye. I did not have a retina specialist in Florida but knowing my tendencies I had researched one that was nearby and had planned for a visit if necessary. He took me right away and thus began several years of monthly injections. Without this early detection my outcome may have been dismal.

Age-related macular degeneration stories do not have happy endings. I have been living with it now since April of 2012 and ten years before that with Mom. If nothing changes, I can live with my limitations but if it gets active again the future is unknown.

I am grateful for the added years of preserved sight and productivity that I enjoy because of ForeseeHome catching my wet AMD early.

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