The Assistance Dog Blog carnival topic is Decisions.
My decision to have a guide dog has been one of the most joyful and helpful aspects of my blindness journey for me and my family. For the past 14 years, because of this decision, my mobility and independence and joy have been enhanced!
Retinitis Pigmentosa throws one into a journey of Decisions. I've tried to make Decisions that will help mine and my family's journey in a positive way.
I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 18 and shortly after, my parents made the decision to go to UCLA to have the diagnosis confirmed. I was seriously dating Steve at the time, my husband of 26 1/2 years, and so my parents made the decision to invite him to join us on this journey. (Doesn't that sound like a fun date!) In the gift shop there was a plaque with the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot Change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the Difference. I made the decision to try to incorporate this saying into my life. The diagnosis didn't phase me too much at that time. I was falling fast in love, however, I did recognize that the decision to marry Steve was an important one. He has supported me every step of the way and in every decision I have had to make. Our kids arrived, one year (Natalie) and three years (Kendall) after we were married; and such a beautiful blessing and decision. The decision to be home during their early years and then work part-time until they graduated brings memories that I am so grateful. Our decision to find a home that was near a bus stop, their schools, grocery store and so much more was a lifesaving decision. As a busy wife and mom, it allowed our family to carry on with much more freedom and independence. My daughter told her current employer, a transit system in Cali, that she gained great experience on the public transportation system as a child! The decision to return to school and pursue a master's degree in counseling was also a very positive one in my life. The decision to have a guide dog was life changing. It has allowed me independence for 14 years, thus far. The decision to start my own business has also been a very positive decision.
A decision I chose to make was to Surrender to Retinitis Pigmentosa. No, not give up. Rather, to let go and allow myself to learn the lessons that were placed before me. I made the decision that Retinitis Pigmentosa would not define me. Sometimes, I had to make a decision literally by being banged in the head (for example, I decided to start using a cane when I walked into a stop sign!) I believe that Retinitis Pigmentosa continues to teach me lessons each day. I don't believe blindness is an easy teacher. Some days there are aspects that are very hard. However, many days, I don't give it much thought. It simply is my life and a small aspect of who I am. I enjoy processing and blogging about my journey with a guide dog and blindness. Some days there are grief and I make the decision to listen to my heart in a caring way to support those feelings of loss that emerge. In life, days go by without it being a topic of conversation.
I make a conscious decision each day to find joy and appreciation in that day and am grateful that a very sweet, caring five-year old lab is by my side in this journey.