A Rose Blooms in Kenya
The following story was written by Rose, a corneal transplant recipient in Kenya.
It all started with soreness then inflammation in my eye. I bought eye drops with steroids at a drug store, which aggravated the situation. I went to an ophthalmologist who found that my eye was developing an ulcer. This caused a great deal of pain, and after a while my vision was gone. The medics assured me it would get better, but my eye was oozing blood, pus and the pain both physically and emotionally was unbearable. I lost my beauty, my vision. My self-confidence was gone.
I'm a teacher by profession. I depend on reading each and every day. I have to mark books and write on the chalk board. My pupils use pencils in writing, which is difficult to see. When this happened I was also a student myself finishing up my undergraduate degree. I was unable read as much as I needed because of the pain and the straining.
I am a single mother of one from a single parent family as well. I am the first born and therefore I hold the financial responsibility for my family. I have a brother in school and a mother who requires regular medical attention. During this time our finances went down completely and we barely managed.
After six months of pain and waiting, it was time for the surgery. I was beyond excited. After the bandage was removed, I cried tears of joy because finally I could see again and was pain free. Cornea donation has indeed saved my life in so many ways—emotionally, socially and physically. I had heard that people donate body parts but I never once imagined that I would be a beneficiary.
The wife of my cornea donor, wrote to me a year after the death of her husband. She was still mourning and I could feel the pain in her words. I reached out to her from the deepest part of my heart with a lot of thanksgiving. I wanted to her to know that I was grateful and honored that she thought of helping a total stranger.
SightLife arranged a meeting between the two of us using Skype. To say I was excited would be an understatement! She showed me her husband’s pictures and I couldn't believe I was looking at the man who lives on in me. All I could say was thank you. I know they both are happy because he can see that he brought the smile back to my face.
Losing a loved one is not easy. It's not anything one would wish for, but it's the one way that all must travel. When you donate any part of that person, it means he is still alive in the recipient. I would like to thank all the brave donors and families for their kindness. These decisions transform the lives of so many other people. A donation means you have saved someone's life, like mine was saved. I had lost not just my eye, but the entire ME. A cornea transplant changed everything in my life and now I can do all the things I wanted to do.