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I’m not sad. I am free. #WorldKeratoconusDay

Eleven years now, I remember every detail of my diagnosis. Life came at me quickly, with no time to prepare for next. I’m going to write, to date, one of the hardest posts of my life. I’m not depressed or sad. However, this blog has taken me to a space of vulnerability I never sought to achieve. I sing songs of praise and worship and say the prayer, “My life is not my own”, so I am being obedient.

In spring 2012, my mom loaded me up and took me to an ophthalmologist after months of me jokingly saying, “You’ll I really can’t see.” My sister and I attended the same college. She witnessed my transition from being able to identify our friends to saying “Tay, who just spoke to me?”. She would laugh so sweetly and tell me who it was. I never pondered how my sister felt to watch her baby sister decline so quickly. I’m going to pause here and say thank you, Tay Tay.

We got to the ophthalmologist and without question, she knew my condition. I watched as a cloud of worry drenched her face. She walked out and spoke with her colleague. When she returned, she began to ask filler questions, such as, “How long has she been in glasses?”. She sighed and said, “Briana, you have keratoconus”. She explained Keratoconus to me and told me how we were going to move forward with treatment. The doctor said a lot, things became a blur and for years I wouldn’t read about my condition, I just went to the doctor as scheduled.

My mom, however, fighting tears asked the questions I wasn’t mature enough to utter. I want to pause and tell my mom, thank you.

I was placed in hard lenses— I have glass contacts. We went from purchasing cheap Acuvue’s to paying $1700 out of pocket for lenses. At that time, research and treatments were developing, so insurance did not cover the expenses. I’ll pause here and tell my father, thank you, I remember vividly at my first contact fitting, he wrote a check and said, “We just gotta do what we gotta do.”

Over the years, I grew a love/hate relationship with my disease. I wasn’t normal. I couldn’t drive, I lost contacts, and I’ve broken contacts, none of which attributed to carelessness, but the contacts were so small they would randomly pop out of my eyes. Imagine being in the club and your friends are on the floor looking for a contact the size of a chickpea. HILARIOUS.

“What was meant for evil, God will surely turn it around for good.” My disease has blessed me, in many ways. I was able to gain employment, because of my condition. My dependence on God grew by leaps and bounds. I learned the essence of hard work and discipline. The day I received my license, I cried, because I was told I wasn’t going to be able to drive. Everything that was deemed a “problem”, I overcame it. I’ve had to change doctors multiple times. Recently, I had to book a flight for an appointment.

I’m writing this blog for multiple reasons, I want to be free. Secondly, I never had the opportunity to thank my support system. I want to encourage those who struggling with anything, that you still have value. Your purpose daily is to keep going and allow God to be God. If he said your sickness or disease is not unto death, believe him.

I’m not sad. I am free.

If you want to know more about the disease, copy and paste the link below in your browser.

Happy World Keratoconus Day!

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Kendra Richardson
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