Today’s post comes from a friend of mine that I made through my last blog, Live. Learn. Love. Eat. As a part of my continuing desire to have other people share their personal stories and inspiration in my space, she felt inspired to share a bit about her journey raising her son who was diagnosed with myopia and how despite what doctors told her, and using conventional treatments, she followed her intuition as a means to help her son heal and find strength in dealing with his condition.
This sharing of inspiration is a great reminder to us all to always follow our intuition, no matter what.
My struggle with my son’s myopia showed me a way to let my kids choose their path and I should be their direction and support. It helped me to understand to not force my kids to ‘fit into’ and impose my expectations on them.
It began after my son was diagnosed with high myopia at an age of 5. To most, myopia is not really a problem. The child wears glasses and he/she can see well. There are yearly check-ups, or you can take the child to a doctor when they complain of not seeing well. For me, my son’s diagnosis was a shock; news I found very hard to take.
During our annual visit to India in 2008, my sister suspected some problem with my son’s eyes. We took him to an eye doctor as soon as we came back to Singapore. He had degree of -5.00 (both eyes), lazy eye, and squint (for left eye). This meant that he could not see clearly for more than 3 meters. The doctor warned us to be very careful, as myopia progresses very fast till a child reaches the age of 15. With this degree and other issues it is likely to progress even faster. We were speechless.
We got him his first pair of glasses that same day. He was very happy. He said ‘I didn’t know that the bus is so big!’ This sentence still rings in my ears after 6 years.
I cried for the entire night blaming myself for all that had happened. How ignorant, how over-absorbed I was, that I could not notice that my son was not able to see properly. I went into a cycle of self-blame and depression for a few weeks. I did a lot of thinking about why this was happening and blamed my ‘misfortune.’ I had to come out of it and find a way. I was not going to give up in the test I was put through. I finally got the courage to accept it (although this was most difficult).
The doctor gave us an option of using Atropine drops to control the progress of myopia if he did not see improvement and like every medicine, it came with side effects. Using it meant he could not go in the sun (so no outdoors) because Atropine makes eyes hypersensitive to sunlight. My husband and I did not want to consider that as an option. We started searching for natural ways to control the progress. I did a lot of research on eye exercises and the science behind them.
We found how sun, doing far work (playing with the ball etc.) and a lot of outdoors help. These were all the things we did growing up. Outdoor activities are not encouraged where we live (things are getting better lately). I kept all his books (he loved to read and still does) and stowed his toys away. I made a very important decision to quit my career and to be a stay-at-home mother. From then on we (my son and daughter, then 2.5 years and I) started going outdoors for 4 hours every day. We enjoyed these trips and all the ‘picnics’ we had along our way. People called me insane for torturing and troubling them, but my intent was to stay away from anything that would strain my son’s eyes. I learnt various eye exercises and did with him.
The demands of school came. We decided to let him do what he could and teach him in a more hands-on, outdoor way. We dealt with a lot of criticism and judgements along our way. After 6 years, his outdoor playtime is still there and he is doing very well at his school too. We figured out smarter and shorter ways of studying. His myopia has not progressed (increase of -2) in all these years. He has inspired a few people along the way too! Even his doctor was surprised! Hopefully he will soon start looking after his eyes on his own J.
Looking back, this experience has helped me evolve into a better and stronger mother for my children and has reinforced my belief to follow my intuition.
If you have an inspiring story to share with the world, or anything that you feel would uplift and inspire others (such as a writing, a poem, a song, an art piece, a photograph, a quote, a favorite scripture, or anything else), please send your ideas and inspiration to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to have you share here in my space, so don’t be shy!