Jake Olson

Working on my book this morning, I was reminded of the story of Jake Olson, the then, 12 year old boy who had just had surgery to remove his cancerous right eye. Oddly enough, that was a story I needed to be reminded of right now.

I have been a bit down since my eye appointment last week. It was the 6 month check-up following my cataract surgeries last summer. If you recall, both I and my eye doctor were ecstatic with the results at that time. While not the 20/20, no glasses needed, results that many achieve, he was able to correct my vision to 20/30, with glasses, the best it has been in years. So, I was devastated, last week, to discover in that short time, my vision had deteriorated back to the point where I could read nothing on the chart with my right eye. He took photos of the macula in both eyes and turns out that both have deteriorated again – especially the right. He scheduled me for an appointment with the retina specialist so now I wait. According to my eye doctor, there is a strong chance that I have developed fluid in the right eye. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60 but there are two forms – dry and wet. While Dry Macular Degeneration can definitely affect the quality of your vision, it seldom causes central vision loss. I have been dealing with that form for years. Only about 10% of people with Dry MD advance to the wet form which is when abnormal blood vessels form and leak blood and fluids into the retina. Those abnormal blood vessels eventually form a scar which results in permanent loss of central vision. There are treatment options to slow the progression but no cure. The idea of that possibility has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past week.

So this morning, as I recounted the Jake Olson story in my book, I was reminded of the quote “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”  As I mentioned earlier, Jake Olson was 12 years old in December of 2009 when he had surgery to remove his cancerous right eye. What I didn’t say was that he had lost his left eye to cancer when just an infant. So, at the age of 12, he was completely blind.  Jake wrote a book at the age of 8 to help other children battling cancer. He has met many, many challenges head on and has been featured on countless network news broadcasts and in many documentaries. jake olsonNow 18 years old, he is a motivational speaker, plays on his high school football team, enjoys skiing, surfing and playing guitar and has a personal goal of becoming the first blind golfer to join the PGA. WOW!

I needed that.



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