18.76 - I lost my sight 15 months ago and
23.12 - lost my right eye 11 years ago. Before that, when I was two years old I caught
28.97 - the flu virus. This attacked my eyes and left me with different complications. The
36.53 - closest they could get to it at the time was Chronic Uveitis. This
41.98 - caused problems with my cornea and lens and I had cataract, so I've had several
48.289 - Corneal Grafts lens transplants and cataract removal
53.39 - operations. I think I've had about six in total throughout my life.
58.2 - With my sight journey, it's been a long and an emotional one. My family, I have a very big family and
70.1 - they've been there through all of it. I know they feel obligated to help, well not
75.29 - obligated, they want to help but they feel like, you know, they want to so they have
81.29 - to. And I do feel guilty for that a lot, because they all have their own lives to
87.77 - live as well and I want to live my own life. It's been hard on me and my family and
93.74 - sometimes don't think I remember that enough.
107.18 - Having a child as a blind or visually impaired mum, because I was visually
116 - impaired at the time I had Dylan. My sons nine and two weeks. When I had
121.64 - Dylan, it was a year after I lost my sight in the right eye - when I lost my eye.
128.94 - And I kind of rushed into the decision to have children because of the
133.94 - fear of losing my sight, because I didn't want to be a blind mum. I don't
140.209 - regret it now it's all because my boy is amazing. I wouldn't change him for the world.
145.36 - But it was a kind of decision that was rushed into a my part through fear. But there was
153.29 - no need to fear anything because he was amazing and I managed. And I think I've
158.989 - done a great job, I hope I've done a great job and he's grown up with my sight condition.
165.739 - So he is the most amazing little boy and is so aware of everything that I go
172.579 - through. He's just there for me. I remember when I had sight and we
177.23 - were crossing the road once, I think he was about four years old, and he stopped
183.92 - me as we went across the road. And he went, "No Mummy wait. I've got to make sure
187.609 - we can cross the road safe, I'm looking after you". And I think my heart melted in
192.98 - that moment, because I didn't know whether to be proud of him, because, well
198.829 - I was proud of him for being so caring and loving for me. But then I was also
203.329 - feeling guilty, because I thought it should be me looking after you,
207.26 - not you looking after me. So there are lots of challenges being a mum. There's
214.519 - a lot of guilt to face and bear I suppose, being a blind or visually impaired mum.
222.51 - I don't feel guilty all the time just sometimes I feel like he should be
229.32 - being a little boy and running around and not looking after his old mum.
233.48 - I say to him "Dylan!", when he's sat watching the cartoons and I'll
237.3 - say "Dylan, come here a minute". Dylan - "What do you want?" "Come here a minute, I need you to help me."
241.89 - And I'll say, "is this chicken or is this beef?" And he'll say, mum that's chicken!
249.45 - He's just so nice. He just does it and I think sometimes he gets a
254.91 - bit fed off of me asking him, but he just does it and he's dead cute and he helps me.
260.82 - And he understands and he's not horrible about it at all.
265.71 - And I think that's cause he's grown up with my journey as well. He was obviously
269.789 - born into it and he's going with it, so he's adapted. When I lost my sight
275.07 - completely, he was the only one that treated me like I was still me.
281.21 - Everybody else around me was panicking. "Oh God, will she be O.K? Will she cope?"
288.48 - "What we gonna do? We're gonna have to look after everything for her."
291.66 - Dylan was just there going, "what's wrong with you all? it's my mum". He just treated me like
298.289 - I was just still me and I think I was so thankful for that. I was so happy that he
307.34 - still saw me for me and that gave me the strength to get through the last 16
314.58 - months and I think, I know I have my family and I have my friends around me. But
323.49 - having my little boy has been my rock. And it makes me feel so amazing and wonderful to
331.47 - know that I have him in my life. No matter what. And he's there for me, no matter what.
337.379 - It doesn't matter if I'm blind, if I'm visually impaired, if I walk into things.
343.68 - Which i do all time. I tidy his toys away and I don't know where I've put them.
350.189 - And I cant find things for him. He just doesn't care. He just sees me, as me. I love that so much about him.
358.34 - He's so strong and I take his strength as well.
372.24 - When I had my cafe business, a lot of customers that came into the shop,
377.26 - once they realised that I had an artificial eye and was visually impaired,
381.97 - they were all quite, "wow that's amazing, I can't believe you can run this business
387.02 - on your own like that". Like what? Like, just because I'm sight impaired doesn't
393.77 - mean that I'm not business minded or intelligent. After losing my
398.87 - sight completely, the walk to school, doing my rehab training, it was scary. It was. It
405.53 - was going out into the world not seeing. Hearing, feeling, smelling all these
413.18 - different things. And my sons school is not far from my house. I'd probably say a
417.8 - five minute walk, which was really handy. But it was learning it all again.
424.5 - And when I was doing the trip to school with my rehab officer, I'd have
430.7 - the parents stopping me and going; "oh my God, wow, I can't believe you're actually
435.26 - here, I can't believe we're actually cometo school". Why wouldn't I go to school?
439.85 - Why would I not get back out there and I'm mum still, I want to take my son to
444.71 - school. So no matter how hard that is, I will get out there and learn and push
451.82 - myself. It's just people's initial reaction I think to things. And when I go into the
457.42 - bar, at Christmas we went to a Christmas party with friends, and the were like
463.28 - "Oh my God, you're amazing that you've come, it's so good that you here, out in town in the night."
468.72 - Oh my God, like, it's just my eyes that have gone. I've not
473.33 - lost my personality. I've not lost my ability to dance. I've not lost my
478.34 - ability to get up and make a fool of myself after a few glasses of wine.
482.93 - Just because you're sights gone, doesn't mean that you change. You just have to, I think
487.88 - remember that and accept that as well and you can just still carry on having fun.
503.2 - Technology. When I lost my sight. So during my sight journey, I used
509.48 - magnification, things like that. So, Apple has been my best friend for a long time. They
515.3 - use magnification on Apple. And then from going from that to having to use
520.97 - voiceover on Apple was a very hard lesson to learn. In the initial couple of
527.9 - months, well sometimes still now, I get really frustrated with it.
532.1 - And I scream at the phone, you're not doing what I'm telling you to do. Once I taught
536.51 - myself and I'm still teaching myself how to use the technology, you know, it's
544.16 - been so beneficial. It's life-changing.
546.95 - They're not without the challenges, and you just have to keep pushing yourself
553.28 - through it. Because at the end of it, you will get such the benefit from that, if
558.62 - you just persevere with technology.
571.2 - I never really wanted to accept that I was a visually impaired
577.07 - woman in a sighted world. I fought against it. I wanted to have normal
584.82 - friends and I'd do things with them. Go to the cinema and music festivals, go to
594.329 - gigs, go to the pub. Do things with friends and I always thought that if I admit
600.959 - that I was visually impaired, I won't be able to do these things.
607.49 - Funnily enough, I still do them. I've always done them and losing my sight
613.8 - hasn't changed that at all. We went to Kendal Calling this summer, a Festival
620.31 - in Cumbria. Yeah it was hard, it was hard experience,
623.82 - but the positive from it is that, I know no I can't go into a tent, so what do we do to
630.57 - get around that? We get rid of the tent and we buy a camper van! I still go to the cinema, I
637.62 - actually enjoy the cinema more as a blind person, because of the audio
642.51 - description. We went to see Avengers: End Game, we're
646.529 - big Marvel fans in this house. And the audio description on it was so amazing, It
653.1 - actually felt like you were in the film and part of the movie. As a blind person it's
658.94 - like experiencing all these things that I've always done, but in a different way.
663.96 - It's like experience and everything again in a new way, it's fun and exciting.
676.28 - Acceptance I believe and I've found myself, on my journey, has been the key to being
684.24 - able to move forward in my life. And get so much more from my situation now.
693.16 - I think, I know it's a really hard thing to do, because there are so many fears and
702.14 - demons within sight loss and it's scary. But accepting it it is such a value and I
712.68 - felt it's so much and it really has helped me move forward with everything.
739.819 - Our videos are helping people across the world. If you found them useful please
744.54 - donate on our website, so we can keep making more videos like this in the
748.019 - future. Henshaws, supporting people with sight loss and a range of other
752.49 - disabilities to go beyond expectations.