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THE MACULAR
DEGENERATION COMMUNITY

 

Sharon
photo

Name
Sharon Chism

Born
August 6, 1956

Home
Greeley, Colorado

Diagnosis
Originally Stargardt's, then changed to cone/rod dystrophy.

Eyes Affected
Both.

Eye Color
Blue/Green/Gray--depending on the day

Age at Diagnosis
15 years for the Stargardt's, and 30 for the cone/rod dystrophy.

Visual Acuity
20/600 - 20/800 without Echo drops; with drops 20/200-20/400 (near and distance vision)

Treatment
Vitamins, nutrition, Echo drops.

Prognosis or Current State of Vision
Unknown. I lost a lot of vision during the pregnancy of my youngest child. I am fairly stable now.

Family History
I have two other siblings with this disorder and one brother without. I have been told that I had a great uncle with "tunnel vision" (RP). Other than this account, there is no history of vision loss in my family. I was the last of the siblings to get the disorder and have lost the most vision, although my brother and sister report recent deterioration in their vision. I am also the oldest child in my family.

Impact on My Life
I have had a lot of time to get used to my condition. I donŐt drive or read regular print. I have found it uncomfortable having to anticipate signing forms, finding restrooms, locating offices or store entrances etc. The loss of eye contact and self reliance has been the most difficult.

Positive Effects
I have learned what I am made of! I have found a strength that I didnŐt know existed. I have been able to rely on God more completely, thus benefiting from the ensuing strength. I have found that the direct and honest approach with others and myself regarding my limitations has been the most successful! I see people from the inside not the outside. I have learned that my value and worth is not determined by how well my body functions!

Adaptations
I have a CCTV for filling out papers, checks, paying bills etc. I have a 20Ó monitor and software programs: Zoom Text, JAWS (screen reader), and Open Book Unbound) scanner based text to voice software). I listen to books on tape and have recently purchased a laptop to give me portability.

Working
I am a Homemaker. I taught developmentally disabled children after graduating from college with a BS in Special Education and Rehabilitation. I hope to finish my MA in counseling someday. I team teach a class for women on Biblical mentoring and spiritual formation. I work with women individually as well. I love to write and have recently begun the process of publishing my poetry.

More About Me
As mentioned above, I love to write (mostly poetry), sing, bicycle (I ride a tandem with my husband), hike, swim, run, travel, and best of all be my husbandŐs wife and my childrenŐs Mom. I believe strongly in God and consider it a privilege to serve my Lord Jesus Christ. My husbandŐs name is Wayne. He is an electrical engineer and is an incredible wood worker and an all around handyman. We have 2 children, Meaghan- born in 1981, who is married and soon to be graduating with a teaching degree. Her husband, Adam, is a Health Underwriter and a joy to have as a son-in-law. Our son Andrew, born in 1994, is still at home, attends school, plays the drums in the school band and enjoys photography and outdoor activities.