My name is Elena and I was born in 1994. When I was six at a regular doctor’s visit, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in my right eye. Shortly after, my eye had to be removed and chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy followed. Since I was relatively old at the time, I remember it quite clearly, even though I wouldn’t say that I understood what was going on back then.
To see with one eye was very unusual for me in the beginning. To give an example, I was constantly aware of my nose in my visual field and also, I found it hard to estimate distances. However, to train this, I persistently practiced catching balls with my mum. Luckily, I adjusted quite fast to the new situation so I don’t have any problems with that any longer.
Of course I do need a little more practice in sports like badminton, but at last, I was able to exercise any sports that I wanted to so my eye never held me back from it. I believe this taught me that life isn’t always easy and that it’s important to keep trying when you want to reach your goals. That’s a very helpful attitude.
My glass eye didn‘t hold me back from anything. I was able to perform any hobbies, just like any other child can too. For example, I played soccer for many years, exercised yudo and played the piano.
Since I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when I was in first grade, I missed a lot of days in school but at the same time, my classmates were informed about what was going on straight away and why I couldn’t come to classes. When I was back in school, everyone was very interested. So I directly felt that a glass eye was something really special. I didn’t mind to answer any questions and further, I didn’t fear taking my eye out and presenting it to my fellow classmates. Of course that probably felt a little weird for the teacher, but my classmates thought of it as a real highlight.
However, when I was in puberty, I didn‘t enjoy the attention I got for my eye as much as I had done before – who would want to be different in puberty? But I think every teenager finds something bothersome on his or her body. In hindsight I feel like I, at least, had something concrete to be worried about and wasn’t bonkers about anything unreal.
By now I have graduated from high school and I am now studying medicine. I am living a normal student live, I like to go out and to travel. I am of the opinion that without my disease I‘d probably not have the same perseverance I have now and that it taught me to fully enjoy and appreciate live.
06.08.2015 | Leading Spirits