The difference both my cornea transplants have made to me is incredible. I only really realised how lucky I was when I needed a second one. At that point I wouldn't have been able to see at all had I not been lucky enough to receive the first.
Today, thanks to the kindness of my donors, I can do the little things most of us take for granted and I can see my son Noah's face.
The doctors never diagnosed why I started to lose my sight. They initially suspected fuchs dystrophy and several other illnesses including keratoconus were considered but the tests were inconclusive.
Walking through a crowd, pouring a drink, reaching for a door handle, reading an on screen tv guide, meeting friends in a crowd or at night, to name a few, were all a struggle.
The vision in my left eye had turned into a grey blur. I could just about make out light and dark but there was no colour or definition.
I hadn't seen my left armpit for months, which made shaving them interesting!
I was scared to drive as I couldn't see out of one eye. The other dazzled me with lights turning into sparklers and halos. At work I had to be so close to the screen it was almost funny, and in the dark my eyes didn't adjust to the light. If you stood directly in front of me and the light was behind you I could not see your face. I didn't know who you were until you spoke. I could only see a silhouette.
After the first operation, instantly my vision changed. It became a transparent blur. I was able to see colour. After a few weeks of recovery my eye sight settled and the difference was amazing. The blurring was gone and I could see again.
I was terrified 10 years later when the vision in my right eye began to follow suit. I was pregnant and so worried that I might not be as lucky this time. I tried not to think about the consequences of losing the sight in that eye and even today I still try not to think about what will happen if the issues reoccur. Every day I appreciate what I have.
Today all the struggles are gone and I don't take being able to do them for granted. I know 100% that my life would be totally different if it wasn't for my donors. Without them I doubt I would have been able to continue in my employment so I may not have met my partner or even had our son. I feel forever grateful to my donor and their family. Words are not enough to express my gratitude.
Today I can do and see all these things and I am eternally grateful. I didn't really comprehend how incredibly important my sight was until it was gone.
I didn't know a cornea transplant was an option for me but I am so lucky to have been given the chance to restore my vision.
I think if you are willing to receive, you should tick that box. A cornea might not save a life in the same way an organ would but, it saved the life I live today.