Gail has a tumour surrounding her optic nerve; she has no sight at all in her right eye and limited sight in her left. The tumour is growing and so she’s facing surgery to remove it however, doctors have said this may mean she will lose her sight altogether.
Gail met our ELCO at the Queen’s Medical Centre during an Ophthalmology appointment; he referred her to our Peer Support Group.
‘When you’re faced with things like this you experience feelings that are totally alien to you. I am generally a positive person and I’m lucky to have a wonderful family who have been a great support, but the thought of losing my sight completely really affected me. I feel so tired all the time and found myself sometimes wondering if I could go on. I had all these feelings and thoughts and yet I also wanted to be strong for my family.
‘You have to reach out for support when you’re struggling and that’s what the Peer Support Group has helped me do. We’re all in the same boat, we’re not all the same, but we have all been through similar experiences. I am a confident person however I have struggled and coming to these sessions has helped me acknowledge my feelings without feeling like I have to hide them.
“It’s such a lovely group, everyone is different and therefore everyone has something to contribute. It opens a wider field for you realising there are others that you can learn from. It helps you gain some confidence and know you could support someone else. It has also helped me trust people, which is so important when you have no sight.
“I’ve gained positivity and confidence form the group and a healthy respect; knowing there are others going through difficulties too, it helps you stop becoming so self obsessive, which happens, when things are difficult.
“I can see obstacles along the way and I’m still scared of completely losing my independence, but I can’t change things, it’s not going away so I’ve got to deal with it. Coming to these sessions has helped me. As long as I know what’s happening and what choices I’ve got I feel more in control. I know I’ve got a lot to live for.