Everyone relies on their sight. I could cope with losing my sense of smell, taste, even my hearing – but eyesight is everything. I was devastated when I was diagnosed with macular disease. My mother has age-related macular degeneration so I have the seen the deterioration in her over the last 20 years – I have seen her life change dramatically and how she has suffered. My two hobbies are watching football and buying and selling antiques. I was so worried about losing my enjoyment of those things, as I’ve seen how much Mum has lost.
And whilst I’m not the kind of person who buries their head in the sand, I’ve mostly kept my diagnosis to myself. I’ve not told my kids or Mum. I don’t want to worry my children because they are both healthy and fit – they don’t need this hanging over them, the thought that they might also get macular disease one day. And my mum is 86 – I don’t want to make her feel like it’s all her fault.
When I was diagnosed, I felt very angry. The psychological impact is huge. I am a cancer survivor – I’ve beaten that. And then this came along. Counselling was really important for me; the Macular Society’s counselling service is superb – they listen and they can empathise. I needed that.
I’m still driving, I can still do everything – it’s what could happen in the future, not just to me but also to my kids, and my grandchildren, that I’m afraid of. But I’m a positive person overall. I’m going to carry on as normally as I can. I have to.
The one thing I feel very strongly about is that research can lead to more effective treatments or a cure. Research is so important. Eventually they will find something that works. But much more funding is needed.
Will you fund the research to find a cure for macular disease, and support people like Nick, with a gift in your Will?