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MARILYN JONES | Christmas Gift of Sight

August 25, 2014

Imagine the following scene. One night you crawl into bed, tired, but satisfied after a full day. All is well in your world. The next morning you wake up and life has changed drastically – you have double vision and are unable to focus. Simple tasks become incredibly difficult or impossible. That is what happened to Marilyn Jones, the first recipient of the Northern Plains Eye Foundation’s Christmas Gift of Sight award.

Marilyn was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease resulting in an overactive thyroid. The disease causes a wide range of symptoms. For Marilyn, the disease most significantly impacted her sight, causing double vision in her left eye and loss of her peripheral vision, resulting in headaches and nausea – a visual vertigo experience. And, it caused her left eye to “bug out.”

After giving up her job, setting aside her cabinet making skills, and exhausting her savings and retirement account to make ends meet, she struggled to pay for the numerous procedures needed – four surgeries total. During her first surgery, the doctor had to break the bones around her left eye in order to put the eye back into its socket, as her muscles could no longer hold it in. Three additional surgeries repositioned muscles in both her right and left eyes.

Today, Marilyn still has a few sight limitations, but one of the best outcomes of her Christmas Gift of Sight surgery is being able to read again. Though she has to place what she is reading in the right position, Marilyn is thankful for the improvement. She is also grateful for friends who help her, and she has learned it is okay to ask for help. Marilyn speaks of being a survivor, whose limitations pushed her to overcome obstacles and rise to challenges. She also believes that going through this journey has made her a better person and more compassionate for other disabled people.

She is grateful to Northern Plains Eye Foundation for making her Gift of Sight possible.

Last Modified: 08/31/2015 11:22:29 am MDT


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