It all began when I moved to Manchester with my husband Len. I had gotten a job on the ICU at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where I worked for a year before moving on to the High Dependency Unit.
It was around this same time that I decided to learn to drive; I booked a lesson but the instructor wouldn’t let me get behind the wheel until she was satisfied that my eyesight was up to standard. It wasn’t. I couldn’t see the number plate from the required distance.
From there I had my eyes tested at Boots, where I was referred to the Manchester eye hospital. I underwent a number of tests and after two years I was diagnosed with Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy, this is an inherited optic nerve disorder.
GARD (Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center) explains that Autosomal Dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) is an inherited optic nerve disorder characterized by degeneration of the optic nerves. Affected people usually develop moderate visual loss and color vision defects. The severity varies and visual acuity can range from normal to legal blindness. There is currently no way to prevent or cure ADOA.
By the time I was diagnosed I had moved onto the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
Six years after qualifying I remained a D grade while all my friends where going up to C and B and completing their IV course so they could administer medications intravenously. I knew, by this time, that I would never be able to pass the IV course because I couldn’t see the writing on the IV vials.
I am now on the partially sighted register and have been for 12 years. I have a retired Guide Dog called Ceris who I qualified with in August 2009. My current Guide Dog, Roxy, is a 2 year old golden retriever and is full of energy. I qualified with her in August 2017.
As for being an author and being partially sighted. Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy hasn’t really stopped me from writing books.
It has stopped me from reading some books with small print. I then require my strong magnifier; but it’s not a long term solution. Eventually it gives me a headache and I feel nauseous. I sometimes find this while I am researching the art of writing or marketing and promoting. If it’s a paperback book, the writing is sometimes far too small to read.
I normally find that when I wake up in the morning, I like to read for an hour, so I will use my Kindle because I can increase the font size. At the moment I have about 100 books waiting to be read. After reading I sit down and do my research on marketing and promoting often following the advice of an author.
In writing, I will handwrite my first and second draft of a book, then the third draft is where I add and take away things and develop the story by describing places and characters. I normally find that in a typical day I can write from 5000 to 10000 words.
I am one of those authors who feels the need to get their manuscripts edited lots of times. I can’t always tell if I’ve made a spelling mistake. When I read through what I’ve written, even though there may be a wavy line under a word, I can’t always see it.
When creating characters for my book, I try to make sure they don’t have abnormalities. I escape my problem through my characters. Also my two main characters in my two recent releases are based on my children and I am hoping and praying that they don’t become afflicted with ADOA, although there is a 50% chance if this occurring
To answer how has ADOA affected my writing career? Well, I have three books out there which I managed to self-publish. As long as I can increase the font size on the computer screen then I haven’t encountered any problems so far.
For anybody out there reading this post who thinks ‘I can’t be an author, my disability would make it impossible’. Please take stock, because I’m telling you, anything is possible. If you really want to achieve something then just go for it. I write for the love of it, and if I manage to earn money from my writing then that’s just a bonus.
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