You Don’t Have to See to Feel

Two women were waiting in the airport for the same plane. Each looked over to see they both had yellow canes marked “Visually Impaired”. Jane moved over to Sara and noted they both must belong to the Yellow Cane Society. This is a club of visually impaired people from all over the world that chat on line about every issue you could think of. Jane laughed and asked Sara what vision problem she had. Sara noted Retinitis Pigmentosa or better known as RP. Jane understood and they shared stories about living with RP.

Sara laughed about sitting for her grandson and to avoid falling over him put bells on his shoes. Jane laughed about one day she was in a restaurant with soft lighting. Jane went to the bathroom and came back to sit on top of a friend. Both women learned that to make it through the day-to-day challenges, it was important to laugh at the mishaps. The plane arrived and they got up to board the plane sharing telephone numbers and email addresses. Little did they know they had more in common than living with RP.

Sara’s Story

Sara was on the way to visit her mother in San Francisco. Sara carried the RP gene to only two out of three daughters. One daughter was a senior in high school and developed RP with a talent for the piano. Another daughter was still in middle school and emotionally struggling to accept her limitations. The third is married with three children. Sara developed RP at 20 years old and married a very understanding man. Her grandchild is a blessing to her and despite her limitations watches the grandson often.

Sara understands the fears her young daughter is going through. It took all the courage Sara could muster to face her own limitations, work past the fears and follow a dream to become a Therapist for the physically challenged. With the support of her husband and children, Sara finished college to become the Therapist she dreamed of. She converted one room of the house into a warm, comfortable environment for her patients. Sara can now longer drive and this was a perfect solution.

Jane’s Story

Jane was attending a conference for Massage Therapist in San Diego. She was born with RP and never knew what the trees look like or how lovely a blue sky is at sunrise. School was a difficult time because other kids would tease her and she would come home crying.

Dating was also difficult because men would not marry her for fear that their children would also live with RP. Alone, Jane decided to forego college to attend a school for massage therapists. The feeling of muscles, smooth skin after applying scented oil and relieving the tensions in her patients was her expertise. At age 54 Jane was still able to drive and be a caregiver to her aging mother. Shopping at the store was becoming more difficult. The “flying” yellow cones were waiting for her around every corner. One day Jane may hit them with the basket. For peace of mind, Jane took out Long Term Care Insurance so she would be able to have outside help. There was no family to be her caregivers.

Again, both women were coming home on the same flight. Sara felt a bond between them. On the flight Sara confided her personal story and that she provided therapy for the inner soul. Jane realized she offered massages as a type of therapy for the outer soul.

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