“The deterioration of vision in diabetes occurs so smoothly, so slowly ... You notice something strange, but you get used to it. So it happened to me. I noticed changes in my vision, but didn't pay attention. I thought that it was necessary, or it happens that this is a common thing. Six years ago I moved from Bashkiria to Bolivia: firstly I traveled, and then I began to teach English at school. Where should you go in a foreign country? And so, I put it off and got used to it. When you get used to the problem, it does not seem serious. Out of everyday consciousness. I was frightened only when black spots appeared before my eyes.
“They just said: it is too late”
“It was like a big spider appeared on my forehead and hovered, making it difficult to see. Terrified, I try to shake it off... and I realize it's something else. I covered my right eye with my hand and realized that I could hardly see with my left. But even then, I did not go to the doctor. But it was a hemorrhage. I kept hoping it would work.
A year long journey
“Even from Bolivia, on the advice of my sister, I contacted the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, sent the results of the examinations and received an answer: it is necessary to perform the operation as soon as possible, but it is impossible to promise an improvement in vision, the process is so pronounced. I had to admit that I live on the other side of the world. And the restrictions associated with Covid-19 pushed me even further. The pandemic went on and on.
When it became possible to fly out, I began to get ready ... and got ready for two months. And when I flew home and began to take the necessary tests and undergo examinations, I found out that I was pregnant. The operation cannot be done. I had to wait a year. When my daughter was four months old, I went to Moscow, leaving her with my mother. I had to get to Ufa first. This is 4,000 kilometers. The trip turned out great overall. It took a long time, but it's not my fault. Were these compelling life circumstances? Is it the truth?”
Help your doctor: do not waste time
“If I could advise myself now, turning back in time, I would know what to say. I would have screamed: urgently, immediately, drop everything and run to the doctors! For people with diabetes, doctors say that it has a bad effect on blood vessels, on vision, and you need to check it regularly. I can't understand why we don't hear it. We do not realize. I didn't go for examinations at all.
"That won't happen to me." Almost everyone thinks so. And it happens. It is with you."
“... Everything was fast. I flew to Moscow. early in the morning, from the airport, I went straight to the hospital, went through registration in the emergency room and did not have time to go into the ward, when they took care of me: they dripped drops, performed some procedures, changed clothes, and took me to the operating room. The operation, which was performed by the surgeon Tatyana Andreevna Avanesova, lasted, I think, an hour and a half. And that was yesterday!
And tomorrow I will be discharged. Now the eye should recover, the retina, as I understand it, "stick". You will need to come back for a checkup. And then, as Tatyana Andreevna says.
In my soul, as soon as I was in this hospital, peace appeared. All the employees here are very calm and friendly people. This has a profound effect on patients. I judge by myself."
Who needs you more than yourself?
Finally, I will say the most important thing is to find who needs you. The one who needs you more than yourself?
Only thanks to my girl, my daughter Catherine, I realized the need to take care of my health and vision. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, everything in my head immediately fell into its place. I remember everything, I am strictly disciplined, I monitor the level of sugar, nutrition. Now I rush to her. It's two hours by plane to Ufa, but for now I can't fly because of my operated eye. The train runs 23 hours.
And then home again...
I hope I’ll live like I used to. I will raise my girl, who teaches English, teach kids in my junior classes. English I know well, but Spanish - superficially. At home we speak English. He is also a teacher, native to Cameroon. We met at work. He’s waiting for us.
Bolivia is such a beautiful, warm country...
I want to be happy. I will check my eyesight as often as necessary”.
Interviewed by: Nina Chugunova
Photo: Eugene Stecko