I was letting myself go blind

WOMAN'S OWN|May 25, 2020

I was letting myself go blind
Eleanor Caterer, 32, was in denial about the effect her weight was having on her health
FRANCES LEATE

Yawning, I rubbed my eyes and tried to make out the outline of my chest of drawers opposite my bed, only, all I could see was a blur of colours and shapes as I clumsily reached for my glasses.

Even after I’d put them on, I still found myself squinting into the distance, unable to make out my bedroom furniture. It was unsettling and frightening, but something I’d been experiencing every morning for months and my eyesight would usually clear after a few minutes.

It was June 2016 and as well as blurred eyesight and double vision, I’d been suffering from painful, intense headaches, too. I’d put it all down to stress from being a single mum to my son Dylan, then seven, but now I was starting to wonder if there was something really wrong.

‘Mummy needs to call the doctor,’ I told Dylan as he bounded into my room and jumped on my bed and my eyesight finally started to become clear.

A few hours later, I dropped him off with my mum, Ann, then 65, and went to see my doctor, but after examining my eyes he sent me straight up to Rotherham Hospital in an ambulance, where I had an MRI and CT scan.

‘I was mortified, unable to say a thing’

By now, my whole body ached and I felt dizzy, and I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that there was something really wrong. After an agonising wait, a brain specialist came to see me.

‘We believe you have a condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH),’ he said, explaining how the condition meant I had a build-up of fluid in my head, behind my eyes, putting a dangerous amount of pressure on my brain.

If left untreated, it could eventually lead to blindness and it was incredibly rare, too, with just one in 100,000 people suffering from it in the UK.

‘Why me?’ I choked, confused and shocked, imagining life as a mum to Dylan without my sight. Unable to drive, to work, or care for my son, it was depressing and scary.

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May 25, 2020