As I write this, I am in Berlin, Germany at the end of a two-week experimental treatment program to help restore my full eyesight.
I have done my share of traveling and I consider myself to be global in my thinking. But I struggled with the decision to seek treatment outside of the US. Germany in particular was high on my list of places to never visit after my experience during an eight-hour layover there years ago on my way to Turkey. It left a lasting impression that, for me, aligned with the history of the place.
Funny how time changes most things, even my view of Germany. Shortly after my diagnosis of Low Vision, my family had learned of the Fedorov Restore Vision Clinic. They discovered the clinic online after neurologists and doctors said that there is no cure for the condition caused by the damage to my optic nerves.
I wasn’t as convinced about traveling to Germany as Hubby and our two sons. Then one morning while meditating, I heard the question, If the treatment were available in the US, would you have any hesitation? “No, of course not!’’ I answered. I had already traveled to the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic in pursuit of the best treatment for sub-cranial hypotension, which caused the nerve damage. None of the experts I visited could offer any hope for restoring my full eyesight. After prayer and meditation, I went to Berlin as an act of faith. My family was relieved to hear about my decision to move forward, and we began to take steps to make sure the clinic would accept us.
While the clinic welcomed us, I was still hesitant because I didn't want to be disappointed in the outcome. Here in the US, I visit an optical neurologist every six months only for them to tell me that they can do nothing to help. Yet in Berlin, meeting people from all over the world who are having similar (and some worse) vision challenges and engaging with doctors who have hope because they have seen success in helping to restore vision and heal optic nerves, became a balm. The doctors explained the science behind the treatment, and I met people who had successful treatments and were returning for a refresh. About 25 of us were there for treatment: three from the US and the rest from Romania, Sweden, India, England, and Australia.
The things I learned during the trip, and in the weeks since, are giving me new ways to view my journey. I went to Germany expecting a “zap” to my eyes. I wanted to have a miraculous experience and come back fully seeing. But that was unrealistic.
Instead, I now see myself in a beautiful dance with hope, acceptance, and faith. One of the paradoxes is learning to balance knowing that healing will come against not knowing when or the specifics of how. Dr. Fedorov’s explanation that the treatment is the first step in a process of stimulating the cells and neurons helped me see that no matter how strong my faith and hope remain, I can’t control the timing of my vision’s return. I have to let go of the illusion that I could.
Back at home, I’m far from defeated. I didn’t realize how tired I was until I was there in Berlin resting, encircled in love. Having Hubby and both sons with me caused the time to pause. I didn’t miss or even think about home the way I have in the past after being away for more than a week. I can't imagine what else would have gotten us together at that place at this time.
I still feel that love and hope. Every morning, I’m doing doctor-assigned exercises to keep the stimulation process going. I do the exercises daily, lifted by a belief that this fearfully and wonderfully made body is being renewed and restored, and when that day comes, I want to go back to Germany to clearly see all the beauty my human eyes missed. I know, by faith, the views will be worth the wait.