Shannyn’s sight loss won’t stop her living
A SHOCK diagnosis 12 weeks ago completely changed the course of Shannyn Biggs’ life.
The Maroochydore mother was told she was 80 per cent blind due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition that caused cells in the light-sensitive retina to degenerate slowly and progressively.
“If you make a circle with your fingers and put them around your eyes like glasses, this is approximately what I can see,” Ms Biggs said.
“I hadn’t noticed how much I’d lost sight because it was so gradual until the months just before my diagnosis when I noticed I was bumping into things quite a bit.”
Because of her diagnosis Ms Biggs has had to hand in her driver’s licence and leave her job as a driver but the thing that’s hit her the hardest is the thought of not seeing her children’s faces again and how it has impacted their lives.
“Eventually this condition will progress and I’ll be completely blind,” she said.
“My son has a two-year job contract in Canada so he wants me to go over there so I can see his face again because we don’t know if I’ll still have any sight when he comes back.
“My oldest daughter (Rachel) has moved back home with her daughter to help out and Truth is starting high school next year and I’m not able to drive her to school or activities.”
Having completed an eight-week quality living program with Vision Australia, Ms Biggs said she couldn’t begin to explain how helpful the organisation had been.
“I’ve learnt mobility training with my cane and I use it quite regularly, even around the house,” she said.
“I’ve started learning Braille and tactile signing, which is signing into someone’s hand to communicate, and they’ve been teaching me about technology and assistive aids that are available.”
Ms Biggs hoped her story could help bring awareness to how people with low or no vision experienced life.
“I’ve learned that everyone has their own experiences and things can change from day to day,” she said.
“I can have days were I am able to see well enough to get around the house without my cane and other days where I have such severe eye pain I can’t see at all.”
SHOCK ADJUSTMENT: Shannyn Biggs was diagnosed with vision loss 12 weeks ago and is adapting to living with the condition.