Terrified !

I feel like the last few posts that I have done have been always about my upcoming trip to Portland Oregon for my Guide Dog. And there is a good reason for this and that is because I feel like a child starting a new school for the first day. I am terrified ! I know in my heart I will be fine but my brain is not cooperating and I have been losing a lot of sleep over this and really just cannot think of anything else. There is so much anxiety about all sorts of different things. The trip there and the obstacles there, being away from my family for 2 weeks, transitioning to a dog and not having the tactile feed back from my cane to let me know where I am and which house is mine on the street. This probably makes no sense to someone who is sighted but when I walk down my block I use my cane to tell me where I am by taping on my right side against the grass and when my cane comes across the first paved driveway I know that that is my house. When I transition to a dog I wont have that so I need to rely on time distance estimation and I am not very good at that. And there is the anxiety of just being in a new place and not to mention the worries that come with a mother leaving her kids for two weeks  and not being there for the first day of school and feeling like I need to have everything done for my husband so that they can hopefully not have a horrible two weeks while I am away. And feeling guilty for leaving my family for 2 weeks as well. There is a huge amount of guilt and that is hard.

One of the things that is keeping me going through this process is my dad. I know he would be proud of me for concurring this fear. He was always cheering me on and saying I could do anything. I defiantly really miss him and wish he was here so he could give me his no nonsense advice to just do it. But I have to remember that even though he is not here in the physical world he is always there for me in heaven and cheering me on.

My trip will begin in 9 days so my next post will be from Portland Oregon after I receive my dog on September 1st ! I will let you know how the process  is going and if I made it to Portland. I had a dream the other day where I ended up in Mexico so hopefully that does not happen ! lol !

Busy Busy Busy

Life has gone from boring and long to wow in a short amount of time. When my vision really went down the crapper I was wondering what the heck am I going to do and what am I going to fill my time with. I wanted to be productive and successful and all of those things like everyone else. So I began looking into what I could do.

This blog began as a way for me to express my frustrations and help to educate people on vision loss and blindness. I also began looking into other things I could get involved in, I found a couple of amazing things online. One of them is a site called Vision Aware www.visionaware.org. They are a plethora of information on vision loss and living with vision loss, I became one of the peer advisors and now am a regular contributing member to their web site. I also found another organization called VIRN (Vision Impaired Resource Network). I am currently working with them on things like advocacy and education for the public as well as those whom are new to vision loss. I have started volunteering with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and helping some of the clients that are new to vision loss and want a companion. I have also gotten more involved with the toastmasters group in my community that I was involved in. I have a few other things that I am wanting to look into maybe a youtube channel those sorts of things, but all these new adventures have given me a lot to do and are defiantly keeping me busy at this time. I finally feel like I am starting to get my purpose back which is a great feeling.

Update on my guide dog, I leave in 19 days and am starting to get things organized for when I leave . I will be gone for the kids first day of school so I need to have everything ready for my husband so that this will go ok for him. (I am a little worried). I will also get back the day after my sons 7th birthday so I need to have things in order for him to still have a good day while I am away. I am really sad that I will miss these things while I am away but I also know that the kids are in good hands and it will be worth it in the end.

I will be leaving on Friday this week to go and see my sister in Calgary Alberta with my mom and my kids. This should be lots of fun minus the 9 hour car ride to get there. We have lots planned for our short trip so it will be interesting.

Until next time
Ashley

Count Down !

The count down is on !!! I will be leaving for Guide Dogs For The Blind in Portland Oregon in 29 days. I am beyond excited. This is going to be life changing for me in a good way finally.

Truth be told I am absolutely terrified. Not of getting a dog and having a new partner in crime. But of the travelling there. I have been losing enormous amounts of sleep over this already. I have never flown into the U.S.A, so I have never had to experience going through customs or the huge airports and all the unknown and for me it is the unknown that scares the crap out of me. It is so terrifying to be in a unfamiliar place alone without the ability to see what is going on around you and asses your surroundings. Am I safe, is that person a little shady coming towards me. None of that is available to me. I feel like I am at the mercy of people around me. And we would all like to think that people are great, and some are but there are many out there that are not so great and not the people I want to be around.

Being in a unfamiliar place for the sighted is fine you may not know exactly where you are going but there are usually signs that will give you some sort of hint. For example you have arrived at a new air port and have a 2 hour layover. You get to your gate and are sitting for a while and start to think hmmm I really need to pee, so you get up and go wandering looking for that sign that says Washroom or you can find a employee and ask them for some general directions, they will generally point and say over there next to the coffee shop or something general like that. Now … close your eyes ! and go through the same process and try to eventually end up at a washroom. Good Luck ! you will need it. And god forbid in that same time you kind of want a coffee, because the first adventure will give you ample reason to not want to leave your seat again.

Everyone tells me I will be fine and to ask for help, but what I wouldn’t give to see that little stick woman in a dress to be able to find the bathroom on my own. It sometimes can feel degrading to have to ask for assistance to find the washroom and have someone wait for you to show you back to your seat. I am not 3 and hate having to do things like this that a 3 year old has to do.