2007: The Year The World Looked Different

2007 has been an amazing year! A year in which the smallest detail became a visual feast and the awe-inspiring beauty of open spaces was shown to me with crystal clarity for the first time in my life. It is inspiring to see that the glint in the eye of a smiling friend is as beautiful as the best-known natural wonders of the world.

January proved to be a quiet start to 2007, but steady improvements continued.

I have been thrilled that the improvements in my eyesight, which I reported in November (2006), have been sustained. I have also found a small, but useful, improvement in the usefulness of my right (weaker) eye. This has not made a significant difference to my distance vision, but it has made reading easier.

February: 18th 2007 marked exactly one complete year since I stopped taking all prescription medications.

I am thrilled to have reached this point.

March: I was determined to put the disappointing response of the physiotherapist behind me, therefore, on March 12th, I joined a local gym, where I met with someone who is actually keen to help me, and monitor my progress face-to-face!

On March 28th, I completed my first-ever full gym workout. I was able to manage an hour and a half of exercise, and I now have a programme, which I can use on an ongoing basis. An hour and a half may not seem like much to some of you, but for me it is like being able to run several marathons at once.

April 9th I took my first few steps outdoors and I was able to climb two steps! To top it all, I was visiting someone for the first time so I was in unfamiliar territory as well. This was the first time that my strength, balance and confidence have been good enough to deal with steps, using my crutches, either indoors or outdoors, since the early 1990s!

Some of you might remember that I have handled stairs indoors, some time ago but it has taken until now to be confident enough to do the same thing outdoors. When I have to cope with stairs indoors, I do not use my crutches. Instead, I hold onto handrails, which means it is less likely that I will fall because I am holding onto something attached to the wall. Using my crutches is a very different process because I have no fixed point to hold onto. This means I am completely relying on my own strength and balance — something that, a relatively short time ago, I thought I would never get back.

May: My eyesight has improved, yet again. In November 2006, I was thrilled to report that my eyesight had improved significantly since taking Curcumin regularly. At that time, I found I was able to read eight-point print, for the first time ever.

I can now read six-point print! For those of you who are not familiar with print sizes, or simply prefer traditional measurements, six-point print gives an actual character size of one twelfth of (1/12) of an inch. You might think that My Serrapeptase Adventure should have taught me to expect the unexpected, but I am still surprised, excited and very grateful for every bit of progress

July: One of my friends noticed that I was able to read things from a distance, that I never had before and that I was able to recognise faces in photographs, better than I ever had before. With this in mind, I had a formal eye examination on July 31st.

The optometrist was happy to confirm this improvement, but was not able to explain it. This is because my poor eyesight had two distinct causes. One is the biomechanics of eyesight (which are tested in an optometrists examination) the other, in my case more significant problem, is caused by the same brain damage (which cannot be measured by an optometrist) that is responsible for cerebral palsy.

For this reason, medics have always asserted that my functional vision would never improve because a significant part of my problem was caused by brain damage, which is thought to be fixed and, therefore, unchanging.

Since then, I have been allowed to see the results of the previous examination, so that I can now make a direct comparison. As always, the results were given in medical terms, with which I do not have any expertise. Later, I was able to ask an optometrist, who was not involved in either examination, to look at both sets of figures and give me a simplified comparison.

The results are as follows:

  • All the individual tests show an improvement
  • The average improvement over all tests is 10%
  • The improvement in distance acuity is 30% or 4 lines of acuity on the Snellen Acuity Chart (most commonly used in the UK)

These figures may not seem very impressive, but the important thing to me is not the raw numbers. For me, it is the stability and reliability of my eyesight, together with my improving visual perception, (which current medical knowledge says should not be possible) that is far more significant than any simple measurement. My Serrapeptase Adventure continues to amaze me and I am privileged to be able to see the beauty of the world around me in vivid detail, which I had never thought would be possible.

August: On August 6th, I had the pleasure, once again, of joining Joyce Riley on The Power Hour, to tell the show’s listeners about the latest amazing improvements of my eyesight.

October: I have been fortunate to live in some of England’s most beautiful places and, in the years before I became ill, to visit many others around the world. Although I always enjoy travelling and meeting new people, much of the world’s natural beauty was hidden from me, or limited to my imagination, based on the descriptions given to me by other people, because of my poor eyesight.

Now, of course, everything has changed. I have been writing about the improvement in my eyesight for almost a year now, but so far, I have concentrated on how well I can read, how well I can see over a measured distance under test conditions. I have even discussed the test results, which proved to me that prevailing medical opinion, which argues that such improvements should not be possible, is clearly wrong.

On October 6th, with two friends, I visited The Lake District, an area of stunning natural beauty in England’s north-west, which inspired the poetry of William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850). It was the first time I have been able to use my fresh new eyesight for pure pleasure.

When we arrived, I had in my mind Wordsworth’s poetic descriptions, which I had studied at school, but I had no idea what my eyes would actually allow me to see. The Lake District truly is a beautiful place.

For me, however, the day was full of visual surprises. Not only was I seeing one of the most beautiful parts of England for the first time, but also I was seeing everyday objects in completely new ways and even seeing some things, which I had never been able to see before. There are far too many examples to give them all here, but among the most remarkable were a level of detail, which was completely hidden to me before, and the ability to see texture, which I used only to know by touch.

I was able to see the outlines of individual trees, in woodland, which was a dramatic improvement, when compared with the nebulous mass of green with which I was familiar. The idea of texture being visible, as well as tactile, has never made much sense to me before now. While taking a boat trip on Lake Windermere, I was able to see the ripples on the water caused by a very slight wind. I had never been able to see anything like them before. Ripples on water, had been something I learnt about in physics, but not something I expected ever to see. Even the waves at sea have only been visible when the light was very good, or the waves were very large.

December: My visit to the Lake District (in October) revealed the thrill of depth perception, (often called 3-D vision), something which I had never experienced before, by allowing me to see texture for the first time. Despite my excitement, the things I could see often confused me, because even familiar objects did not look the way I expected.

By mid December, I noticed that depth perception is possible even in low light conditions and that it is a new skill on which I can rely and which will become more useful as it becomes more familiar to me.

Sceptics, who have watched My Serrapeptase Adventure, from the beginning, have suggested to me that many of the improvements in my health, which have excited me so much, are, in fact, a recovery of the health I lost in the years immediately before My Serrapeptase Adventure began. Although I do not share their view, I can understand it.

The development of depth perception (3-D vision) is distinctly different, even from the other improvements in my eyesight, which I have reported before. The reason I have never experienced depth perception before, is a direct result of the underlying brain damage of cerebral palsy. This means that my new-found ability to perceive depth and to begin to make sense of it cannot be described as a recovery. To the best of my knowledge, it is not possible to recover a skill, which was never previously available.

2007 has been an amazing year! A year in which the smallest detail became a visual feast and the awe-inspiring beauty of open spaces was shown to me with crystal clarity for the first time in my life. My ability to see new things for the first time, and familiar things with new clarity is, perhaps, the most exciting and unexpected of all the gifts of My Serrapeptase Adventure, so far.

For the first time, I have been able to recognise the faces of friends from a distance, which has given me a curious mixture of the familiarity of established friendships, combined with the excitement of seeing someone for the first time; because they have literally looked different, each time my eyesight has improved.

I have been most excited by being able to find beauty in the most intricate detail and the magnificence of open space. It is inspiring to see that the glint in the eye of a smiling friend is as beautiful as the best-known natural wonders of the world.

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