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Cecilia Foerster, 28

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Social media handles:

IG- @dearcecilianicole

TIKTOK- @ceeeeals

FACEBOOK- Cecilia Foerster

To check out my art business online go to SadHappyCo.com and @sadhappyco on Instagram :)

Where are you from? Chandler, Arizona

Where do you live now? Gilbert, Arizona

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a visually impaired author, abstract artist, and ex-barber with a passion to Braille the world and showing what visually impaired and blind individuals are capable of!

Cecilia is wearing dark framed glasses and large dangly earrings. Smiling at the camera. Not wearing her prothetic eye.
Cecilia is wearing dark framed glasses and large dangly earrings. Smiling at the camera

What’s your eye story?

It was a slow day at the barbershop I was working at back in 2017. I noticed a black/blind spot in my central vision while I was cutting my client’s hair which had me worried, so I went to my optometrist to have it checked out as soon as I could. I’ve been going to this Dr. since I was a child, and after doing the regular exams and such, I remember him struggling to find the words to NOT send me into a panic. I had a spontaneous retinal tear.


That whole week was a blur, with so much new information, and so many new doctors, it was hard to take in all at once. I’ve had about 5 surgeries in the span of 2 years to try and save my left eye, however, at this point, far too much scar tissue has built up and left me not only completely blind in that eye, but with a cataract.


I got accepted into a school for the blind here in Phoenix through vocational rehab services. I attended there for a little over a year but ended up dropping out because it all became too much for me to handle mentally. There, I learned how to read and write Braille, cook, clean, shop online and in stores, and navigate airports, streets, crosswalks, sidewalks, etc. all while under a blindfold, and using a cane of course, throughout the school day.


My “good” eye has a retinal tear all of a sudden now, but we’re monitoring it every 4-6 months. Keeping an eye on it, you could say. 😋

I had my blind eye removed back in July of this year and funny enough I feel so much more confident without it!! I’m a stay-at-home kitty mama and I create abstract art almost daily and sell them as well (I have a few pieces drying as I type this). That is my happy place. I have my own small art business online called SadHappyCo.com and on Instagram @sadhappyco.

And although I’ve lost my eyesight in one of my eyes, I’ve never been happier. I’ve met many amazing individuals inside and outside the blind community due to my vision loss. I’ve traveled the world because of a dear friend who wanted me to see what I could while I could. I met the love of my life during the peak of my vision loss. I wouldn’t change a thing ✨ happiness is possible after vision loss!

What has been the most challenging mentally?

For me, the most challenging mentally would have to be the fact that we don’t know if or when I will go fully blind. I’ve come to accept it, for the most part, though if I do lose the rest of my vision one day, it will definitely be an adjustment!

What has been the most challenging physically?

DEPTH PERCEPTION. Oh my gosh. And the lack of peripheral vision for me. I cannot tell you how many cups I’ve dropped or spilled, how many stairs I didn’t see, or how many faces I accidentally punched 😂


Where are you now in your recovery?

I’d say I’m at a good place right now. As I said, after my eye removal, I became more confident in myself. Not just aesthetically, but mentally as well. I feel like it’s a constant/daily process of acceptance. I don’t know about you, but every now and then I think, “oh my eye just has to heal, it’ll be fine, my vision will come back soon”… no… that’s not how this works, Cecilia. It’s silly, but I have to remind myself sometimes that this is a permanent and progressing issue for me. And that’s okay.



A headshot of Cecilia wearing a large black hat, facial piercings, glasses, and smiling at the camera. This is pre-evisceration.
A headshot of Cecilia wearing a large black hat, facial piercings, glasses, and smiling at the camera. This is pre-evisceration.

What advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment journey?

Just keep going. It gets better. You will have your bad days, I still do, but we’re only human! It’s okay to feel! Don’t let that stop you from continuing or pursuing what you love to do most. You can do anything you put your mind to.

Who is your eye surgeon and ocularist?

My retinal surgeons are Dr. Derek Kunimoto, MD, JD, and Dr. Sujit Itty, MD at Retinal Consultants of Arizona. My eye removal surgeon is Dr. Lisa Mansueto, MD at Ophthalmic Surgeons and Physicians in Mesa, AZ.


How did you find EYEHESIVE?

Instagram

Are you attending the EYE CONNECT Virtual Conference?

Unfortunately no, unless I sell a few paintings quick 😅


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