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Anna, 48 - eye injury

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

A side by side picture of Anna now, and when she was 5 years old. Both pictures she has an eye patch covering her right eye.
Anna now and when she was 5 years old.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Guatemala

Where do you live now?

I live in Palm Springs, California

Tell us about yourself

I married my high school sweetheart. We started dating when I was 14 and just celebrated our 24th anniversary. We have 3 beautiful boys: 21,18 and 16. Two years ago I became a spinning instructor and I just love it! I have been teaching at different gyms, spin studios, and country clubs. It really has been a lifesaver and brings me so much happiness, to be able to motivate others!

What's your eye story?

Remember when your mom told you not to run with scissors in your hand? Well, I’m that child that pokes my right eye at four years old. After several surgeries to try to save it, my retina detached which caused a blind eye. I’m thankful to have lived a pretty normal childhood and most of my life I never felt any different than others. At 44 I decided to do corrective surgery because my eye was starting to go outward. That’s when all my problems began and after four years of other surgeries, being in excruciating pain, inflammation, bleeding and lots of medication I decided in July 2020 to remove my eye. I’m thankful now that I can live a life with no pain and no medicines that compromise my immune system.

Before Anna had her eye removed, it's inflamed, and bleeding.
Before Anna had her eye removed

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

It was very hard to accept the fact that I needed to remove my eye. It took me 2 years and lots of tears to come up with a decision to remove a part of my body. I knew it was never going to look normal and the hardest part was accepting it was ok if it was not perfect.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

I feel blessed that both my surgery and recovery were pretty painless. A month after my July 2020 eye removal, the silicone implant they placed was exposed and I needed another surgery to remove that implant which was replaced with my own fat from my stomach. The fat was rapidly absorbed after the surgery and my eye looked very sunk in. I’m unable to fully close my eyelid which makes my eye very dry all the time. I’m going for another surgery in October 2021. The doctor wants to try a different implant and add more tissue to have a better blink. The hardest part has been looking in the mirror and seeing I don’t look like myself. Accepting the new me.

Anna is a spin instructor. She is on a stationary bike, with one hand up and smiling.
Anna - spin instructor.

Where are you now in your recovery?

I want everyone to understand that yes it’s hard to see my eye looking different but I have never felt this empowered in my life! I know my eye doesn’t define who I am! It’s ok to not have a perfect eye! I’m very open about sharing my journey and there is a fire in me that lights every time I inspire and motivate others. I am healthy! I am alive! I am happy! I am strong! And I can live a full life!

[Edited for clarity by @jacobfromutah]

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