Meet our #Warrioroftheweek, Hannah Lincoln💙
Spotlight on: Hannah
I first noticed the visual changes at 17 after a trip to the emergency room in the middle of the night. My symptoms started as a migraine with aura, with a kaleidoscope of colors spinning across my field of vision. I had never experienced one before, but the doctors reassured me that everything would be fine. No one knew that my vision would never be the same afterward.
My symptoms began as the classic flickering static across my entire visual field but quickly grew to include trailing images, flashing lights, flickering vision upon waking, extreme light sensitivity, increased floaters, and other more obscure and strange visual disturbances. And it doesn’t end with the visual aspects—many sufferers know it has a significant mental and emotional impact too. There’s no escaping the visual noise, not in the dark, not in the bright of the sun, and not even with closed eyes. The only escape is in sleep.
There is no preparing for this when it’s not something you’ve lived with forever. There is a before, and there’s an after.
I’ve been through the fear, the constant worry, and the anger. What I wasn’t prepared for was the grief.
I’ve always had a fascination with the stars. When I was a child, I would lie in the grass on summer nights and take it all in; fireflies moving silently through the field, stars above and on land. Now, they blend in with the flickering mess in my eyes. There are nights when I can’t stand to even try. There are nights when I want to give up.
I’ve done it all—I’ve seen optometrists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, had my eyes poked and prodded, and electrical wires placed across them. I’ve sat through every imaginable test. I was given medications that had complications I would live with for the rest of my life. I’ve seen doctors who crossed an entire ocean to be here. I’ve been told how fascinating this is. I’ve cried and cried, and cried. And I’ve tried to come to terms with the fact that we don’t yet have a cure.
But what it’s given me is perspective. Sometimes, when things are quieter and not as flared up, I sit outside and look. I really look, with my entire being. Have you ever noticed the little moving beams of light outside? The bugs floating through the air, the rustle of the leaves, the strokes of a sunset? And the nights when I can see the stars; it change something in me. This world is vast and beautiful, and we are part of it; these stars in our eyes.
I haven’t given up hope that a cure will be found.
This is scary, but we’re not alone. These stories matter. They are a beacon of hope to those just beginning their journey. We know what you’re going through, and we’re standing behind you all the way.