Lucero, an individual with diabetic retinopathy

Lucero is from Mexico and lives with diabetic retinopathy. Initially Lucero was misdiagnosed with cataracts in 2005 and then later received a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.

To the talented artists of the Change Makers campaign – Dave, Rachel and Baluji,

It’s a pleasure to speak with artists like you. I too love to craft and use my hands to create. I also appreciate the craft of others; my friends and family would agree, with all the figurine owls they keep bringing for my collection. So I can’t wait to see how you interpret my story and hear how our experiences relate.

It’s hard to understand how much sight means to us until we realise we could lose it. I remember in 2005, the first day I saw stains in my vision – smears of orange spread across my view, wherever I looked. It took me a whole month to seek medical help. I didn’t believe it was just cataracts, like the first doctor said, and I was right. The second doctor explained I had diabetic retinopathy, a complication of the diabetes that I’ve lived with for 22 years.

I have undergone several surgeries to save my vision and through each recovery, my family has been by my side. They did everything for me. Now I feel I have a second chance and I am forever grateful to everyone who has helped me.

Of course, I know it is not the end of the road. Every time my blood sugar goes too high or too low, my vision blurs and I am reminded of how precious my sight is. I’ve lost vision in one eye before – temporarily, thank goodness – and earlier this year I fell into a coma for three weeks. My diabetes is something I have to live with and manage carefully.

But there’s so much else I live with too. My friends and family. My little grandchildren, although they’re bigger every year. The joy of nature around us. The rain on my skin. I love the beauty of the Durango mountains in winter, and sunflowers in the summer warmth. There is always a world of treasure to see.

And that’s why I fight hard to keep my sight for as long as I can.

With warm regards,

Lucero, Mexico

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