Thanakorn is 69 years of age and lives with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, a form of age-related macular degeneration.
Dear Rachel, Dave and Baluji,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Our health is so important, don’t you think? I suppose that’s why our paths are crossing.
Like you, I have issues with my sight. Honestly, it feels strange to talk about this with you now. When I first noticed my vision beginning to fail, I didn’t even tell my wife and daughters. I was very afraid of losing my sight completely; I didn’t want to share this burden with them. I went to great lengths to hide the truth from my family. Every time I spilt my drink or missed my shot at the basketball hoop, I would worry that their suspicions would grow.
For me, it was important to have answers to my many questions before I told my loved ones. Now that I am in a clearer position, I feel comfortable opening up about my condition and I hope that by speaking to you and being part of this project, I can help others come to terms with similar diagnoses.
I first experienced blurriness in my right eye back in 2018. I confided in my friend, a doctor, who urged me to get it checked out immediately. Luckily, I was diagnosed very quickly, which gave me options. They told me I had a form of age-related macular degeneration.
At 69 years of age, I am happy with my body and I do what I can to protect and preserve it. I accept that I am getting older and I know that my condition is a result of ageing – it is a result of the long and happy life that I’m lucky enough to live. Of course, I fear that one day my vision will go completely but daily meditation helps me to stay focused and positive.
I started treatment and I am responding well. It requires me to travel six hours to and from Bangkok every month. I have spent many hours in the hospital waiting room where I have met some wonderful people. The prospect of eye treatment is not pleasant for anyone, but I always try to comfort anyone that looks fearful.
Perhaps you can relate, but losing my vision only makes me want to look and see more, more, more! I want to soak up the natural beauty of this world, which begins in my own back garden. After retiring from a long career in business, I am now able to spend a lot of time with my wife, growing fruit and vegetables. This brings me so much joy.
It’s important that you know how fortunate I feel. My wife and three daughters mean everything to me and are in good health. I am at peace with my own ageing, and all it brings. I have trouble with my eyes, but I am still very fit in other ways. I try to stay mindful of the present and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me every day. And even if I may not always be able to see this beauty, I will always know it is there.
Your friend in Thailand,