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"Not Giving Up On Me" Part 1 & Part 2
START OF CHAPTER 11
5 years ago I woke up today and couldn't see anything through my eyes. It was so dark, it was so cold, just an empty black room. I was so confused and I literally became a lost boy. As this all went on we found out it was severe cataract that eventually led to my diagnoses of Glaucoma. I felt my soul start to hide itself more and more. Sure, I have been sharing my feelings and showing that i'm still up and around, but I haven't shown my battle scars, or in this case my living proof, my eye. Every time that I had to take my dark glasses off, it was a reminder of all the pain I have faced. I hated being reminded about it, especially looking into it when I had to stare in the mirror. I know damn well what I have gone through and what my eye has had to endure. Continuing my honest parade, It wasn't until after this 7th surgery that I felt comfortable with the idea of showing my eye. I feel like my doctors and I, got it to the best place it could get to. How this looks now, I have to accept it, because it can't get better than this, this is the best we could get it. For me to wake up and show my eyes the world 5 years later, that is major growth and shows just how much stronger I have become over the last 5 years. I have videos documenting some of my darkest moments over the last 5 years. Some of which show how bad my eye was. Looking at pictures with both my eyes is so weird. I have not had a proper picture taken without my dark glasses since getting this disease. I have to use those dark glasses to protect my eyes from the light. With Glaucoma, it has become difficult to withstand the light. When I found out that this surgery that I received in January could help me out with that, I couldn't refuse giving my eyes a chance to see the light again. Well, at least my left eye. That eye is not perfect, but it is my seeing eye and does all the work for me. My right eye, some people will have questions, I know that already. Can I see out of that eye? As my doctors would say, yes and no. My eye is like it's own separate living being. I don't control it. My eye is 50 % real and 50 % fake. In fact, if you see me in person, you'll know something is wrong with it. Just the other day a woman on bart asked if I was okay because my eyes looked scared, I politely told her, that's just they way it is. It has it's moments when you can tell that it is not real. How is that possible? Well my eye still has the original base of the eye I was born with, but with a few tweaks. The lens that all humans are born with, was removed when I got the cataract. I was 19 when this happened, and cataracts in anyone younger than 50 are very rare. You don't hear about it often or at all. Because of my age and the standard age that a person can get a cataract, I was given a new lens of a 50 year old. Next month my lens will turn 55 years old. So I'm a 23 year old guy with a 55 year old lens in my right eye. Our hope was that i'll be able to see out of that eye after the first surgery I received in March 2014. It did for a good 3 months, then things got worst. As things got worst I was automatically bumped up to the top of a waiting list for one of the top Glaucoma specialists in California. Things got really bad, you all know that, but I can't stress how bad it got. My original doctor never wanted me to get the 2nd very major Glaucoma surgery, because once I received it, my life would change forever. Sure enough, it did. My eye is controlled by a tube that resides behind it. You can't see it, unless you go into it with special tools, or you are a doctor who knows what they are doing. I know where it is at, I know that it is there, I feel it, I've always felt it since it was installed. I can not survive without this tube. I would be completely blind if this tube was not in my eye. It holds everything together. I call it my life support, because it truly is my life support. I would not be able to sit here and write these feelings right now if that tube was not in my eye. Once that tube was installed I had to go through intense treatment. I hated the injections, I fucking hated it. My hands start to shake when it is brought up because I know i'll have to get them again in the future. I can't begin to describe the pain it caused me. I'm sitting here writing this in a book shop and I have tears coming out of my eyes, because it was one of the darkest moments with this disease. 4 injections back to back 3 times a week, on top of a shit load of meds. It scarred me badly. That is how my eye got to look inhuman. From the installation of the new lens, the tube, the injections, the other operations that cut into it, it made it look so inhuman. My vision was decreasing during all of this. I constantly failed my vision tests and eventually it just stayed that way, how it is now. I'm able to see large letters now, that is a huge difference for me. I wasn't able to even read a fucking store sign. I still can't read small letters. Most of the time I just see blurred light. Like I said, my left does all the seeing, but sometimes I can't see a whole picture because my left knows something is up with the right. So that's what I can see, that's how i'm able to get through my days, all thanks to my left eye. For 4 out of the 5 years I used a walking stick. I needed it, and even though i'm wearing clear glasses now, I hate to admit it to myself, but I still need it sometimes. Everyone that I love continues to point out to me, that I can't see well. Courtney is constantly looking out for me when we shoot, because I think that I can see, but in reality i'm about to fall down a set of stairs that I didn't know was there. My parents are very cautious with my eye. They have me read things and then tell me I read it wrong and they know damn well that as much as I try to make it seem like I am normal, I am not. I've been trying to train myself to go without the cane. It works 75% of the time. For example I learned my way around downtown SF by counting steps and remembering them so I don't fall down or hurt myself. I had to learn how to adapt to not being able to see on the right side of myself. Even with these clear glasses, I can't see crap. It is what is. I have learned to accept that, as long as the Glaucoma stays stable for awhile then i'm fine with it. I want to try and live a normal not so normal life. When I settled with the idea of showing my eyes, I was scared at first. But I told myself I would jump this year and do things outside of my comfort zone. I want to do things that will change my life, so that way in return I can help people in some shape or form. I spoke to my best friend Dan about this. He was like bro, by showing who you are and stepping away from your mask, you can help more people, rather than hiding from it. Yes, you need those glasses for your protection and survival, but you can show everyone what you have gone through, it will benefit your story and uplift you in ways that will change the direction of your mind. I was very insecure about this, but i'm at peace with this decision of mine to showcase my eyes in all that I do moving forward. I said it was a reminder of the pain that I have gone through, but now I see it as a reminder of the strength that I have gained and see it as a symbol of hope for a future that will be better than the past. I got all these operations done so I could buy me some more time. I'm not ready to go blind, I don't think I ever will be. Nor do I plan on it. I wanted to buy time just in case though. I want see the world, see myself sell out a stadium, win a grammy, fall in love, get married, have a kid, watch every Marvel, Disney & Star Wars film to be released, be with my friends and do crazy things that we'll remember forever, see my nephews grow up to be men, take care of my parents as they took care of me, see the beauty around me, see the pain around me, see a world that I can change with my own 2 hands. That is why I have done all that I have done. But if I kept hiding away what made me different, what changed my life, then I wouldn't be giving all of me to a world, that needs to see all of me, for every single flaw, as I am. I was so broken and to think 5 years later I am so uplifted that it brings me to tears. I wanted to die when things started getting worst. But god got through me and reminded me, I am here for a reason. I have a purpose and I must see through what I have started. I used to apologize on behalf of everything that has happened to me. To hell with that now. I don't owe anyone an apology. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I know my story, I know where I've been and the only one I have to prove something to, is myself. To show myself that I can and will do what I set out to do when I was 13 years old. Use my voice to be the voice for people who need one. I have traveled a difficult road and I know it won't be an easy trek ahead. But i'm willing to pay the price for my dreams to be fulfilled. This is only a part of my story, it doesn't define the man I am or the man I will become. When people look into my eyes they may see what I used to see, the pain that I went through. Now, I will forever see the power that i've gained from my strength. This disease that was once my undoing is now a special quality that I hold. I was never normal before this, now i'm just straight up strange. And that's okay. As a wise woman named Grandma Aggie once said in "Halloweentown", "being normal is vastly overrated". Glaucoma will never be put behind me, I have that for life, unless a cure comes. But I can continue to move forward, knowing where I have been will lead me to where i'm meant to be. I'm not giving up on me, even when they say there is nothing left, even if nobody else believes, i'm not going down that easily. This is me. You are reading my diary. I'm learning to live a life, i'm learning to feel again. I am Dom Baza. I'm Chamorro and Filipino. I am blessed to be born and raised in California. I'm a singer, songwriter, social influencer, writer, activist, dreamer, lover, nerd, friend, brother, son and a proud Uncle DD to 2 beautiful boys - I have a disease called Glaucoma. One eye is real, one eye is not so real and that makes me different. It doesn't define me, but it plays a part in who I am and who I will become.
Photographer: Courtney Johnson , Dashia Robinson, & Dom Baza
What i'm wearing:
Page 1: Shirt - Van Heusen, Jeans - Good Fellow, Shoes - Lugz
Page 2: Jacket - Good Fellow, Turtle Neck - Champs, Jeans - H&M, Shoes - Apt 9
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Page 108 & Page 109
Stories From My Life - Chapter 11
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)