In regards to the March 13th article in the Marin Independent Journal:
There is more to this story, and I feel obligated to share my side.
I have done my best to understand everyone’s position in this matter. I can appreciate the newspaper’s craving for an eye-catching headline and article. I recognize that the doctor would be upset with me for being somewhat untruthful and preventing him from fully examining me. I acknowledge that the District Attorney would be frustrated by many of my actions. I can certainly understand Mr. Arrigoni’s desire to protect himself. I also appreciate the Arrigoni and Ghilloti families’ wish to keep one of their own out of trouble. If I had a son, I would go to any lengths to shield him. I accept this.
I also freely admit that I have made my mistakes. When I started noticing improvement in my sight last fall, I made a decision not to tell anyone. The life of a partially sighted person is not easy. Very few people understand visual impairment, and even fewer understand partial sight. For instance, a close friend of mine has diabetic retinopathy. This condition has left him with a small spot of central vision, and no peripheral sight. Because of this, he must use a mobility aid (a “blind stick”). However, with his central vision, he is able to read things such as traffic signs and food containers. He is harassed, frequently aggressively, on a daily basis by people who don’t comprehend his situation. I decided not to expose myself to this treatment. I now realize that this attempt at self-preservation led me into a series of missteps. I should have been honest with everyone about my improving condition from the beginning, but I wasn’t, and now I’m paying the price. I accept this.
The article accused me of many atrocious acts. However, my life would be very different right now if they were true. One hurtful allegation was that I am not now, nor have I ever been, visually impaired. This statement is not truthful, and the reporter knowingly disregarded direct evidence (my medical records) to make it. Even more cruelly, it suggested I have somehow taken a guide dog another blind person. If this were factual, my Oliana would be removed from me. However, in reviewing my records, the guide dog school has not and will not take her as I am still visually impaired and require her service. Unfortunately, nothing I say or do will change many people’s perception of me. This article has permanently crippled my integrity. I accept this.
I have tried my hardest to grasp all aspects of my life as a visually impaired person. I have learned that I can not bend everything to my will. I am aware that I make mistakes, and I have to live with their consequences. I also know that I have made peace with myself and the important people in my life. Few can understand the torment of losing vision. Every day is filled with terror, loneliness and confusion. I had to give up my three favorite activities; school, work, and riding my bike. Even worse than not being able to see the face of a loved one is knowing that the memory of their appearance fades daily. Few are able to empathize. I accept this.
My vision has been improving steadily for many months now, and I can only hope this continues. All I have left is the dream of sight, the love of my family, and the knowledge that I have said my piece.