A Miracle. One-in-a-Million. A Blessing. I’m one of those. When I got my sight back after five-plus years blind, there were those that thought I was somehow special. Blessed by God. A one-in-a-million miracle. There were others who thought I must have been faking the blindness all that time, because how can the blind be made to see? I really don’t know what to say about those who chose to believe I was faking it. Being blind is a terrible thing. It makes life almost unbearably difficult. Every day, I dragged myself to the Braille Institute, to learn how to live blind, among others who’d become blind, were going blind. They told me few people have been blind from birth, and perhaps those few were luckier than the others who’d known sight and had now lost it.

I was blinded by exposure to someone else’s idea of a “cool thing to do.” Someone else’s idea of art. Someone else’s idea of what was appropriate to do inside a building where others lived and worked. The people who came up with the idea, those who carried out the event did not live in that building, they did not have to live with their ideas or actions. The owner of the complex, who’d allowed it, did not have to live with them, either. I heard when approached, he’d said something like “it sounds like a dumb idea, but, sure, go ahead.” Hot toxic vapors and fumes of asphalt cooking indoors filled my neighboring studio and changed my life. How many other lives it changed over the years, I don’t know. I was too busy fighting to survive. A few years later, a fellow who’d left the building but sublet his space--just months after the toxic installation that took years of my sight, my health, my brain occurred--complained that his tenant was not making his rent. A common enough thing that makes life tough for anyone who rents or sublets and is still liable to make payments. He was in another state, working, but hoped to return to LA one day, so he’d held on to the lease at his studio. And he’d kept in contact with “that poor blind woman,” as I’d become known. I said “Darlin’ it’s tough--but everyone’s got to pay their rent--you can’t be subletting to someone who won’t pay.” He shared he felt sorry for his tenant, a young artist who was well when he moved in--but was now fighting brain cancer, having trouble paying his medical bills, much less his rent. Brain-cancer? A guy in his 20’s? Who’d moved into a building with a toxic event that had never had an environmental clean-up? That’d filled with neurotoxins and carcinogens that the human desire to disbelieve because belief would have been too scary for words and made it very expensive for the owner to fulfill his responsibilities?

I was already on oxygen and starting to get better. Still blind, but now getting alternative treatments I now could afford--having proven the event was to blame, and highly illegal. The settlement I’d agreed to had gone into a trust overseen by two friends who wrote the checks to pay for the treatments I needed and I was deep in my own rehabilitation. It was tough enough fighting my own battle, but I knew what it was like--becoming sick and disabled, then waiting for the powers-that-be to take more than two years to allow the medical disability benefits to kick in. I suggested he let his tenant know that a court of law had already deemed the event and the people responsible liable for causing my injuries. His tenant would find it easier to get his medical paid for by my hard-won fight.
There was silence on the other end of the phone. Then the subject was changed and we said our goodbyes. I never heard from my friend again.

I don’t know what happened to his tenant. I was too busy fighting for my life and maintaining my own belief I could get better again. With a large chorus of those who chose not to believe. Some believed I was damaged “for life” and I was a fool to believe I’d get my sight back again. Some believed I was crafty, a faker, a scammer who was in it “for the money.” Some believed they were safe for that reason--if was I faking for the money, surely nothing would happen to them. “How can something you can’t even see do all that to you?” people said. Those were the days before Erin Brokovitch, before the post 9/11 chemical attack scares that had people buying plastic and duck tape to fruitlessly protect their homes and families. Today we understand that invisible toxins cause all sorts of human disasters. I share that part of my story so that others who may have had mysterious health issues from the effects of that--or other such events can find their own way to attending to them appropriately.

I believed I could heal. Others disbelieved. Only one medical doctor I knew out of the many consulted said “Keep trying. It’s worth it.” The others all told me I was done for--I’d never see again. I had to find others who believed in my belief. But the road to healing only starts with belief. It takes action and battle and the quest for the treatments that will work. Not medications to manage or mask terrible symptoms that create disabilities--but to help the human body do what it’s job is: heal itself. It takes the attitude that you CAN and the hard work to do it.

Author's Bio: 

Artist-Activist-Dancer-Performance Artist, Lifelong Peak Performer & Creative Peak Performance/Natural Wellness Expert, Inspirational Motivational Speaker, & author of:
Zeeva:the Art of Wellness the True Story of How Z Got Well Again and You Can Too!

Decimated by an acute toxic chemical exposure from an illegal installation of legal industrial chemicals near her studio in 1998 and given up for a "permanently blind, permanently brain-damaged, permanently disabled" goner ready for a board and care by the MD's--Z used all her skills and knowledge, learned talking computers to get more, practiced the Arts she'd spent her life learning and teaching--including what's now called a "Wellness Lifestyle," found cutting-edge Science, and got Well Again anyway.

During her blind years,as she began to get Well, she became the Getty Center's only blind docent, touring sighted visitors and challenging them to see what she could not, performed ancient Greek myths as part of a Storytelling team at the Getty, sat on the board of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Arts, Aesthetics, & Culture committee, opened and was Creative Director of a Body-Mind-Spirit fitness studio in LA’s Arts District, and became an online Natural Wellness personality--sharing knowledge and inspiring others. Then she got her sight back!

Today, she is creating Art again at Helicon-in-the High-Desert, writing Zeeva's FREE Wellness Weekly, & blogging on topics that range from Art & Science, Empowerment, Inspiration, Consciousness, 21st Century ChangeMakers, Staying Well, Living Well, & Being Well in the 21st Century, Beating the Odds and BEATING Brain Injuries--Naturally at http://zartofwellness.com