Timothy M.
Diabetic retinopathy prior to pancreas transplant

Waterloo, IN

In 1990, after 15 years of Type I diabetes, I started having vision problems.  It started with floaters in my eyes and progressed to cloudiness, and I ended up almost completely blind.  I could see light and dark, some motion and outlines.  With the help of a great retinal surgeon who performed laser and vitrectomies on my eyes, my vision was much improved.

On March 19, 1999, I had a very successful kidney and pancreas transplant.  With the transplant, I began to have better circulation and my health and eyes continued to get better.  Although I had extensive damage to both eyes, with the help of Dr. Windsor, I was making pretty good progress.  Dr. Windsor was able to fit me with the Beecher system and referred me to Sue Henderson, driving rehabilitation specialist,  to teach me how to drive with the system.  It was a fantastic experience.

With everyone’s busy lifestyles, I spent a lot of time around the house.  I was so happy just to be alive.  After having cancer, blindness and kidney failure, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I met some great people while I was ill.  After not driving for five years, I received my driver’s license in 2004.  One of the first things I did was take my 8-year-old granddaughter shopping.  With my wife still working, I was able to drive to my daughter’s home and visit with my grandsons, which I am still able to do today.

Because I was able to use the Beecher system, I was able to do many things that people take for granted.  My 3-year-old grandson (Charlie) and I were watching Bob the Builder on TV and decided to drive to our local gravel pit.  We sat in my old truck for over an hour and watched them run the pay-loader up the sand pile.  We watched a friend dig gravel out of a pond.  With every splash, we cheered.

I am blessed to still have my mother.  She is 85 and has a great sense of humor, although she does suffer from dementia.  She is mostly homebound, but she does enjoy going to Yoga and lunch with me.  We usually take the long way home and enjoy the ride together.  Mom was the postmaster in our town of 600, and she knew everyone and everyone knew her.  On our rides, we reminisce; look at trees, barns and everything in between.  We mainly just laugh and smile a lot.  It is on these afternoon rides that I realize how blessed I am to be able to be with my mother, other family members and friends.  These are priceless moments.