by Daniel T. Zanoza, Executive Director
On March 18th, 2006, one day after the fourth of what would be five operations on the only eye which gave me partial sight, a doctor removed the final bandage and I was totally blind. I could not see shadows. I could not see the doctor's head lamp. I was totally blind. In medical terms, I am considered functionally blind and the one certainty I was later to learn was that I would never see my wife's face again.
In the years prior to the complete loss of my sight, I imagined what it would be like to be completely left without sight. I think most human beings think about this happening to them some time in their life. Some say they couldn't live without eyesight and, frankly, some can't. Many people who lose their eyesight after the age of 50 commit suicide.
Thankfully, it was as though I was preparing myself for this day all of my life. I might say I prepared myself as much as I could because no one could truly anticipate and plan for such a traumatic experience. In my case, my faith played a major role in dealing with my medical condition. I also have a loving wife who I knew would be there to stand by me for the rest of our lives together. Some people are not blessed with such luxuries. I truly believe my blindness is part of God's plan and it is my duty to use my condition to better myself as a human being and to add something to the world that surrounds me, which I cannot see.
One of the hardest things about any tragedy is how such events impact those who love you. I can truly say it has been harder for my wife, family and friends to deal with my blindness than it has been for me. But this is a natural process. It is part of life and I am truly fortunate that there are those who care so much. Some times it might be easier if you knew a loved one wasn't going through pain. However, that is what unconditional love is all about.
I never planned to write a column about this subject. Those who are physically challenged do not seek sympathy. In fact, the opposite is true. I was legally blind for 52 years of my life and even in adulthood one of my major goals was to keep my handicap a secret. However, I have recently learned an alleged conservative is spreading rumors that I am not completely blind and that I am intentionally trying to deceive my readers by playing on their sympathies. Imagine that. This individual is telling people I am only legally blind, as though that condition alone is nothing worth mentioning. But why would someone spread a lie of this sort? I believe people who spread malicious gossip are driven by evil, nothing more and nothing less. I would not be responding to these slanders, if not for the fact I have written a number of columns where I mentioned my blindness--many times in a joking manner.
The truly sad thing about this situation is that someone feels there is a necessity to build themselves up by trying to attack me. This is a sad statement about the human condition. But I have prayed for this individual and so has my wife.
Many believe politics is a dirty game and stories like the one I have told here truly keep the best in our society from seeking elected office. The lies told about me didn't come from a Democrat, they came from an alleged conservative. I use the words alleged conservative because most people who consider themselves social conservatives abide by a moral code; not a code set up by man or government, but a code given to us by our Creator. Individuals who break such standards of decency are not conservatives, they are guns for hire who swim the waters of the political world like sharks in a reef.
If anyone has any questions about the status of my eyesight, they are welcome to come to my home to review my medical records. Of course, this would be an invasion of my privacy, but sometimes transparency is more important than our personal comfort. I will keep this individual, who feels it's necessary to lie about me, in my prayers. I hope one day the Lord will enter their heart.
I will not reveal the person's name for one reason and one reason only. This person is working on some projects with people of impeccable character and I wouldn't want collateral damage to impact them.
In the meantime, I will count on those who know me personally and those who know me through my writings to believe I would never bear false witness or lie about my eyesight or any other issue on this web site. I am not perfect and I have many faults. In fact, too many to write about here, but two of the greatest compliments my wife and I ever received was when someone said "The Zanoza's must be Christians because of the way they act," and "If the Zanoza's wrote it, it must to be true." Perhaps those are the greatest compliments anyone can receive.
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