About Me

My beautiful family!

My beautiful family!

An Introduction

My name is Audrey Demmitt.  I am 50-something and live south of Atlanta Georgia with my husband Kevin and our 2 dogs Lucy (a pug) and Sophie, my guide dog (a golden retriever). I was raised on a horse farm in Michigan with my six siblings. Later, we moved to Phoenix. I attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a degree in nursing. Recently, I retired after 29 yrs of working as a nurse with a visual impairment. For  the last 11 years of my career, I was a school nurse. I have worked with a vision rehabilitation agency as an adjustment counselor and diabetic educator. Currently, I lead a support group for the visually impaired in my community. I enjoy speaking to school groups and clubs about vision loss, living with a disability, and using a guide dog. I have been dabbling in professional and creative writing. I am the Support Group Advisor and a Peer Advisor for the American Foundation for the Blind/ VisionAware site.

Kevin and I have 3 wonderful adult children and our family is growing! Andrew is our oldest and he is married to Ashley. They just moved back to our hometown and live 1 mile from us. He is an emergency room PA, and Ashley is a social worker in the area of Domestic Violence. They are expecting their first child and our first grandbaby! So exciting! Hannah, our “only daughter” graduated with a dual master’s in Public Health and Social Work from UGA.  She lives and works in Knoxville, Tn. as the program director for a residential treatment center for mothers and their newborns who are dealing with addictions. She is engaged to Clay, a professional cyclist from Tasmania who rides for an American team called Astellas. Their wedding is September 2016. Jacob is a journalist and writes for a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. He is recently engaged to Melissa, who is also a journalist.  They will marry in 2017. They are, by far, my greatest accomplishment in life and my pride and joy!

I am an avid reader and enjoy traveling. I love to cook and try new and exotic foods. I love words, word games and writing. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories-for we all have a story to tell. My latest crafty passion is making rag rugs and crocheting baby blankets. I enjoy being in nature-hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Among my greatest pleasures in life are morning coffee, sunshine, time with family,  lazy lunch dates with friends, yoga, long walks with Sophie and at the end of the day, brushing and cuddling with her. (note-cuddling with my teddy bear of a husband is also quite nice!)

My Vision Problems

I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 25 though I had it for years before the diagnosis was made. At age 30, I lost my driver’s license due to my vision changes. That was a real life-changer! Gradually, I continued to lose vision and became legally blind in 1994. I realized I needed to get help when I started having trouble getting around safely, reading normal print, using the computer, doing activities of daily living, and coping emotionally. I began vision rehabilitation to learn about assistive technologies, orientation and mobility skills, and adapted ways to cook, clean and do other household activities. I learned to use a white cane to move about safely and eventually got my first guide dog. Sophie came to me from Leader Dogs for the Blind and we have been together since 2011.  She was another life-changer!

Why This Blog?

I want to share my story in hopes of encouraging and empowering others who are experiencing vision loss. It is my goal to educate and build awareness around the issues the visually impaired face on a daily basis. I hope family and friends of the visually impaired community will also gain insight and understanding that will help them as well. I wish you all a rich and meaningful life…it is possible even with vision loss! Life is “in-session”…live it!

“There is much adversity in this life…but there is also much overcoming of it”   Helen Keller

All the best,

Audrey

7 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Audrey. Joyce sent your blog address. I read it all. Very well done and interesting. Bet it will be a great help to many. Best wishes and prayers for your success. Look forward to reading more. Love,

  2. Loved your blog. Very informative and I related to so much of it. Read it all and sent it to several people that I know. I am 56yrs. old and I was diagnosed in 1976 with Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy and was told at some point i time that I would probably lose my sight. I began about five years ago losing my sight and was diagnosed with cataracs. I went and had them removed but still couldn’t see and was sent to a Retinal Specialist who diagnosed me with Macular Degeneration and retinal tears. This was also after having had a stroke in 2004 which also effected my vision. After 8 eye surgeries and a years worth of injections…I basically and drastically lost a vast majority of my vision in a short few months. I started off with O & M training which later led me to apply for a Guide Dog. I went and got my Guide Dog from Pilot Dogs Inc. in Columbus Ohio in May 2013. He is a big 82lb. male Boxer by the name of Willy. His is four years old and an awesome guide. I applied to several Guide Dog Schools but due to my medical issues was turned down at most of them. I was accepted at Leader Dogs but found out only after I had returned back from Pilot Dogs with my Guide Dog Willy. I don’t know what I would do without my Willy boy as I have no family and am more or less a recluse so didn’t really have any friends to speak of. Obtaining Willy has opened the doors to making new friends as he is a conversation piece and I am not good at starting up conversations or knowing what to say so he has helped me greatly to get out of my shell and reach out to others. I have graduated from Braille class, Independent Living for the Blind and am now looking at going back to school. I am a retired E.M.T. due to the stroke I had in 2004 but am looking forward to a whole new world of possibilities ahead of me now. So glad that you and your team are working out together. Sophie sounds like a wonderful Guide.

  3. Pingback: More Women Than Men Have Visual Impairment | Eye Doctor Peachtree City

  4. Hi Audrey, what a beautiful and strong introduction! I’m also a creative and professional writer with low vision, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work!

  5. Hello. I heard about this blog through your spotlight on Bold BlindBeauty yesterday. I was born blind and found Staphanae’s site last spring. Love it and looking forward to reading yours. I am a writer and also have two blogs. I write a feature on one of them, every week, Memoir Monday and answer questions as a part of The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge. I had a guide dog once. All the best. Love your blog’s name by the way. Very optimistic.

  6. Hi Audrey. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am in love with it. Blogs like this are gold for those that have not really had much help with vision rehabilitation and the such. My story of vision loss began when I was in my early teens – and was consistently at 20/100 for years, until this year. I was diagnosed with retina pigmentosa and bilateral optic neuropathy – and my vision in my good eye went to 20/320. I now can not read without help, and am going to need some orientation and mobility, as well as “home help”. Somehow, my job is a great one – and even though I work as a CNA – they help me a lot with modifying my work routine and such. I am in the “boonies” of North GA, and thankfully help is starting to come through finally, but in the meantime – it always helps to see a good blog like this. Keep up the good work!

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