• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

October 13, 2007

Out of Sight, Out of Sound

When she learned she would go blind and deaf before her 30th birthday, Rebecca Alexander didn't have time to be afraid.

Share
rebecca alexander in white dress

Photo Credit: Alessandra Petlin

Special Offer

There are some things in life you know will happen, but they don't seem real. When you're a kid, you know you'll grow up, but you cannot imagine what it will feel like. You know you'll eventually die, but you don't spend every moment thinking about it.

That's how I felt nine years ago, at 19, when a doctor told me I was going to be both deaf and blind one day. I was scared, of course, but when you've always seen and heard, you can't comprehend life any other way. Only in the past year have I begun to understand what complete silence and darkness could be like.

The problems started in sixth grade, when I couldn't see the chalkboard. I went to several ophthalmologists where I sat completely still through long tests with wires attached to my eyeballs. I kept thinking, all this just to get glasses? Eventually, the doctors determined I had retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disorder where the cells in the retinas slowly degenerate. They told my parents I'd be blind by the time I was an adult.

The diagnosis came as my parents were separating, and a new disagreement between them arose: how to break the news to me. They compromised, telling me I'd have difficulty seeing at night. But when you're 12, what does that mean? The whole thing didn't seem like a big deal to me.

A year later, my mom noticed that when she called me and my twin brother from downstairs, he'd answer but I wouldn't. The doctor just said, "No 13-year-old girl responds when her mother calls her."

Then tests confirmed my hearing was getting worse, too.


Share
This Is A Developing Story
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
Win a year’s supply of makeup products from Maybelline New York and a year’s supply of hair products from Kérastase.

Win a year’s supply of makeup products from Maybelline New York and a year’s supply of hair products from Kérastase.

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health News and Fitness Trends
The Rebel Diet

Born to eat wild? Have an on-again, off-again relationship with healthy eating? You'll love the latest weight-loss news.

Workout Trend Alert: Everybody Dance Now

Can sweatin' to the '90s also get you in shape? Jennifer Goldstein kicks it old school.

Cleansing's Dirty Secret

Touted for myriad health benefits, chic juice diets are all the rage, but in their quest to detox and lose weight, some women — call them juicerexics — are hitting the bottle to dangerous degrees.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue