This month, I have an absolutely delightful Friday Friend guest for you! I’ve been featuring glimpses of her throughout Blindness Awareness Month in my newsletters. Now I’m excited to share the details of her story through our interview.  In fact, I’m releasing my Friday Friends column a couple of days early this month to immediately follow up on her book release.

Meet Pamela Edwards, author or Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Journal Journey with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Can you briefly tell us about your sight loss journey and some of the obstacles you have overcome?

I was diagnosed in 1991 at the age of 33.  I was a single mother of three young children.  I had 15 degrees of tunnel vision then. Now I have about six degrees.  I was told I would be totally blind in five to ten years and there was no cure or prevention.  This was before the internet and there weren’t any resources for help or support.

That was 30 years ago and I can still see.  I went from tragedy, waiting for total darkness to triumph, realizing I can see today and I’m okay.

What interests and hobbies do you pursue?

Last year I received an embroidery machine and have absolutely fallen in love with the creations I can make.  I have been sewing for years and have described that freedom in my book, of how it’s something I can do with the limited central vision I have remaining.

I also love playing music.  I have played the piano, flute, mandolin and Native American flute for years.

Also, kayaking during the summer months brings a great joy of freedom.  I cherish quiet times in nature, either walking or sitting on my dock by the river.  I also do my workouts on my elliptical machine.

Oh, kayaking! I have a story in Cane Confessions about my experience of Kayaking with a friend. I love it that you still enjoy that freedom!

What are your core values?

My core values are to be true to myself and find joy.  Instead of a disability, I have possibilities – possABILITIES!  What can I do NOW with positive love energy?

What type of work do you do?

I started my own massage business in 1995 – Horizon Therapeutic Massage.  I am now retired after running it for 22 years.  I still do some massages for friends because I love it so much.

Can you tell us a little about your book, when it was released?

My book – My Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Journal Journey with Retinitis Pigmentosa, is being released October 25, 2021.  I have chosen this month because October is International Blindness Awareness month

The name of the book, My Kaleidoscope Eyes, came when I realized that I feel as if I am looking through a kaleidoscope.  There’s an opening at the end but also colors and lights on the sides.  Although I don’t see in my peripheral vision, my eyes react to light with flashes throughout causing a constant fireworks display, especially when there are changes to light like going from room to room.

I also think of the facets in a kaleidoscope representing each segment of my day, each person I meet, each NOW that I encounter.  My kaleidoscope world is empowering when I focus on my positives.

Another item I would like to share with your readers is what I pass on to those I meet: a heart hug.  When I embrace a friend, I connect our left sides together instead of the right.  This way our hearts are connecting, a heart hug.

I love the story behind your title and the symbolisms it represents to you.

What motivated you to write your memoir?

My hurt and loneliness motivated me to write.  I felt as if I were the only one in the world going through this pain.  I wanted to be a resource for others living with RP and feeling lost. My book started over ten years ago when I realized that the story I wanted to tell was already written in my journals.

What has been the most challenging part of your book journey?

My biggest challenge was going back to those days when I was at the beginning of RP.  I went back into my journals for the first time ever and felt the agony of those moments.  At times, I had to step away for months until I found the courage and confidence to return and finish going through the pain.

Now a little more about your interests!

What is your favorite getaway?  Any particular reason?

Kayaking and walking are my favorite getaways.  These are the only things I can do with total freedom.  I don’t have to ask for assistance.  I don’t have to wait for transportation.  I get to make choices for myself without having to wait for others’ opinions.

What has been your greatest challenge to date?

I think for most people with RP, the greatest challenge is not driving anymore.  I have lost that freedom of going anywhere anytime.  I have to rely on other people’s time limits.  There are some bad drivers out there that I prefer not to ride with.

Other challenges are finding something I’ve dropped, running into objects and choosing colors of fabrics.

Boy, can I relate to the transportation issue and dropping things drives me mad!

What do you feel the proudest of achieving?

“My proudest achievement is finding out how much I love myself.  By going back through my journals and embracing who I was, who I am and joining myself as one, I found I have a strength and courage that I never would have found without writing my book.”

What message would you like to leave with my readers?

My story is about RP and the vision I have remaining, but it is so much more. I discovered that I have so many gifts and so much more to offer when I focus on what I can do.  My friends often comment that they forget I’m going blind because of what I can do.

I want readers to know that no matter what is going on in my life, I can find happiness and you can too.  I try to focus on the positive and bring that light to others.  Life has so much joy in every moment and I’m excited for what is yet to come. I have found self confidence in who I am.

Where can my readers find out more information?

My book is available through Amazon and Bronzewood Books.  You may reach me at  pamelaedwardsauthor@gmail.com I would love to hear from you.

There you have it, friends! A little bit bigger glimpse of Pamela’s story. But to understand her and her journey even more so, why not purchase a copy of her book, just out on October 25? Here is the link:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIO

My Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Journal Journey with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a memoir about Pamela Edward’s life journey with the genetic condition. RP is a degenerative eye disease that causes the narrowing of a person’s field of vision. In sharing her story, she hopes to help anyone who has been diagnosed with RP. This book is to also help their loved ones understand the journey the person is on.

Pamela lives in Longville, Minnesota with her husband and enjoys all the wonders of nature in the northern part of the state. She enjoys camping with friends and quiet times beside the river in her backyard. You may reach her at pamelaedwardsauthor@gmail.com 

You have just read “Spotlight on Pamela Edwards: Vision-Impaired Author, Living in Joy” by Amy L. Bovaird. © October 26, 2021. All rights Reserved.