Hello and welcome to spring! For those of you who don’t know me, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Sharon Donovan and I write stories of inspiration and suspense. I will be posting tid bits all day long about myself and my books, and I hope you join in the fun. I’ll be posting some trivia contests and giving prizes. So grab your favorite cup of coffee and join me. I’m drinking a cup of hazelnut, one of my favorite brews.

I hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing Easter. Even with the rebirth of the earth after a long winter, the birds chirping in the trees and the first crocuses popping their heads out of the soil, Easter takes me back to when I was six years old. I was rushed to Children’s Hospital three days before the holiday, nearly in a coma and was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. I spent the next two weeks in the hospital learning how to give insulin shots. From this day on, there would be no chocolate, sweets or ice cream.

As the years went by, I learned of the many complications associated with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy leading the list. This condition causes fragile blood vessels to grow and rupture in the retina and can lead to progressive blindness. Due to the early onslaught of the disease, I was at high risk for developing retinopathy.

And at the age of twenty-one, I experienced the first bout with blindness. I worked as a legal secretary in the Family Division where I prepared cases for judges. But painting was my passion, my life. Losing myself in tranquil settings was my sanctuary, a place where I could escape and not think of the threat of blindness. But as the years went on, more and more vision faded, and painting became increasingly more difficult. My heart wept. I underwent surgeries for the next two decades. Vision came and went. But through it all, I painted through magnification.

When a doctor suggested I have an operation using a new technique to remove scar tissue which had formed on my retinas, I put my trust in him. Much to my shock, I came out of the surgery totally blind, with nothing other than a few bright lights flashing. Devastated, my world as I knew it came to a screeching halt.

With great reluctance, I enrolled in a sixteen week program for the blind and visually impaired where I learned mobility, personal adjustment and the use of a computer with adaptive software, converting text to synthesized speech. Hope soared for the first time in years. With the aid of this screen reader, I can use all Window-based programs including the Internet, Microsoft and all its features, email and so much more. And through the gift of modern technology, I found the courage to compete in a sighted world I was once part of.

After completing this program for the blind and visually impaired, I enrolled in my local college for medical transcription. Almost immediately I knew it wasn’t for me, but I stuck with it. Can you imagine all those voices? There was my screen narrator and then there was the doctor’s voice on the tape, dictating. I felt as if I might snap. And not only that, but transcribing did nothing to stir my creative muse. As fate would have it, my life took yet another unexpected turn. Through creative writing classes, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting my pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.

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