This is an open letter to Andrew Taylor to share.

My name is Yvonne, I am from Victoria, I am 74 years old


On the 18/8/18 my husband and I set off on a trip around Australia.

Before leaving I went to the doctor who didn’t think I was well enough to go.

But, I said we had planned the trip for a long time, and I was going.

Unfortunately the further we went the worse I became.

My body felt as though everything was breaking down.

I couldn’t think and walking took every bit of strength I had.

I had continual chest pain that was frightening especially as we were on roads that went on for ever without a car or building in sight.

When ever my husband decided to pull over I would be screaming because I thought I was falling off the edge of the road or the car was rolling towards the edge of the road.

I was in so much pain with my back and neck.

Everything on me decided not to work properly. 

I wanted to go to the toilet continually.

Sitting in the car for long hours was a nightmare.

I hated going into shops, I couldn’t find anything and the crowds and the noise made me feel so sick (I blamed the heat)

I knew my husband was disappointed in me and couldn’t understand.

He knew before we left something was wrong and I was getting worse but hoped by going away I would get better.  But I got worse.

I have had turns when ever I was under stress, which some thought to be epilepsy but after numerous tests at Monash Clayton.  Dr. Simon Bower head of the neurology department who I saw on the 25/6/2018 told me there was definitely no sign of epilepsy.

I have spent most of my life complaining about pain but according to all the tests there was nothing wrong with me, apart from my blood pressure which was always out of control.

The doctors said it was depression or fibromyalgia and kept giving me more and stronger medication which didn’t help as it only made me more tired.

29/9/18 we stayed at Karratha Caravan Park.  We were going to go for a drive but I had really bad chest pain so instead my husband drove me to the hospital.

I was so confused, I kept stuttering and wasn’t able to communicate properly or walk. I kept falling over.  I thought I had had a stroke.  The doctor asked me to walk down the hall but I couldn’t see to walk down hall as the hall appeared flat and there wasn’t any depth and I wasn’t near anything I could hang onto.

The doctors told me I had (Olivopontoncerebellar atrophy or OPA )

The doctors wanted to fly me down to Perth or back to Monash Clayton in Melbourne Victoria but I couldn’t let my husband travel from Western Australia to Korumburra Victoria on his own so I said no.  So the doctors gave me more and stronger medication and off we went again but more or less heading straight for home, which was disappointing.

25/10/18 we made it to Albany.

My husband wanted to go to the information centre in Albany, a lady there asked me what’s wrong and I said I couldn’t see, she advised us to see Andrew Taylor at Albany Spectacle Makers.  My husband didn’t wait to be told twice and dragged me up to see Andrew Taylor.  I didn’t believe for one minute he would see me without an appointment but the receptionist filled in a form for me as I couldn’t and Andrew walked past and told me to go into his room then told me to walk out again and back.  I sat down and in my words Andrew went fiddle, fiddle with his optical equipment then told me to walk out.  When I came to the end of the reception room I stood looking out the door.  My first words were I can see.  For the first time in my life I could see.  Every time I think back at that very special moment I cry.  People in the waiting room were laughing and when I walked back my husband was crying and he just couldn’t stop crying.

A few weeks before the doctors had given a death sentence and now in the blink of an eye Andrew Taylor had given me a life I have only dreamed of.

Andrew had to explain to me about 3D, apparently part of my problem, due to muscles behind the eye not being in line.  Like head lights on a car the lights have to be in correct alignment or you can’t see the road.  My eyes could not focus properly. Andrew stood at the door and showed me the street outside in away I had never seen it before.  Everything was so unbelievably clear.

Andrew had a waiting room full of people yet he took the time to help me and the people understood and didn’t complain.

Andrew made up reading and distance glasses for me before I left and advised me to wear noise cancelling head phones to block out noise which interfered with my eyesight.  I had to train my brain to work because up until than I was using my hearing to help me get around.

That night I was too scared to sleep in case I woke up and found it was all a dream.

I found myself putting the distance glasses on and off while looking at leaves on trees, and seeing the leaves move towards me.

I have thrown away all my medication, my blood pressure is great, I am back driving, no more fuzzy heads, I can go in the car and enjoy the drive.  I have been able to knit though I have a problem with the very fine work I love to do.  I can work in my garden without falling over.  I can stand in the kitchen and cook a meal without it taking all day.  I still have a small problem with stairs I can go up but have trouble going down.  I am handling heights a lot better but wouldn’t go out the “Gap” in Albany.  I made a mistake by not wearing my head phones when I went shopping at Christmas and found myself becoming very confused by all the noise.

We stayed in Albany until the 17/11/18 to allow my brain to work with the glasses and for Andrew to improve my glasses and make up bifocal glasses for me.

People who know me can’t get over the change and my husband has told everyone he has a new wife after 57 years.

It has been a learning experience, I have found myself doing things I never dreamt I could or would do.  I have never felt so well or so completely happy.

I will never be able to repay Andrew for the gift of sight he has given to me.

I am only too happy to share my unbelievably experience at any time and to anyone who will listen even my dentist.