Above The Clouds. A Note From Gabby

I took a little photo trip to the mid-west a few weeks ago, my good friend Jennifer Parker, the lady behind Edible Politics needed some shots (and we needed to catch up too!) so I hopped on a flight to Chicago, one of my favorite places! More on that coming soon. The trip was productive, therapeutic and the places we visited were beautiful. It rarely felt like work, there is something magical about doing exactly what you love, it feeds the soul. On my flight back home, I felt totally rejuvenated and uncluttered. I had been working non-stop, really spreading myself too thin. I'd been kind of in denial about needing a break, only because I'm enjoying - and I'm very thankful for - the opportunities that have come my way, specially this past year. In mid air, on that flight, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and felt a great sense of peace. This note is a reminder to give yourself a break, nurture your mind and your soul. To surround yourself with people that aren't afraid to want more. To work hard for what you want and enjoy the process.



The recovery part of my surgery was long and uncomfortable. I had a hard time adapting to what was happening, not only on the inside but outwardly also. The post-surgery process took a toll on my confidence. I felt like I wouldn't get back to "normal" and would notice only little changes in how my eye looked as the time progressed, thinking that time wasn't healing me fast enough. Maybe time did not matter and my eye would never feel or look "normal" again. These thoughts were abundant, heavy and unwanted.

The little things that are different about my eye now are so small, and probably only visible to me but non the less, it was difficult. Today marks 5 months since the surgery, it felt as though I would never get here. I feel very thankful, most days I don't think about it and don't notice anything different in the appearance of my eye. Some days I do, and during those days I try to think positively about it, I loudly say I am grateful to have my sight, to be healthy and to continue to live my life submerged in the visual arts. I guess situations like these tend to humble us and open our eyes a bit more. When we truly take the time to observe our lives, I think most of us would say we are immensely fortunate. This is not something to take for granted, it is something to put to use, for a greater purpose.

Curve balls are a sure thing in life, it's only a matter of when. Remember to remain positive and to be open minded. It's a beautiful life, it's now your turn to remind others of this also.


Photo Taken May, 19th 2016. One Month Post Surgery.

Photo Taken May, 19th 2016. One Month Post Surgery.

Growing up and as an adult, my eyes have received their share of compliments, I blame it on the sweet genes my parents passed down to me. We all have a few favorite things about ourselves, along with the other few we wish we could change. For me, I love my eyes and they way they look, how they slightly change colors from light brown to hazel and almost green, depending on light and mood. It's taken me so long to share this, not entirely sure why but I've sort of been vacillating a bit on whether to share it or not.  A few months ago I started to see some blurry lines in my vision, only in my right eye. I became a little concerned, but not enough to make me act quickly. I made an appointment to see the eye doctor which was about two weeks away, I was okay with that, I was busy and really wasn't too worried. Suddenly, on a Monday morning, I woke up to find small shadows in my vision, the shadows and the blurry lines got my attention, I became concerned and a little scared. I called the doctor and they got me in the very next day. When these things happen, you always think that it's going to be something minor and you'll be back to your important projects in no time, that you're going in as a precaution and everything is going to be just fine. This was not the case, my eye doctor noticed something strange going on, he had an idea of what it was but needed to send me to a Retina Specialist immediately to confirm. I was given an address and was told to go there, right then.

I arrived at the Retina Specialist by the end of the day, they stayed open just to take a look at my eye. I spent a little over an hour doing some really interesting tests and after a while, the nice doctor entered the room and introduced himself. The first thing he asked was my age, followed by a concerning "You're too young to be in here Gabby, have you had any trauma to the eye area"? I knew something was wrong from his demeanor. He told me I had a retinal detachment, that this needed to be fixed immediately and that I was going in for emergency eye surgery first thing the following morning. Suddenly, the two big deadlines I had and the filming project I was working on that week had jumped down in my list of priorities, I couldn't do anything about it.

The next day we drove to Miami, to The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The overall experience was incredible, this hospital is rated number one in the world for these types of surgeries and I'm so happy that I was able to get this done here and fast, thanks to my doctor's contacts. The surgery went well but the recovery ahead was going to be a bit painful. I remember how painful the car ride home was and it makes me cringe, the worst pain I've ever felt. This whole thing was obviously something that I wasn't expecting, I had nearly perfect vision prior to this and my eyesight in the operated eye would never be the same. I had Scleral Buckling Surgery which would make me more nearsighted. This was something that I had to really adapt to as the weeks went by, my eyesight in the right eye was extremely blurry and I couldn't see much, only shapes and shadows. It was stressful and disheartening. I was told by my doctors that I would recover some of my sight as the weeks progressed but that it would never return to pre- surgery sight. Again, I had to adapt and accept it. The doctors also explained that my retina was detached very close to the Macula area, which is the center of the eye, and had we not acted as quick as we did, I could have lost my sight entirely.

Today, about four months post surgery, I am able to see much much more. I no longer only see shadows and shapes, I can see everything but with a blur to it because I am now nearsighted in that eye. Both of my eyes see in different ways, unless I'm wearing glasses or contacts, with those, I have perfect vision again (yay!). It is so amazingly cool the way the human body is designed, and the way the brain also adapts to the information it receives. I'm in awe of the experience and the things I've had to learn during this process. I am told that my eye will continue to heal for about 6 months to a year post surgery. This whole experience has served as a reminder. A reminder to listen to your body, to never get so caught up in your work or routine that you neglect yourself. It has reminded me that change isn't always the end of the world and that we must adapt and re invent the way we do some things to get through the obstacles that life throws in our paths. I've learned quite a bit, a lot about acceptance and balance. With that said, pay attention to the signs and take care of yourself because without YOU nothing on your lists will matter, put yourself first and conquering your goals will become a little easier, trust me.