Skip to Main Content
Maggie Kress is a ZoomText user who credits our software with making her feel like a sighted person when she uses it. She has set up her own website with the help of ZoomText and has written an article on her blindness and how she has coped with it. “I give ZoomText full credit for me being able to stay active today,” says Maggie. She asked that we share the article with other ZoomText users, and we think you’ll find it inspirational:
“In today’s environment, we need all the positive thoughts that we can think. Without positive thoughts we fall into a negative trap - a trap that is hard to pick ourselves up from. It took me many years before I found the only way I could continue to survive was to think positively. In my younger years, I always worried what other people thought and what they thought about me.
I have been blind in my left eye since I was 7 years old. It was caused from Toxoplasmosis, which is a parasite that comes from cats. That is the reason that pregnant women are told not to empty litter boxes. At 7 years old, I had no idea why I could not see out of my left eye. We are talking about 1944 when you were not taken to the doctor unless it was very serious. I did not know they had eye specialists back then, so I thought this was normal. When I turned 13, my right eye was starting to go and I could no longer see the blackboard. My mother thought that I just wanted glasses because it was a fad in those days. Now I don’t want anyone thinking my parents were uncaring. Quite the contrary, they were very caring parents, but a specialist cost a lot of money and we barely had enough to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. Back in those days only the man worked outside the home. This was wonderful because I had my mom home all the time. I knew I could always depend on her when I needed her the most.
She took me to the eye doctor and he told her there was nothing he could do, that I was totally blind in my left eye. She started crying not realizing how serious it was. The doctor could not tell me what caused it, guessing an injury, a fall or a virus. I went several years before I had a name to put with it. I did everything any other child would do - I played softball and did not know until later years why I could not hit or catch a ball. They put me in the pitchers spot so I could play. When I turned 16 I wanted to drive a car, so I went for my driver’s license. During the eye test, they asked me what number the arrow was pointing to and I said ‘what arrow?’ They knew immediately that something was wrong, so needless to say I failed. I cried but they told me if I could get a doctor’s certificate stating I could drive with one eye, they would give me a license, so that is what I did. I had to be restricted to a side view mirror and glasses.
In 1964 I met my soul mate, and we married in 1965. I worked a full time job in research at a tobacco firm in Kentucky. I had our first daughter in 1967, our second daughter in 1968 and our youngest daughter in 1971. In 1978, my husband was sent out of state. It was only for a few weeks, but the weeks turned into months so the girls and I joined him in Albany, Georgia. The assignment ran out and work was short in Kentucky so he was given an option to go to Toronto, Houston or Los Angeles. He chose LA. That leads me to the start of my Positive Thinking. One night while driving the freeways, I noticed I could not see the passenger side of the car. I thought I was just under a lot of stress because I was supervisor over 3 shifts in the Quality Control Department of a laminating corporation. I was on call whenever the shift worked, which was 24 hours a day. I lived 30 miles from my work so I was driving in the dark both ways. I forgot to tell you that I finally got a name for my blindness in my left eye. It is called Toxoplasmosis which I described earlier. I also learned the parasite can go dormant in your body. It should have taken both eyes, but for some unknown reason it only took the one. It can also go to the heart and other major organs but only my eyes were affected. Back to the point, I really thought that my Toxo had resurfaced. I went to the eye doctor right away and they did a MRI on my eye but could not tell me what it was. I continued working and driving the freeways until one night I had a very difficult time finding my way home because it was dark and I could not see the lines on the road.
Shortly thereafter, I resigned from my position and set out to find something closer. The town we lived in was small at the time and had very few places to get a job. I was sent to Loma Linda Hospital where they diagnosed it my condition as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). It is a progressive eye disease with no cure. I knew some day I would be legally blind, but I did not let that stop me. I went to a local company that imported speaker components and I was hired as a Quality Control Supervisor. I did not mention my eye condition at that time because I wanted to prove to them and myself that I could do a good job. I had 10 Hispanics that worked under me, I did not speak Spanish and they spoke very little English. We had two words that we used bueno and malo, which means good and bad in English. They would point to the defect so I could see it or feel it. My central vision was very good then, but I had lost some of my side vision and was losing the rest gradually. I did this for several years until I was no longer able to work.
In 1993, my husband took a position in Alabama. I did not want him to drive by himself so I rode with him. I had to give up driving in 1989. This was hard because you feel your freedom is taken away. I am a very independent person and always like doing things for myself and not depending on others. When we got to Alabama, I really liked it and decided to go back to California and sell our home and move there with my husband.
After being out of work and on disability, I decided I needed to do something so I thought about Avon. It was something I could do from home or walk around the neighborhood. My daughter, who also moved there, took me around to drop off my brochures. Avon gave me a purpose so I would not just sit and watch TV all day. As you can see my POSITIVE THINKING was getting stronger. I no longer feared what people thought about me and focused on being a better person. You see you MUST think and care for yourself first. This sounds very selfish but it is not. If you have self confidence, you can help others. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. I was always worrying what other people thought, but when I turned 50, I realized my life was more than half over and I needed to worry less. Worry does not solve anything. If you keep a positive outlook, you are able to figure out what you need to do in order to solve a problem. Some problems cannot be solved. We need to either accept and move on or find another solution.
Several years later, my husband had to go on disability. He was the major breadwinner in the house, so our finances took a dump. Normally, this would upset me so much that I could no longer think of a way out. We sold our house on a lease option and they defaulted on us. We had no alternative but to file for bankruptcy. This was very hard for me since I always made sure our bills were paid on time. The lawyer assured us that this was the reason bankruptcy was formed. I decided to look at the things we had lost as just stuff that could be replaced later or not at all.
Our middle daughter and her husband bought a farm in Missouri. She did not like it because it was too rural, so she asked if we would rent from them and they would keep it as investment property. When this happened, I thought there goes my Avon. I had made Presidents Club for the past few years and I thought there is no way I can do it there because there are no homes close by and I knew no one. The first year I made it by 11 dollars.
Now we have lived here for six years and I have not only made Presidents Club but Honor Society for the past 3 years. So you see if you keep POSITIVE THINKING you can accomplish your goals. Negative thoughts just close your mind to any good thoughts.
I have reached the point that I can no longer do my Avon. It requires a more sight than I have. To give you some idea, the amount of sight I have today is best described by this: A normal sighted person has 170 degrees of field in each eye, I only have 3 degrees in one eye and it is very cloudy. My ZoomText is my life saver. It makes me feel like a sighted person.
I have not given up Avon completely. I use some of the products and still have one helper. I still call reps that have problems and help them with those problems. However, I can no longer keep up my leadership and the quotas to make Presidents Club.
Knowing the importance of ZoomText and the computer for keeping my mind active, I found another way to make extra income. It can be done online and the support is unbelievable. They are more like family. Everyone has the same goal and that is to Own Their Own Life. I would like to share this new found family with you. If you are working for a home-based business, it shows you what you should be looking for to succeed. It has expanded my Positive Thinking. All training is FREE. The site is http://maggiekress.com. This free ebook will save years of frustration. No companies or products are mentioned. It is just to show you how you can make extra money with no catches.
Being blind is not easy, but it is not the end. We can rise above it and accomplish anything we want. The possibilities are endless if we keep POSITIVE THINKING.”