Blog : Gina’s story (Part II)

by: Dr Gina Sampson

Finding out that you have Retinitus pigmentosa (RP) is always a shock, we rely on our eyes without question.

My glorious future lay spread before me, drivers licence in my hand, a rich medical career, travel, the Arts, marry a Professor, beautiful babies . . . you know what girls are like!

And then, in five stunned minutes, it was gone; I went into shock in Adderley Street and found myself in Stuttafords with a stranger, a God-given lady and cups of tea asking me  what had happened. Never forget the people who appear unexpectedly  in your life and make things better. I am so grateful, and I wish I could extend my work of support at hospital  eye outpatients to ease those terrible moments.

So I drove home, angry by this time. Opthalmologists examined  my eldest sister and my youngest sister were both easily diagnosed with RP.  Sister number 3 was fine.

One day quite soon, the full Genome Study will reveal all.

Pay attention dear reader, our family history of RP is still a mystery. My Great grandparents on both sides , NO RP reported. My  grandparents on both sides, NO RP, BUT my eldest aunt had one of those” RP moments” , aged nine and was diagnosed . Her 2 sisters had  NO RP symptoms (night-blindness) no RP signs in the retina. The baby sister was my beautiful mother.

So what did I do ?  I worked at the National Pathology Laboratories in Cape Town, saved my pennies and boarded an ocean liner for England —and I didn’t tell anyone about RP

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