Imagine every woman in your family being told that it was likely they would lose their sight – that’s the terrible prospect that Bellshill woman Lynn Gordon and her two sisters faced.
Lynn has now told her story in the book ‘How One Family’s Life Was Devastated Bit By Bit’ which she wrote by herself despite going blind.
Retinitis pigmentosa has been traced back 160 years in Lynn’s mum Alice’s side of the family and would eventually claim Alice’s sight along with that of her three sisters, her three daughters, Lynn, Elaine and Joyce, and two of her sister’s children.
As if losing their sight was not bad enough, Lynn’s dad Derek (known as Spike) was is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and just weeks later Alice was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Following Alice’s death in 2015 Lynn spent the next few years writing her story using a programme called Pages on her i-Pad to speak each letter as she typed it.
Lynn, who is originally from Liverpool but moved to Bellshill in 1982 with her husband Stewart, said: “After Mum died I wanted to get a lot of things off my chest, to see my mum deteriorate as she did was a real struggle.
“I do think being able to tell my story has really helped me deal with everything that happened and I was so thrilled to have it published last year.”
Lynn, who worked in the railway industry for more than 20 years, says the family tried everything over the years to save their sight.
She said: “From my early teens I always knew I would lose my sight at some point, it started with not being able to see the blackboard.
“In my early 20s I started working in an office and used a big magnifying glass. Eventually we had to get specialist equipment from the employer service as my sight got worse and worse.
“I wasn’t scared by losing my sight as such, but it was definitely frustrating that I couldn’t do things and in time I had to stop work.
“I remember in 1977/78 the whole family went to Switzerland because Mum heard there was a doctor who could maybe help us.
“She and her sisters were too far along, but I had a serious of daily injections in my eye and an implant which I am sure did close down the progress, but sadly couldn’t hold it back forever.”
Lynn admits the wider family was broken during her parent’s illnesses, but the three sisters have retained a strong bond and Elaine and Joyce as well as their cousin Janet cannot wait to find out what was written.
She said: “Sadly the turmoil and stress would lead to the destruction of our extended family, but I am still close to my sisters.
“They really want to read the book, although they know what is in it obviously, and volunteers from the RNIB are currently making an audio version.”
Lynn is now working on her first novel having discovered a love for writing.
She said: “It started almost like therapy, but now I really love writing and when I get finished I hope I can take what I learned from the process of getting a book published to get my novel into print too.”
Lynn will be at selling and signing her book at Tesco Bellshill on March 22, with a donation from sales going to the Guide Dogs Association.
‘How One Family’s Life Was Devastated Bit By Bit’ is also available from Amazon.