What would it be like to go blind spontaneously, and then suddenly get your sight back twenty years later? You no longer have to wonder, in “Unblinded: One Man’s Courageous Journey through Darkness to Sight” Kevin Coughlin’s story unfolds. When he was 36 he lost his sight due to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, a rare genetic condition, which he didn’t know he had – and for twenty years he was blind. But then his sight suddenly returned, because his optic nerve spontaneously regenerated. Why? No one knows, but the story of those twenty years will have you riveted, and then some. Traci Medford-Rosow is the co-author of this must-read book, helping Kevin tell this epic tale. We recently caught up with this dynamic writing duo to find out more about this story, and what’s coming next.
After reading your book one of my takeaways was the reminder of just how important it is to live in the moment. Can you tell our readers how you came to that realization during your years of being blind? Also when you got your sight back was it harder to stay in the moment?
My desire to live in the moment is rooted in years of entitlement during which I took everything for granted. I lacked gratitude and humility. Today, I’m only able to continue to live in the moment, if I focus and constantly remind myself to feel gratitude for even the smallest of blessings.
Now that I’m seeing the world with a fresh set of eyes, it is even easier to live in the moment, as I continually experience gratitude as I see sights that used to be dark to me.
In your book, you write that patience, prayer, and Turmeric were important parts of your journey can you tell us more about this and what it means to you?
I had always been exceedingly impatient. I was the stereotype fast paced, arrogant, annoyed New Yorker. The painfully slow progress of my healing has forced me to become more patient. It is progress, not perfection. A huge part of my healing has involved asking friends, relatives and even strangers to pray for me. Whenever I encountered someone who was shocked that I was suddenly walking without the aid of a guide dog or cane—I would say “please keep me in your prayers. If they seemed weirded out by that request, I would offer just please put some positive energy into the universe for me.”
Much of my early healing involved ingesting the herbs turmeric and cayenne pepper. They are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Taking three teaspoons of each daily for several years accelerated my cleansing, and sped up the return of my sight.
Traci you are the co-author of Unblinded, and I want to ask you a few questions. First what part of Kevin’s story touched you the most during the writing process?
The part of Kevin’s story that touched me the most was how he decided—and succeeded—in quitting drinking after he became blind. I always thought that if I had suddenly lost my sight, I would have started drinking, not stopped.
On a personal level Traci while working on Unblinded did you learn anything new about yourself that you can share with us?
While helping Kevin to write his story, the most profound thing I learned about myself was that I was happiest when I was focused on someone other than myself. This led directly to my efforts to help the homeless men and women of New York City during the pandemic which in turn led to the writing of my third book—UNSHELTERED LOVE. As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
“Unblinded: One Man’s Courageous Journey through Darkness to Sight” is available on Amazon, and Kevin and Traci are donating 50% of author proceeds to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.