Danyel Goldsmith is one of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind’s (CLB) newest clients and exhibits a great attitude about her recent loss of sight. In August of 2012, Danyel began noticing black spots in her right eye and immediately got her vision checked. It took 8 months to diagnose the issue, a brain tumor. Following surgery on April 24, 2013 to remove the tumor, Danyel had no vision at all. Due to swelling and other conditions associated with brain surgery, there was hope that the vision loss was temporary, but by June doctors discovered that during the surgery, the brain tumor had moved and severed the optic nerves.
Less than two weeks later on July 1, just 68 days after her surgery, Danyel returned to work at her position with the Department of Defense where she has worked for 17 years after serving in the United States Army. Danyel is currently the Manpower Branch Chief for the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Her employer has been very supportive and accommodating of her by making her workplace as accessible as possible including the addition of tactile signs and keypads. Additionally, they have welcomed the use of accessible software such as a screen reader so she can continue to use the internet and Microsoft Office programs.
In addition to Danyel’s professional adjustment, as a semi-professional photographer, who extensively traveled internationally, she is adjusting to not being able to see her photographs anymore and hoping to spark a new passion in her personal life. Danyel not only lives alone and independently, but with pets she cares for, and Danyel continues to enjoy cooking even after her vision loss.
With CLB, she is focusing on orientation and mobility training in learning how to use landmarks and sounds to navigate outside. Her biggest realization that has transformed her recovery is that she now celebrates the small victories. Considering that she has lived a full life in the past, celebrating getting lunch at the food court or successfully running a report in Excel didn’t seem like a big deal in the past, but it is now acknowledged, which is boosting her confidence.
Danyel has made rapid progress in her rehabilitation and most people in her life have been extremely helpful and open in supporting and inspiring her. Danyel wants to make the people who support her proud, both in her personal and professional life, and has certainly done so thus far. In the near future, Danyel plans to resume training for a sprint triathlon and is considering joining the Out of Sight Dragons after she moves to Alexandria.