HOUSTON - Nine years ago while serving the nation with the Navy Seals in Afghanistan, a blast from an improvised explosive destroyed one of Dan Crenshaw's eyes and quite nearly took the other.
"I've never had a normal eye. I've always had a severely damaged eye," Crenshaw said. "I wake up in the morning and I can't see anything. That's my normal state. Because I have no lens, it was destroyed in the blast."
Over time, scar tissue from the wound slowly pushed beneath his retina causing it to detach - a crisis made more serious, as the now Congressman is quick to point out because he has "no backup."
"It's terrifying when you've only got one left and you know, I had to make peace with just going and living in blackness before I went into surgery," said Crenshaw.
After a full week spent lying face down to allow a gas bubble to press his tattered, but surgically repaired retina in place, Congressman Dan Crenshaw is slowly, steadily returning to duty, albeit with a sight that's still extremely impaired.
"It's like wearing a dive mask and then you put a bunch of bubble bath solution in it and then rub some Vaseline on the outside of the mask. That's kind of what I see. It's very annoying to say the least," said Crenshaw.
While the prognosis is still uncertain, healing continues and Crenshaw's surgeon is cautiously optimistic.
"They've told me over and over again, I should not be able to see because of these injuries. It doesn't make any sense to them, so I'm lucky. It's a true miracle and maybe part of that is the good positive vibes and prayers around me," said Crenshaw.
It's still tough territory to navigate, even when you've served with others who suffered worse or didn't make it home at all.
That said, Crenshaw is deeply practiced in perseverance.
"Perspective is important. Everyone likes to thinks that their problem is the biggest problem in the world and I assure you it's not . Frankly, I don't care what your problem is it is not the biggest problem and I assure you that others have dealt with it and they are dealing with it better and that is a really hard truth for people to hear, but it's a truth that everybody has to hear," said Crenshaw.
The Congressman says during the first critical weeks of his recovery he forced himself to "disengage" completely from politics filling the hours with audiobooks ranging from mystery novels to theoretical physics.