Never let obstacles stand in your way.
There’s a group called the WFPF that has a slogan I love: “Know Obstacles, Know Freedom.” I think it particularly resonates with me because of the various issues I’ve had to face over my life, the most serious of which is living with a condition called Ocular Myasthenia Gravis.
I woke one morning in the Spring of 2010 with a bad case of double vision. I had no idea what was causing it, I just knew it gave me bad headaches and made it impossible to see. After consulting a local eye doctor, I was referred to a neurologist and then to a hospital for further examination. Words like “Tumor” got bounced around, and I began to fear for the worst.
When the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis came back, I was surprised to learn my own body had turned against me. If you’re not familiar with the condition, MG causes your body’s white blood cells to think musculature in your body is a bad thing. Your white blood cells start to attack the muscles in your body, causing anything from double vision (my eyes won’t track properly as a result) to in extreme cases losing your ability to perform basic functions like swallowing and walking. It’s a treatable condition, and one that doesn’t have any warning signs before manifestation.
Faculty and staff at my law school were sympathetic to my position and told me that if I wanted to take time off to “heal,” then I could. I politely told them I’d be taking my 3L finals wearing an eyepatch. When I studied for the July 2010 Bar Exam, I told my bar exam mentor that I wasn’t content to “take time off” for the Bar because of my condition--I planned to study and pass the July Bar and be sworn in as soon as possible.
I took my finals wearing an eyepatch. I kept that same eyepatch in my pocket during the July 2010 Bar Exam. Two years plus later, I’m a practicing attorney and mediator, and I never once let my “condition” get in my way. I have to take medication daily to fight back the issues caused by my case of MG, but those conditions are going into remission and I never once let the issues caused by my bout with this disease get in the way.
The point I’m trying to make is this: You, the person reading this right now, may have some obstacle in your life that has you questioning whether it’s going to be worth it all. You may have questions as to if you need to give up and throw in the towel, or fight on. I’m here to tell you: Nothing is worth giving up on, especially if it’s your dreams. Fight. Fight long and hard for what you want, and in the end you’ll succeed.
It’s those of us with obstacles that know what life is truly like, because we have to find our ways over, under, or through them. We are the free, and we should be thankful for it.
UPDATE: As of May, 2014, my condition is in remission. I have been told it could return at any time, but the worst is over. Never let any obstacle slow you down.