Have you ever felt like something was holding you back from really living your life? I once felt the same way. Every. Single. Day. I couldn’t enjoy my life in the way that I wanted to because I was different from “normal people”.
Imagine being in elementary and having someone watch over you the whole school day. You go to recess, she tells you to stop or you’ll hurt yourself, or slow down or reminds you that you can’t play that way. After, you have to be taken out of class to take medication to keep you free from injuries, and having things be the same way outside of school. That was me. I felt like my walls were too small for me to explore, I was trapped in a box. I started to hate this part of me and wonder when I could enjoy myself like other kids. I hated that I was different from other kids in my neighborhood. This is what Hemophilia did to me. What that means is my blood doesn’t clot normally. What that looks like can be pretty awful.
For example, about 4 years ago, my brother and I were playing at the park downtown. The park had large game pieces for decoration. I stood up on one of them, looked over to the next one and told myself I could make the jump. I ran and jumped off into the air. As soon as I landed, my foot slipped and I injured my leg by hitting it on the side of the game piece. I thought I was fine at first so we went on with our day. As I was walking my leg began to ache really bad. I lift my pants leg up and my calf was swollen really bad, the whole thing was purple and bruised. We went home and I took my medication. I waited a week for it to get better but there was no result. A few days later my mom took me to the Hematology clinic. The nurses ran a few test on me. They told me I had an inhibitor. My medication wasn’t working properly for me so the healing took even longer after getting hurt. Not being able to walk, stand or even sleep the way you want to for almost a whole month, are somethings you wouldn’t want to live with.
I didn’t want to miss anymore days of school, so I was told to use a wheelchair until my leg was fully healed. The first day back at school after the incident was annoying for me. I had a lot of different people I knew, and some that I didn’t know, come up to me saying things like, “What happened?”, “How long until you can walk again?” or “Dang, I wouldn’t want to be you.” The entire time I wanted to respond, “Do you think I would want to be myself right now?”Day in, day out I have to suffer from my own life of living with a disorder I didn’t ask for. I can’t even go to school and perform simple tasks, such as writing or walking, without getting a messed up leg or having my finger having a spontaneous swelling. Yeah it seems like something small but knowing things like that will happen again constantly leaves no room forgetting used to it. Who would want to be me?
Throughout my life I’ve loved sports, watching and playing alike. My favorites are basketball and football because I understand what’s going on, unlike with other sports. Do you remember point of time when you were younger had that perfect career for the future in mind? I always wanted to be a football player. It didn’t matter what team I would play for, as long as it was a good team. My position, quarterback or Wide receiver. When I was old enough to play for a team, I asked my dad if he could sign me up for a neighborhood football team. I remember him looking at me and doing a short laugh. Then he saw that I was serious.
He told me what I always hear. “ Listen, I know you love football, I would sign you up tomorrow if I could. But you know you can’t play a sport like that, it’s too rough for you. Just try to look for something different, and?” There was no point of trying to argue and getting my point across. I wanted to hear something different like “Yeah you can play but just be careful” or “You’ll need extra gear to protect you.” I would’ve done anything to play football. The way I felt that day, it was truly heartbreaking. As life went on for me, I began to feel like I had no purpose, but to go to school and get good grades. I hid my pain deep down inside and accepted the box I was living in.
My freshmen year of high school, I took my father's advice and looked for different things I thought I would enjoy. I went to a few robotic club meetings at first but it was boring, really boring for me. Later in that school year, I started to go to art club because some of my friends thought I was really good. I did go to a couple art classes at Moore College of Art and Design back in middle school, so I thought why not improve my drawing skills. I enjoyed it but I didn’t stay for long. I felt like I was missing something. Something like the excitement, that adrenaline running through my veins. Competition. I wanted something that would keep me going and motivated. My sophomore year I tried out for a sport I wasn’t so good at, track & field. I was a little nervous at first, I was afraid I wasn’t fast enough but I tried out anyway. track & field wasn’t on the list of sports I couldn’t play, neither was baseball, but I felt more comfortable with track. My first year of track, I was disappointed with my performance. I have a lot to learn so I planned to continue my junior and senior year.
At this point of my life, being more mature and accepting that space I was stuck in for so long, helped me see that this box has so much to offer to me, and I was blinded by the things I wanted most. When everything I needed was right in front of my face. Growing up, I believe so much was given to me for having Hemophilia. I’m giving a big thank you to St. Christopher’s Hospital,Hematology specifically. They provide so much for me and my family, things such as being able to see different events for free. Santa and Channel 6 news coming to my home and giving us with amazing gifts twice, and being selected by Make-A-Wish Foundation. My wish was having a whole week vacation to Disneyworld and Universal Studios Florida. When there’s something bad in your life, you always have to look on the bright side. I believe God gave me this blood disorder for a reason and I just have to find it while I’m still young, instead of complaining all my life about how I can’t do certain things. I’m starting to understand, there's a lot of things I can do in the world and have accomplished. I once felt like hemophilia was holding me back from living my life, but being different can lead to different and amazing possibilities.