I write about Disability, Chronic Illness, Lifestyle, Self-Employment, Personal Finance, and Personal Development.
I was born in Kyoto, Japan, and immigrated to the United States as a daughter of an expat at 7 years old. Since then, I’ve spent the majority of my life in the East Coast, learning to adapt to the dual-cultures of being a first generation immigrant.
A month after my 21st birthday, I was diagnosed with Cranial Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) – a vascular malformation in the brain. The diagnosis came as an aftermath of an unexpected Grand Mal Seizure a few months prior.
During winter break of my senior year of college, I had craniotomy (brain surgery) to remove 3 AVMs from their hiding places, in hopes of preventing further seizures – and more importantly – strokes.
Vascular Malformations in the brain, like AVMs, increase the likelihood of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH) – a type of hemorrhagic stroke.
As results of the brain surgery, I developed Brain Injury, Executive Function Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder.
Suddenly, I went from an overachieving A-student studying to become a Special Education Teacher, to relying on the Disability Support Services (DSS) at my university to help me get my degrees.
The irony wasn’t lost on me. But I credit a large portion of my ability to regain my independence and become a successful career woman on my trainings. I became, as it turned out, my own disabled student: I had to “teach” myself how to learn, function, and excel.
I graduated with my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Special Education a few years later, and moved to New York City 🗽 in pursuit of… Something. I wasn’t quite sure what yet.
With my life-threatening medical condition, life-threatening brain surgery, and resulting disabilities, I was quite confident that if there were any railroads laid out for my grand “Life Plan,” I had squarely fallen off the tracks.
Strangely enough, I felt… Liberated. I spent half a year looking for a job, and landed on my first full-time gig: Junior IT Helpdesk Engineer. Did I have any experience in tech? Nope. Did I particularly care? Nope.
I no longer had a “railroad track” to walk to play out my “Life Plan.” I was suddenly free to take the steering wheel and invent a completely new path!
A few years into my career in tech, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and have been on chemo medication to contain the symptoms ever since. The impact of the realization that I was yet again at the mercy of my body’s attempts to ruin my life was swift and profound. I knew I had to make a decision that will once again change the direction of my Life.
I began to take my Personal Finance seriously, and on my 30th birthday, put in my letter of resignation to quit my full-time job as a Systems Administrator at a tech startup in New York City.
Now, I write. I want to share my story. I want to share my experiences.
And I want to be the voice at the back of every tired person’s mind that whispers, “Your life is hard of hardships, but there is a way – perhaps not the way you you ever imagined for yourself, but definitely an alternative – for you to thrive.”
Life is a journey, and there indeed is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are an editor of a publication and would like to discuss me writing for you, I’d love to hear from you! Please shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!