Lifestyle Writing.

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!

Published Articles

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer and Technical Instructor. LinkedIn Learning and egghead Instructor. Arteriovenous Malformation, Brain Surgery, and Brain Injury survivor. Currently in remission for Rheumatoid Arthritis.