Person with determined face pushes boulder

We Can Do Hard Things

The one accurate stereotype about sickle cell warriors is how strong we are – though, we should not have to be. To exist as a minority in a world that is against you is in itself an act of resistance. We do that every day.

But that is not all the sickle cell warriors I know do. They are on here sharing their stories, starting businesses, writing best-selling books, and becoming health professionals. It is as if there is some unspoken expectation of excellence.

My journey to excellence

My motivation to become a doctor started as something simple. I wanted to be the person I needed as a child when I was sick. I wanted to be able to tell other kids with sickle cell that not only will they be okay, but they could also be absolutely anything they wanted to be.

So, I took on the hardest possible task in deciding to get my MD. And it has been so hard. Every step of the way a new challenge. Dealing with my health constantly in the midst of a highly stressful environment. But something pushed me to go on. It was the vision in my head of being able to tell a sickle cell warrior in pain in the hospital that I understood what they were going to – and truly meant that.

Because I do understand. I know what it’s like to have no one believe your pain. To miss out on things you wanted or needed to do because of a crisis. Or to feel as if no one around you could possibly understand or help you. I get it. And now, I’ve had that moment – so many times – and it never gets old. It keeps me going and is therapeutic to share in a similar way to writing about it.

Making it

Now, I’m so close to a finish line so many told me I would never reach. I honestly cannot believe it. Everything I have worked so hard for, despite so many moments of wanting to give up, I MADE IT. Wow.

Thank God because honestly, without Him I am not sure I would have made it. Now here I am, interviewing for residency at the programs of my dreams. I wonder if the little girl who set out on this path knew how it would turn out. I wish I could tell her it is going to be okay, more than, but I think she already knew.

Take control of your destiny

The moral of this long-winded story is to believe in yourself. No one can stop you except you. To all the haters, nay-sayers, and whoever else tries to get in your way, do not let them! Remember who you are: a WARRIOR. And know that every day you already do the hardest thing there is – exist.

I have chased this dream since I was 12 years old and now, nearly 15 years later I can almost reach it. You will all be calling me Dr. Halimat Olaniyan very soon. Can you believe it? I made it. And I am going to be celebrating BIG time. It is simply what I – we – deserve all the very best.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.