We Can Do Hard Things
Last updated: December 2022
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.
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.
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