It is easy to find something wrong with yourself, and that will stop anyone from taking the next step in facing life. As a five years old boy, in a low-income family in a third world country, Iran, polio disease was contracted by an effective dose of vaccine. Polio disease changed my life entirely without being aware of the changes that I am going to face with the rest of my life. The question remains in my head. I never can answer this question of if I had this resiliency or I just was a fighter to stay alive with all these challenges or developed this character to survive?
As growing my childhood to young adult, I was in almost every activity as an average health child. Playing with other classmates in school and after school as my father was trying to get me off the ground as I was moving around with folded legs. At the age of 12, had different operations on my legs in Israel to see if any reactions on the nervous system would work. Unfortunately, no responses and back to the drawing board. I stayed there for six months, all alone in a foreign country. It was just two years later that this young and furious Iranian orthopedist doctor, now Professor Rezaian, with five significant risk-taking operations on my knees and hips, got me off the ground. This minimum change had a significant effect on my future. Now, at least, I could turn the lights on or off. A huge change in my life and endless opportunities there to grab.
All these obstacles that I had one after the other, I automatically thought they are part of my life rather why I have so many physical problems? This behavior of not asking why helped me to keep on going without any slowing down. I had no time to answer any of why questions that other people continuously ask themselves or the people around them.
After high school graduation, I left my home country, Iran, to America, to continue my education to become a physician. Unfortunately, too many unexpected obstacles with war the major one between Iran and Iraq. A devastating event in and out of my country. The school was out for many students like myself and me. International students without money are just impossible to survive. With minimum speaking English walked to the DMV, with four feet tall and a cane to support, asked the instructor if I can try to drive without any hand control devices on my car? Got my first respected answer of yes and I passed my test on the first attempt, a driver license without any restrictions. I think I always wanted to be treated like everyone else. Pity was not acceptable on both physical and mental attitudes in my life. High expectations of myself made me a stronger person with high standards in my life.
I purchased an automobile which usually is bought by very healthy and muscle image guys. I purchased a Ford Mustang 8 cylinder off the dealer showroom. No power window or power seat. I wanted to be like and treated like a physically healthy young adult. My challenges in life were now not even slowed me down but made my life fun and exciting. One day as I was shopping in a grocery store pushing the cart and knocking the tomato paste from the top shell into my cart, an attractive lady was following me while watching how I do get my cans. She was so impressed that she asked me if I would like to join her for dinner. The funny part was that I was not surprised, but my friends were.
After graduating in biology degree, started working for a university as a financial aid counselor and free tuition, got my MBA. Life continued with so many challenges and gained so many experiences in life. Never looked at me less than anyone else. Camping, dates, drawings, and playing musical instruments were just part of my daily life away from disability. Got married and stayed married for almost 20 years until four years ago it was time to get separated for better and personal reasons.
High standards and expectations were alongside my life. These two characters of my personality put me at a level that most everyone had to respect my life. I was and still am so proud of my nature that not too many people cannot recognize me. I used drawing as not just make me busy but also display the artistic character in my internal without participating in any art classes. Later on, at the age of 30, learned how to play a traditional Persian musical instrument with the help of master in Santoor, a traditional musical instrument.
The mystery and unknown part of all these activities and resiliencies, none were suggested by anyone such as any friend or psychologist to help me. I was and still am my own motivational and inspirations of my life without being aware of it.
About nine years ago, had a problem with the liver. To operate on liver, the heart had to be healthy and should tolerate the operation. The stress test did not pass on my heart, and I had to have heart operation as 5 of my arteries were clogged. Surgeon, shared his opinion of my surgery that I may die on the operating table. Without any hesitation or fear, I gave the doctor the energy of this is life, and either way, I am making the correct decision. If I die, I was right to take this action to stay alive, and if I come out of the operation, I still made the right move. With this to say, my heart surgeon mentioned in his report, “because of Ali’s attitude, I operated on him.”
After the operation, with plenty of time on my hand, I wrote a book called; I am like you which now it is on Amazon for sale. One of my good characters is to be flexible and go with the time–no restrictions in my activities. After my heart operation, we monitored the liver activities with MRI and watched the prognosis.
Four years ago, with the financial help of my best friend, I decided to go back to school to fulfill my ambition of being more helpful to society and human in total. I am expecting to earn my doctoral degree in psychology in a few months. While this was on the way, just a month ago, June of 2019, found out I have liver cancer. No break! I am not allowed to enjoy my life for too long. What is going on? Am I like the rest of the human under surveillances of life? While so many people are doing all kinds of illegal activities, nothing happens to them, either physically or mentally. I think there is no time for any questions except keep ongoing as I always been doing. I have no reasonable options except accept and continue life. In about two more months, around the end of August 2019, will have the MRI to find out about the chemotherapy that I had on my liver to see the result while getting my doctoral clinical psychologist degree.
Ali Kian, July 5th. 2019