It was a quiet, rainy afternoon when I left the first grade for my muscle biopsy. There were grey curtains, fluorescent lights, and a giant window facing the darkness outside after they took a tissue sample from my puny left arm. I stayed for a week and had many tests to determine my condition. I was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The disheartening news came as a terrible shock. Along with our recent immigration to Canada, it was almost unbearable for my parents. Mom cried so much, and more when they suggested cutting my tendons. However, only one question was on their minds: “What if a cure was found and there was a chance that Ricky could walk again?”
With great hope, they tearfully refused. Ransomed in emotion, they couldn’t tell anyone in the family. I knew in my heart that something was wrong, but only cared about the ice cream they promised when leaving the hospital.
I never concerned myself with the technicalities of my diagnosis because the disease meant nothing to me. It was nothing more than a challenge that I needed to overcome, while I just wanted to continue being a kid. Perhaps naivety played a significant role, but the will to fight defined my hope, to get better. I kept going because no other options were available. It was all that I knew as a six year old boy. I wasn’t letting anything get in the way.
And the same mindset extends to this very day, as I fight against contractures that try taking away even more. Every day and night, with the help of nurses and loved ones, my limbs are stretched, in spite of the agony endured. I remain grateful for the physical abilities that are still in my possession. Holding innocence close to my heart, I refuse to surrender, regardless of the circumstances.