My diagnosis [of schwannomatosis] did not come until after my wife Dana and I had been dating a few months. She helped me research the right doctors and treatment options. People say everything happens for a reason, maybe falling in love happened at the right time for us to fight NF together. The happiest moment in my life, thus far, was when we got engaged. It was the first time I truly felt better in months. Happy moments are the milestones we measure a happy life by.
In 2016, my wife and I relocated to Hong Kong from New York City for an incredible career opportunity. When we discussed it with my family and doctors, they were at first very concerned, but soon realized that I should do whatever I would do under normal circumstances. So we did it - my wife, two dogs and turtle made the one-way trip in July 2016 - exactly two years after my initial diagnosis.
As a retail consulting sales leader, my job is very demanding. From making the numbers on a monthly basis, to interacting with our clients at functions around the world, things that seem "normal" for most executives are moments my entire family has rallied around me for. The biggest obstacle is the pain meter - I'm usually holding steady at a "6 out of 10" - my wife can tell when it spikes, but this creates challenges when commuting around the world's airports, staying in foreign places, and having to be on my game nonstop. The short answer on how I've gotten past this is: I haven't. I let my pain drive the inner voice that says "fight, you fool, fight!!" to such a point where I'm able to do it.
Adam Slackman, 40 years old, lives with schwannomatosis. A native New Yorker, he currently resides in Hong Kong with his wife Dana, where he works in consulting sales.