My diagnosis [of schwannomatosis] did not come until I was 37 years old. My family was a rock, they helped me research the right doctors and treatment options. People say everything happens for a reason, so I accepted the diagnosis and went through over a year of constant MRI's, surgeries and trial chemotherapy treatments.
In 2016, after an important surgery on my leg to remove a softball sized tumor preventing me from sitting down, I was offered the opportunity to relocate to Hong Kong from New York City for an incredible career opportunity. When I 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 - me, my dog, and my 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" -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. He has since returned from Hong Kong and currently resides back in New York, where he works in consulting sales.