Was a sickle cell diagnosis my ‘canon event’?

Viewing life through the lens of anime

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by Dunstan Nicol-Wilson |

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I took a break recently and rewatched some of my favorite anime and cartoons. There’s a popular idea in these types of media called a “canon event,” which is like a “what if” concept. The idea is that a canon event must happen for a person to become who they are meant to be.

This concept is a trope in which a protagonist wouldn’t be a hero if a particular event hadn’t happened. For example, if Bruce Wayne’s parents hadn’t died, would he have become Batman? Or if Uncle Ben hadn’t died, would Spider-Man be the hero he turned out to be?

In real life, these moments don’t need to be as dramatic as these examples, but I do believe they happen to everyone. Some canon moments are bigger than others, but often, one only realizes they’ve happened in hindsight. Upon reflection, many sickle cell crises I’ve had have resulted in critical moments, such as meeting new people or making certain decisions.

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Speaking out about my sickle cell diagnosis has helped me heal

Life’s course

In my final year of college, I worked a temporary job at Christmastime. If I had performed well, my contract likely would have been extended beyond the holidays, which would have helped to ease my financial burden that year. Unfortunately, I had a sickle cell crisis and missed a couple shifts during a critical period for my employer.

As a result, they let me go, and the feedback was that I needed to be more reliable during such an important time of the year. This assessment of my character was brutal. To this day, I pride myself on being reliable. However, I never told them about having sickle cell disease, so I can understand how missing shifts seemed unprofessional.

In hindsight, this series of events meant that I could devote more time to studying. I graduated with good grades because I had more time to work at it. Earning my degree expanded my employment options and catapulted my career to what it is today.

But would I be where I am now if I had continued working that temporary job? Who knows. But what I can say is that I’m happy with how things turned out.

I don’t think one necessarily needs to experience a crisis to find a better path in life. But I do see how being forced to pause and take a step back can lead to new opportunities.

So would I be who I am without sickle cell disease? Was a sickle cell diagnosis my canon event?

What do you think? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell disease.


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