Ranti Gbadebo is a vibrant, zealous, and accomplished woman who was well-known for her knack for creating detailed, stunning architectural designs. She is a passionate architect, and her work has always been her life. However, her journey was far from smooth sailing.
In the prime of her career, Ranti was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The news was a heavy blow. The disease is a chronic one that affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance. It was a terrifying reality to face for someone whose livelihood depended on precision and detail.
At first, Ranti tried to hide her diagnosis from her colleagues, fearing the stigma and potential loss of opportunities. But as her symptoms worsened, it was impossible to keep it a secret. She struggled to maintain the same level of performance at work. Her hands trembled, her vision blurred, and she was constantly fatigued. It was heartbreaking for Ranti to see her life’s work slipping through her fingers.
She decided to have a conversation with David Alfred, her boss.
Ranti: Greetings Sir, can we talk in private for a moment, please?
David: Of course, Ranti. What’s on your mind?
Ranti: There’s something personal I need to share with you, something that affects my work. I have been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
David: Multiple Sclerosis? Isn’t that a severe disease? I mean, can you still perform your tasks?
Ranti: Yes, it’s a serious condition. Symptoms can vary, and while it may eventually impact my work, it doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t do my job effectively.
David: But Ranti, I need to think about the company too. I’m not sure if you can handle the work pressure given your condition.
Ranti: I understand your concern, sir, but I want to assure you that I’m still capable of performing my duties. I might need some adjustments and understanding, though.
David: Adjustments? What kind of adjustments?
Ranti: It could mean flexible work hours, the option to work from home, or even additional breaks during the day when I’m not feeling at my best.
David: I see… But, Ranti, these sound like major changes. We have always maintained a strict work schedule.
Ranti: I understand that sir, but remember, the law also requires reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This not only makes their work possible but also often results in better productivity and morale for the team.
David: Well, I hadn’t thought about it that way. But you must understand my position too, Ranti. It’s not just about the law but also about maintaining the work output and quality.
Ranti: Absolutely, sir. I don’t intend to compromise the quality of my work. In fact, with these accommodations, I believe I can manage my symptoms better and maintain, if not improve, my productivity.
David: Alright. I’ll need to consider this. But I want you to know, Ranti, that I appreciate your honesty and your dedication to your work. We’ll figure out a way to make this work for both of us.
Ranti: I appreciate your understanding, sir. I know this isn’t a simple issue, but I’m confident that we can find a solution that suits everyone.
David: Yes, we definitely will. Let’s work together on this. After all, you’re a valuable member of our team. We’ll discuss this with the HR team and come up with a plan.
Ranti: Thank you, sir. Your support means a lot to me.
David: You’re welcome, Ranti. We’re in this together. Let’s make it work.
That conversation was one conversation she was scared to have but was glad she did. Ranti was not one to give up easily. She decided to face her condition head-on. She sought out the best medical care and started receiving treatment. Alongside the medical treatment, she began to explore holistic approaches and a balanced diet to manage her symptoms.
To accommodate her condition, she started using assistive technologies. Software for voice recognition and visual enhancement tools became her new aids in creating architectural designs. She started delegating more, teaching her junior architects, and guiding them to execute her vision.
Her battle with MS was public, and it made her an unwitting spokesperson for the disease. She used this platform to educate others about MS and became an advocate for workplace inclusivity and accessibility. Her firm, seeing her courage and determination, decided to be more inclusive and made changes to their infrastructure and policies to accommodate people with disabilities.
Ranti’s journey was not easy. There were many days filled with fear, frustration, and desolation, but there were also days of hope, achievement, and strength. Her struggle with MS did not diminish her; instead, it enriched her life in ways she hadn’t imagined. She became a renowned architect, not despite her condition, but because of how she handled it. Her designs were still as breathtaking as ever, but now they also carried a story of resilience, determination, and inclusivity.
Her life took a turn that she never imagined, but she came out stronger and more influential. Ranti’s story served as an inspiration to many – a testament to the human spirit’s ability to adapt, persist, and overcome.