I supported myself, buying the things I needed—food, clothing, housing—by selling contraband clothing from Honduras on the sidewalks, and cleaning products to local stores. All of this during a time when the military would seize products and food that people were carrying.
I was very lucky to not have ever had my products seized and I was able to save enough money to support myself during the five years I would spend at university so that I could focus all of my energy on that effort.
Finally, I graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua in the city of León (UNAN León) at the age of 27, in the year 1990. I completed my internship in 1991, and my obligatory social service work—a mandatory component of obtaining a medical degree—in Nicaragua from 1992 to 1993.
I then continued my work as a doctor in the Ministry of Health of Nicaragua. I had finally achieved the success I had dreamed of for so long! But, I only worked for eight short years before disaster struck.
After a long day at work, I was walking and slipped on the icy road, falling hard and injuring my back. I didn't know it at the time, but one of my vertebrae had shifted. Day by day, the pain in my back grew worse until it was unbearable. One day I could not even sit up or get out of bed.
Over the course of the next five years, four surgeries and many attempts at therapy and various treatments, the pain only got progressively worse. I was suffering from nerve damage caused by bone fragments left over from my first two surgeries, and the following two surgeries—one to clean up the mess, and one to fuse my spine with steel rods—did not help.
By this point, I was immobile, bedridden. Everything hurt. Even my skin hurt from the slightest touch. I was utterly miserable, and it looked like I would be immobilized for the rest of my life. I lived in this miserable state for nearly a DECADE!