Keys To Success by Maureen Nietfeld

Let me start off this story by saying I truly believe that every individual can set out and achieve anything they desire. Maybe there will be bumps, and maybe it will be extremely challenging, but if you truly desire it, it can be done. I also believe the key to success and achieving things that may seem daunting is finding solutions. The solutions may not always be obvious, or be the solution we necessarily want, but finding, accepting, and utilizing the solution will be key to success. My name is Maureen Nietfeld, I am a full time Home Management teacher at The Colorado Center for the Blind, board member of The Colorado Affiliate, president of the NFB CO Sports and Recreation Division, and have a long list of medical problems. I lost my vision at 17 and did some college, but due to lack of training and confidence I never finished my degree. Now here I am, a busy adult, bills to pay, a career, married, and extremely busy and I had an over whelming desire to finish what I started so many years ago. I have a passion for wellness and I want to continue to do work of The NFB in conjunction with working at The Colorado Center for the Blind, and obtain my degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. I was posed with a problem to solve: How in the world would I find the time to do all of these things, and do them well? First, I started making a list of what I needed to do. I slowly but surely started utilizing lunch breaks at work to check off this list. I needed to get enrolled, work with the Access Office, talk to my employer, pick classes, and see if I could get any funding. Each new step I took added to the list, and each step I took checked something off the list. Another aspect of my life that is very time consuming is keeping up with my health. I am a cancer survivor, have a kidney transplant, and this is all due to VHL. This is a condition that causes tumors in all of my organs. This disease is the cause of my blindness and I need to be on top of all of my medical appointments. I currently have had 33 surgeries and more is always a possibility. This is always on my mind when I take on new things, but I know in my heart I cannot let it take control over my life. I will deal with each medical challenge as it comes and work to find solutions. My mind was made up. I was going to return to school. I registered for classes for spring 2017, majoring in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. At the same time I noticed some strange symptoms I had been having and my routine M.R.I showed growth in brain tumors we had been watching and it was time to treat them. At first I panicked. I wasn’t going to be able to start school. Then I decided to find a solution. I worked with my doctors and we developed a plan. I would do a round of stereo tactic radiation and we would do brain surgery in May, after the semester. I started school in February and had radiation, now the semester is winding down, and on May 17th I will have brain surgery, and then 3 weeks later I will start summer session. When there is a lot on your plate you should always step back and decide what you can take off, what you can push aside, and what should be taken on head first. Make priorities, make lists, make them for each month, each week, and each day. You need to find what works for you. You can’t be afraid to work hard, ask for help, and push yourself. I know that I have a long journey in front of me, and I look forward to new challenges and adventures. I know it won’t be easy and I am thankful for the support I receive from The NFB, The Colorado Center for the Blind, my family, and my friends.