I was a powerful man before my kidney failure. It amazed me as to how much weight I could move and how powerful I felt doing my training and military tasks. All noticed but, it was not a big deal when they consistently witnessed me doing these feats. While standing 6’2” and weighing 250 lbs, I looked the part of being strong and powerful. After I lost over 100 pounds and wasrendered to dialysis, I was shocked as to how my strength plummeted along with my size. I went from bench and leg pressing hundreds of pounds to barely moving the bar.However, it was during this time my former trainer looked at a recent picture of me. I never allowed my picture to be taken in my early days on dialysis. I was embarrassed as to how I looked. So sometime later after working out, I allowed my picture to be taken. I thought he would be please at how I looked but, he wasn’t. His words, “What happened? You look like shit!” I was shocked to hear this and immediately went on the defensive. “I lost my kidneys! Do you know what I’ve been through?! I was at my best before I got sick and I could never reach that level of muscularity again, especially while on dialysis!” He remarked, “Bullshit! You were not at your best. You were maybe at 30 percent of where you could have been. You need to train to compete again.” I thought, 30 percent? Then all the self-portraits of before that adorn my wall seemed so insignificant. And here I thought I was once “The Man”. I listened to his words and registered to compete in a contest. It was difficult training for a show. Not because of my body being weak, but because I was a former European Champion and now reduced to a feeble man. However, he knew my character. And by telling me to do a show, he knew I was not one to go onstage looking unconditioned. His statement made me realize I could become better than the 30 percent I was before and brought out the fear of me looking horrible on stage. This renewed the drive in me. A drive that was stronger than my affliction. People and doctors were shocked as to what I was doing. Amazed at the strength I had of a disabled man. Even though I could not do what I once did, I caught their attention because I was doing far more than what they expected, more than what others in my situation could do. I was again a strong and powerful man, a beacon of strength to a different group of people. So, I competed. I received a standing ovation, not because I won, but because the head judge told my story of how I was fighting back to be onstage against not disabled people but, I was competing against those that were able-bodied. I was again a “figure of strength”, but a figure of strength through adversity. Now I could hold my head up again. For I was not a European / Italian champion, I was a champion over sickness/death.You too can accomplish more during your times of weakness. What you must do is stop admiring others or being jealous of what they can do. The same is within your grasp. If you take the same roads and use your energy not for resentment, but to swim hard against the currents, you will reach the island of strength beyond the affliction.