Sometimes we feel out of place. We feel as if people just don’t understand what life is like when your not able to use your feet or what it’s like to not have a full smile because half your face is paralyzed.
As a part of our “Unstoppable” series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Derrick Roach ‘Mr.D.Tunes’.
Hailing from Suriname, a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America, Derrick Roach, better known as Mr.D.Tunes, is an up-and-coming Christian hip-hop artist with a penchant for writing infectious music and relatable narratives. Inspired greatly by God and the idea of living every single day to its fullest, Mr.D.Tunes embarked on his journey in music to bring love, joy, and hope to people. Everything changed when he ended up in a hospital, losing his ability to walk due to 8 tumors. Though he beat the odds and regained his ability to walk, he still battles tumors daily. Still, he won’t let that slow him or his mission down. Going through what seems like never-ending waves of adversity and tribulations, Mr.D.Tunes strives to continue living life with fervor and determination.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Life in a third world country, surrounded by poverty, resources, people hurting, a single mother and a grandmother that refused to see you fail. Followed by a move to capture the American dream and live for the following years of my childhood as an illegal immigrant. This childhood was filled with stress, abuse, pain and fear of losing the opportunity to get to that dream you heard about and saw on the television. As I grew and continued to be blessed with opportunities to continue to pursue the dream, roadblocks continued to pop up.
Fast Forward to my current day of facing paralysis from the hip down and being told I wasn’t going to walk again, which meant I wouldn’t dance again, jump again or run again. To recover from that and go into a 14hr brain surgery to save my life, then being saved but still struggling with 8+ tumors in the body. Some tumors that any day due to its place can cause paralysis again, deafness and many other life threatening results.
Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you became disabled or became ill? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?
I was working behind the computer and began having a very unusual headache and started to see lights. I became concerned and called my mom. Being a mother she goes to the phone and was like “i got to call 911”, I began to laugh. I’m like “it’s not that serious!”
Mom replied and said “ok i’ll call you an uber and you need to go checked out.” I explained what occurred and the doctor sent me for a scan. After the scan the doctor comes into the room and goes “ we need to move you to the ICU, which is at another hospital”. The doctor then proceeded to show me the image of the scan and I was in awe. I called my mother and told her the situation, but what was even worse was this is during COVID and visitors are not allowed in ICU. I was even further in shock. As time progressed I got released after being stabilized and awaiting to discuss surgery or treatment plans and was back home.
While home I started to periodically begin to fall. I would go to the kitchen and just fall, wake up and fall. So many times to the point where I couldn’t stand or use my feet anymore. I was paralyzed from the hip down and the doctor had no clue what was going on and when this would change. I met with the surgeon and they told me that I may never walk again and that the paralysis in the face may also never change, due to the nerve damage. The mental shift I made was that my flesh is not that important. I made plans to protect it by doing simple things like always wearing glasses, using eye drops to fight dry eyes because my eyelid didn’t close all the way and more. I also remained hopeful and would hear what the doctor said and tell myself they are all lying. They have no idea what they are going to see and what will happen, I am different. I practiced that for hours on end and it became a habit that I still have and helps me remain faithful and after as time progressed having miracles occur in my life like beginning to walk again i knew that having faith was the way and GOD was not done with me yet.
Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your disability or illness?
My greatest accomplishments would be the number of lives I have been able to encourage & reach. The number of people that can’t seem to find joy but turn to my music and my page to remember the strength and smile I carry through my trials. I also can’t forget to mention my kids and the ability to plant seeds of the person I am and have become, to inspire and encourage the generations that follow.
What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?
Don’t become your disability. The moment you become your disability is when you are disabled. Picture this, just because I can’t or don’t play the piano doesn’t classify me to not be a musician or have the ability to sing and make a joyful noise.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I would first give thanks to my mother for giving her all for me. She worked 14 yrs under the radar praying that life in America would one day be prosperous. My mother used to be a teacher and had me on the front handlebars and my sister in the rear and bike to school on the dirt roads. Despite the challenges she always stayed faithful and joyful and I continued to grow into the reflection of her ways and gradually acquired the mindset of a successful, determined person from her.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I make music, matter of fact I make tunes. The reason why I love Tunes is because a tune is something that sticks with you and lasts a lifetime. I believe I got this nickname because God gave me the gift to jump into any frequency and tune it up. Everything we do from a smile to a body movement sends off frequencies that can encourage, intimidate or even hurt others. So I aim to use myself to encourage, empower, motivate and bring joy to others in order to keep the tunes of success alive and in motion. Everyminute and in everything I do I use it as an opportunity to encourage, add joy or motivate someone.
Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.
1. The insecurities aren’t gone. We always feel like we don’t fit in, but we do everything we can to develop a habit of thinking positively and keeping hope alive.
2. Comfort is something we all need. Sometimes a compliment is as simple as it gets, that alone brightens our day.
3. Sensitivity is definitely at its peak. People with limitations can get very sensitive when they aren’t able to execute the things on their mind or heart.
4. Sometimes we feel out of place. We feel as if people just don’t understand what life is like when your not able to use your feet or what it’s like to not have a full smile because half your face is paralyzed.
5. We live everyday like it’s our last.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
‘Those who suffer the most, usually give back the most.’ &“All or nothing”. I truly believe in doing everything in excellence. The standard you set is the standard you hold yourself to. When you aim to give every move you make your all, your move will in turn reflect your all. If you take a look at what I have done, you would know that I did it, that’s the mentality of being uniquely you and confident, pleased and grateful to be just that.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I would love to meet everyone in the forefront but I’m very adamant about making sure my intentions and reasons are clearly articulated as a genuine meet up and not a meeting to get out of our desire to receive some kind of favor. There are many people I would to shake hands with and thank them for the result of their work and encourage them too.
People like Lecrae who is a big name in Christian Hip-hop and more. Mainly to answer I would have to say STEVE HARVEY. If I could teach any man to be a great man and role model I would tell them to follow Steve. You see he has lots of wisdom and clearly reflects a dream come true after long hard days of pain, trials and tribulation. What I truly love about Mr. Harvey is his spiritual influence that he exemplifies during his shoes and conversations. If you had to get Steve to act it would be impossible because he’s just so genuine and real you’d cry when he’s being funny. It’s joyful and real and that alone is hard to find in the world nowadays. It’s hard to even come up with the things to say on this topic but he definitely deserves all the credit for the genuine joy he places and has placed into communities across the world.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!
Unstoppable: How Mr D Tunes Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With 8 Tumors was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.