I’ve been fairly flooded with emotions lately. So many incredible things, stressful things, and things that are a complete mix of both are going on in my life right now. For starters, I gave my class their mid-semester evaluations on Thursday (very scary for me!!). They had just taken their second exam, so I thought it was a good idea to figure out how everyone is feeling about the class so far. I was pleasantly surprised with some of their opinions (which isn’t at all to say that there aren’t students who DON’T like me, the class, or both).
The very next day, I was thrown back into health mode, as I had my regular monthly appointment with my CF specialist. While I was excited to see how my crazy awesome level of compliance was going to be reflected, I was nervous because I had gone about 2 weeks without my regular nebulized antibiotics (insurance issues) which I could feel. It turned out that I’ve kept up my lung functions for the 5th month in a row- WAHOO!!! It felt really good to know that my hard work has paid off.
I didn’t have much time to celebrate, because my oral comps are rapidly approaching! 10 days from today!!! I’ve never been so simultaneously excited and nervous in my life- wait, scratch that, I have- when I took my WRITTEN comps! If I pass (scared to say WHEN just in case I jinx myself…), I will FINALLY be officially a Doctoral Candidate, meaning I can start my dissertation! I’ve spent the weekend working diligently on the areas I know I was weak on with my written, and I feel good about the output. I’ve still got some major time I need to put in, but it’s coming along. Unfortunately though, between the stress of comps, the 2 week hiatus with my meds, and winter approaching (first snow was last night!!! Yay!!), I’m really feeling run down and my chest is hurting pretty bad. It’s something I’ve learned to deal with, but after so many months without an infection, it’s hitting me a little harder than it used to. Oh well, back to studying- I’ll call the doc’s tomorrow, but other than some OTC meds, there’s not much I can do tonight.
This whole comps and doctoral candidacy thing is a huge deal to me and honestly way too long coming. As a 5th year I should be finishing up my dissertation research and getting full swing into writing it up (to then defend in front of the dept and hopefully finish with a degree in hand), but alas, between being the first grad student in my lab (not sure this is to blame, but it sure has made it a bumpy road), and regular hospital visits, my path has been a bit slower than most. But you know what? I’m doing it. I haven’t given up despite the struggles. If I focused on the negative, what good would that do me? It certainly wouldn’t help me finish any faster- I’ve learned that much at least. Between the support I get from David (who sits up with me on skype EVERY night so that neb time is a little bit easier), and seeing positivity and suggestions all over CysticLife, I have gotten more done in the past few months of school than I had in 4 years. There has GOT to be something to that.
Between the health stuff and the comps studying, I keep thinking about my ALL TIME FAVORITE quote by Teddy Roosevelt in his speech “Citizenship in a Republic.” I love the whole thing, but for the sake of time: "...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." This quote is the greatest call to action I’ve ever come across. Because you know what? I might fail- whether it’s this one exam, or getting my PhD, or being able to maintain a high stress job at some university. That’s reality. But I might not. I might succeed at doing the one thing that I’ve dreamt of for years. No matter what, I’d rather fail at all of those things than never try because I have this ONE THING (just CF, no biggie) that might make it tough. If I didn’t have this passion, it wouldn’t be a big deal; I would be perfectly happy with taking care of myself being my career. But how do you find something like that and walk away? Well, one thing is for sure- this cyster is never gonna know. So, we’ll see how it goes…