Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lily of the Valley

It’s been so long since my last post I feel like it’s a whole new blog!! To make a so very long story since then short, I passed my comps (by the skin of my teeth), the semester ended well, and very most importantly- David and I have been blissfully happily living together for the past month and a half!  

So much has happened of late, including a rough start to my second semester teaching, and a (not entirely unrelated) painfully long 10 day hospitalization.  I’ve gotten back into the swing of things, but it has been slow going.  The month long pain in my chest that I went into the hospital for still has yet to heal entirely and it appears that my current infection is being one heck of an SOB to kick.  I’ve definitely struggled mentally with the impact that it has had on my daily life, but as tough as it has been, it is much less stressful now that David is here with me through all of it.  Over the next few weeks, we have numerous appointments all over the place in an effort to figure out our treatment game plan and I am doing my best to keep those ‘what if’ thoughts from creeping in- a far more difficult task for me than I would really care to admit.

To avoid being a negative Nancy though, I want to talk about the so many great things that have happened lately- some of them really stemming from the bad.  For starters, my class.  Because of my week and a half long hospital stay, I had to get someone to cover the first 3 lectures for my course.  Whether it was due to that, or just a difference in the selection of students I have this semester, I have found this time around teaching to be more difficult than the last.  While initially this caused me a lot of stress, I really have found that just in the month or so since taking the class back over, I have learned more than I think I did all last semester.  I am absolutely a better teacher for it- I field questions more confidently, I come in prepared with more extensive knowledge on the material (helping with the questions), and most importantly, I’m learning to brush off negative vibes.  Not ALL of my students are going to like me, my class, or my teaching style and I’m really learning to be ok with that.

In addition to growing as a teacher, I think I’m doing a lot of growing as a student as well (though I’d argue that to be a teacher is still to be a student).  I feel as though I’m contributing a lot more, intellectually, to my lab.  As a result, we have some potentially really exciting results that we’re uncovering- could be nothing, but it’s still nice feeling as though I’m finding my voice and becoming more independent.  Any passion for my job that I have lost in the normal hum drum day by day has rushed back in full force.

The last piece of excitement lately is not so much a part of my personal life as it is the collective life of the Cystic Fibrosis community.  Just within the last couple of weeks, the FDA has approved the first ever drug that works at correcting the malfunction that causes the symptoms of CF, rather than treating the individual symptoms themselves.  KALYDECO, through Vertex Pharmaceuticals, while effective for only about 4% of those with CF, is presumed quite hopefully to be the first of many that will give CFers a new lease on life.

Despite the stress and struggles that go hand in hand with living with Cystic Fibrosis for patients and our loved ones, it truly is difficult to not see how unbelievably- amazingly- lucky we are to live in a day in which such rapid and life changing successes can be seen in medical science and technology.  It really can be such a wonderful world that we live in- sometimes it takes just a little bit of bad for the enormous amount of good to be realized.