Today I’m taking a break from expanding your medical vocabulary and instead I want to talk about one of the ways I cope with everything that is going on. Don’t worry, if you’re missing the daily diseases, they will be back… yes there are more to come. Believe it or not I got a brand new diagnosis just last time I was at the Dr’s office. However, some days I just don’t want to think about it and today happens to be one of them. So let’s talk school!
One of the ways that I survive all of the emotional stress of being sick all of the time is to distract myself from dwelling on the negative. In order to do this I need something that occupies my mind so fully that there is practically no room for anything else. A few years ago I decided to go back to school. After high school I putzed around a little in college but never really settled on anything specific and eventually just left in favor of a career where I could get more specific training as necessary. This worked well for me and I never had the urge to return until I was a stay at home mom and noticed that severe “Mommy Brain” was setting in. Any mother will attest to the fact that once you have kids you get exponentially more absent minded and forgetful with each one. I felt like my mind was loosing sharpness and I couldn’t focus. I was stagnating and trying hobby after hobby to keep myself occupied only to end up with a closet full of unfinished projects. You know that closet, admit it, you have one too!
Originally I thought I would work toward a degree in English Literature. I love to read and always have a book with me wherever I go. Besides, I hated math in high school. I was terrible at it and had convinced myself that by avoiding it all together my return to school would be bliss. When I started I needed go back to the very beginning and pick up all of the Gen Ed credits and basic math. I started at the local community college because they offered most of these courses online which would allow me to continue to be a stay at home mom. I figured that I could time it so that when I finally needed to be on campus for class my youngest will have started kindergarten. At first I was pretty intimidated, especially with the math courses because when you take an online course you pretty much have to teach yourself the material. It’s not like being in a class where you can ask questions and see first hand how the problems are solved. This actually proved to work in my favor. For the first time in my entire life I really understood the math and kind of enjoyed it. Who knew!?!
Working through the Gen Ed courses I decided to take an introductory course to astronomy for my physical sciences credit. It was AMAZING and I immediately fell in love. I loved it so much I promptly changed my major to astrophysics and decided that I might actually be mathematically minded after all. This was a few semesters ago and I am still loving it and getting 4.0 gpa if I might brag a little!
Taking courses this semester is a bit risky. I know what you’re thinking. “Holy cow, is she crazy to be in school with everything on her plate already?” Maybe, but truly what else am I going to do? Sit around and wallow in my sorrows. NO WAY! That is not my style. I would much rather be thinking about something productive or fun! I know that astrophysics might not seem fun to you, but to me it has awakened a passion that I can’t ignore. It makes me feel alive and helps clear the “fog”. It staves off the depression of not being able to accomplish what I want to physically because mentally I feel energized and useful.
Most people ask me, “Why astrophysics?” “What are you going to do with it?” The short answer is I don’t know and who cares. The long answer is this. Through the darkest hours of my illnesses I have wondered about my own mortality. The time I spend has become precious to me. It has given me perspective. I play with my kids a lot more, I really try to listen and connect with my husband, and I’ve been working on having better relationships with my family and friends. Along those same lines I think that wasting my time on something that I only marginally find interesting as opposed to something that awakens such feelings of happiness should be answer enough. When I thought about whether or not to tackle this semester, I felt deep within a desire to continue and I’ve decided to listen to that urging. It is hard because stress can bring on a flare up of any number of my conditions, so I need to pace myself. I’m only taking two courses, Calculus and Chemistry but so far I’m really enjoying it.
As you can see from the picture above, during the semester my scientific calculator becomes my best friend! The lesson for today is when one challenge arises, find a passion to replace your sorrows. It works! I’ve always said that if you tell me I can’t accomplish something I will find a way to prove you wrong. I’m still working on the physical limitations I’ve been placed under, I WILL find a way to overcome those whether it is in this life or I have to wait for the next. In the mean time, don’t tell me I can’t hack the math, because I can and I love it!!!