One of the hardest parts of living with a chronic illness is the long list of life’s missed opportunities and adventures. Regrets over the long list of things you dreamed of doing but knew that you would never be able to do because your health would never allow it. And the frustration over the list of things you tried to do but had to give up because an ill-timed flair of pain left you bed ridden.
More times than I can count or want to remember I tried to reach my goal of becoming a doctor and failed. Several times under the influence of a brief pain free period I registered for class, only to have to drop days before the semester started because the intense aching of my bones had left me bedridden. Even when I managed to make it past the first hurdle and survive the add drop period, major infections, life-threatening allergy attacks, and overwhelming pain forced me to withdraw from one or all of my classes before the term was over.
Despite moving with the speed of a hibernating sloth, I continued on. Saving every ounce of my feeble supply of energy for my determined fight to reach my goal. Twelve years of faithful fighting and at last I had earned my A.A degree. But like a stubborn frog hitting his head against a brick wall, I still refused to give in. I still did not want to admit to myself that my dreams of becoming a doctor would never be reached. Time after time I waited for the wave of misery to pass so I could try again. Confident that I this time I would not make the same mistake that left had left me curled up in a useless ball of living pain. Promising myself that this time the outcome would be different and that at last I would realize my dreams. Trying to convince myself that if only I pushed a little harder, worked a little smarter I would make it. But each time my hopes and dreams for life had to be sidelined, postponed, and eventually abandoned as the list of missed goals, postponed hopes, and forgotten dreams grew longer and longer.