Even though I had known for a long time that it was coming, the day it finally broke through my thick head that my dream was over, it felt as if my heart had been run over by a mile long bullet train running at full throttle. Tears filled my eyes as I looked down upon the pitiful remnants of the dream that been the driving force of my life since I was five, and finally admitted to myself that like Humpty Dumpty, all the glue in the world would not put it back together again.
I would like to say that when the truth finally knocked its way into my brain, that after a few hours of mourning, I rose from my bed of tears stronger, wiser, more resilient, and with a sweet calmness worthy of emulation. I would like to say that it was such, but sadly for days, weeks, even months I was touchy, moody, and at times only tolerable company as I grieved for the cavernous void in my heart that I had no clue how to ease.
With bitter sorrow I listened to every tidbit of the active world around me. The green eye of envy rising to the surface as I was barraged at every turn by fresh tidbits of my peers success until I dread to hear the phone ring lest it was some loved one sharing news with my Mother that they were certain would bring smiles of delight to our face. News that at other times might have only brought forth a dry smile and a momentary pang of longing that was easily smothered by the abiding hope that one day soon my Mother would triumphantly be able to declare that her daughter had finished premed or graduated from nursing school.
But now that the battle had been conceded, now that I had admitted that my life’s purpose had been defeated by the superior foe of chronic pain and misery, I was like a flimsy dot of a life raft lost at sea. Rising and falling on the storm maddened waves of uncertainty and loneliness and pounded by the beating rains of despair. Like a haunting melody the unforgiving wind declared that I was nothing but a useless blob, a worthless blood sucker sucking the life of my aging parents. With fiendish glee the flashing lightening and earth jarring thunder would announce that my future once so bright and hopeful was doomed to ignominy and failure.
During this bleak time my pain was made more acute as imaginary images of my frightful fate, terrorized my dreams and haunted the most peaceful moments of my days. Like the midnight sectors of Dickens strange Christmas tale, my eyes were tortured by the fearful realization that one day the comforting arms around me would be no more, and that I would be left pale, friendless, and jobless to face a future wandering the streets begging for the stale crumbs of human sympathy.
If the grief of losing the compass that had safely steered me past the dangerous shores of depression were not enough, this final image had nearly proven too strong. The spark of confidence and optimism that had kept me from succumbing to the daily battle with pain, was nearly extinguished. As I looked upon my frightful end, dwelling upon each bleak point until it rose like a mighty mountain between me and the sky, I began to look upon my hours in bed as my sole comforter. There I could reflect upon the ashes of my dreams and keep an unbroken account of the empty days between me and my final solitude. Little by little I began to prefer the quiet hours wrapped in the warmth of my blanket where I could take what little pleasure was to be had in my loneliness by conferring with the only one that understood my lonesome lot, by own bleeding heart.
It was at this poignant turning point that my true compass and sure anchor revealed itself as a merciful God chose to rattle my nerves and wake me to my growing danger. Gently He moved upon my heart reminding me that my fate had not yet been signed and sealed, and that I was in grave danger of descending into a melancholy state that would take me down a path far more foreboding than the one I now feared. Wisely He turned my mind to the remembrance of those less fortunate than I who had become so completely bedridden by their misery that they could not lift their hands to dress themselves alone, but required the aid of others to brush their hair and put on their blouse, and impressed upon my heart that while I bemoaned what had yet to be and might never be, I was walking down a path that would forever rob me of my limited independence.
Shaken to the core I quickly rose from my shameful bed of self-pity determined to renew the fight against my unseen foe. But while the blood pulsed with renewed vigor, I could not help but wonder how? How was I too fight? How was I too win this battle with the vast army of chronic illness that had deftly shot its arrows at every turn until bruised and broken I had to bury my most cherished dreams.
To rise again and pick up these dreams was as vain as packing a car without wheels and expecting to make the journey of a thousand miles. My days of playing the part of a stubborn frog hitting his head against a wall and expecting the outcome to be different each time was over. As much as I still cherished the dream, I knew that was all it was ever going to be. A sweet memory to refer back to when I was old and grey, and wonder what might have been if I had enjoyed better health. Looking back in sorrow, I would be able to take pride in the knowledge that I had at least given that dream my all, that I had fought until there was no more fight in me.
But if medicine and the medical field was not to be, if that was not longer to be the dream that got me up in the morning, that gave my soul purpose, what was I to do? What was to encourage me to pull myself out of bed when my head hurt so bad that I could not tolerate to open my eyes for more than seconds at a time, when the swelling of my limbs turned my clothes into blood stopping tourniquets, and my nerves grew so raw that each step urged my lips to open and pour forth an earsplitting scream.
How was I to handle the awkward questions, questions that I already dreaded, by strangers who did not know of my struggle with debilitating bouts of pain, of what do you do?At least up until this point I had had a ready answer that I was some sort of student, whether it were for nursing, AA, or few brief semesters that when my courage was strong I would have ventured to declare that I was premed. Whenever I was too ill to attend classes and I had been cornered by the uncomfortable inquiry, I could avoid the painful explanations of my ill health by deferring to the fact that I was in between semesters and preparing for nursing or medical school.
But now that was gone. My last protection when sitting quietly at a family gathering listening with aching heart to the stories of how this one had recently gotten married, that one was expecting, or this other one had brought a new home, was no more. And as I rose up to face this strange new world of uncertainty, I knew that I must find a new dream, a new purpose to fill the void in my heart lest I once again fall into a state of melancholy stupor and let the crushing wall of pity drive out the spark of defiance that granted me enough defiance to enjoy a small sliver of independence and a precious droplet of life.
At that moment I understood that while I must bid a painful goodbye to one dream, it was time for another to be born. It was at this vital turning point that I stumbled upon Word Press and You Tube. And bit by bit a new dream, a new sense of purpose was indeed born. The vision might not be as grand, it might not grant me the comfortable independence that medicine would have, but it was enough to cause the towering mountain of doom to crumble, and the bright skyline of promise once again to be seen.