…it’s the best time of the year!! (or at least, that’s how the song goes.)
It’s been quite the adventure in Abigail-land. I’ve been surrounded by friends and the Christmas spirit. I’ve been spending time with Alana’s family and getting cool notes from Tabitha’s family. (I left them all with special gifts for Christmas when I was at their place last month.) I’ve gotten to see Bethany and hear her husband call her “his wife” over and over again. I’ve got to catch up with some really old friends.
Then, there’s also been the crazy. I’ve already been in one pretty serious accident — all the humans are okay, all the cars were totaled. I’ve already seen at least one terrible movie (or at least, it was not meant for me to see.) I’ve already been terrorized by both a dog and a cat. I’ve also managed to leave something important at home: my camera. I’ve already neglected to give someone important an amazing gift because I kept putting it off until the perfect gift materialized!
One thing that I’m really grateful for is for all the amazing people I’ve been able to spend this craziness with. Life isn’t picture perfect; sometimes, it’s downright scary. But after the car I was riding in got wrecked, I discovered one thing: I was really glad that Bethany and her husband were there. It was nice that nothing exploded. It was a plus that no one got hurt. It was disappointing when I ended up being the one to call the police and the tow company and the highway patrol and also had to find my own ride home. It was miserable in the freezing cold in the dark. But the bottom line was this: I was so grateful that I was with my best friend when she got in a car wreck. I was grateful that her husband had decided to ride with us at the last minute and was there. And I was grateful that they both were there for me in that moment.
What matters most to me are the people in my life. I wish a lot of things in my life were different: everything from the color of my car (insignificant in the grand scheme of things but still) to the length of time it takes to get a tow (longer than it should) to the personalities of other people (sometimes they drive me crazy!!) to the lack of control that I actually have over world events. But at the end of the day, I’m grateful for the people who are there for my real life experiences. I’m grateful for Grace and Timothy, that they were willing to pray for us even when they were two time zones away. I’m grateful for David, the random coworker from high school, who answered his phone and picked me up off the side of the road to drive me back to where I was staying. I’m grateful for Alana who listened to one of the longest recount of a 30 second car crash. And I’m grateful for Mr. & Mrs. Bethany for reminding me that what mattered most was that the people endured and that good friends stood there for one another even when the going got difficult.
So while I hope that you had a holly, jolly Christmas and that it’s been the best time of the year, I really hope that you find yourself surrounded by amazing people in the new year. Because that’s what really counts.
It’s finally here. I’m on break from school… and from being a perpetual patient. 🙂 Now I can just be a daughter, a friend, a sister, a neighbor. And I’m really going to enjoy every minute of it.
I caught up with every one of my doctors. They all know my current status with regard to medication and symptoms as well as this past semester and this coming term.
I’ve left all my schoolwork behind and am committed to not reading or thinking one extra second about stuff that will be part of my life for years to come. I’ve brought along the cookie cookbook Tabitha’s grandmother so generously shared with me. I’ve brought along a bag full of presents. Mostly, I’ve just brought along a spirit of rest, of healing, of joy.
So if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because I’m happy and relaxing. Surrounded by friends. Enjoying the good things of life. Ignoring the not so good things. Because everyone needs to do that once in a while.
When I wrote last, I didn’t imagine that I’d ever be able to say this. Unless, of course, it was a different universe.
Folks: I’ve been approved to take one class (instead of three) next term and for this course load to be considered a full-time load. In other words, I’ll only be taking one class and grading one class next term. It’s a much needed reduction in work and something Dr. Leo and I have campaigning for since August at least. As Diana puts it, there is still hope for humanity.
I’m happy. The medical front is still pretty confusing. Being a grown-up is hard, and making grown-up decisions is even more tricky. But I’m looking forward to taking a break from all that to visit friends and family. And to sleep. And to heal. And maybe some Christmas wishes will come true?
I got my grades and written feedback from this semester. Folks, to be honest, I’m discouraged. I thought I was doing much better.
The hardest class, the class that I assumed that I was going to fail, I got the highest grade in. The class that’s closest to my field: the professor only passed me so that I wouldn’t get kicked out of the program. She said that my work is not at the graduate level at all and that I should seriously reconsider whether or not graduate school is right for me. My third class, the one I enjoyed the most, I received a middling grade.
I don’t know what to think. If you take the second professor’s perspective, it’s frankly amazing that the mean professor thought my work was excellent, contributed to meaningful class discussion, and was really professional. If you take the perspective of the lion and company, this is yet another concrete piece of evidence that I’m in the wrong place. If you take the mean professor‘s perspective, I’m not sure what you get.
I don’t know what to think. I poured my heart and soul into this semester. I pushed myself harder than I feel I should have given my health. I did more than I even thought was possible.
It’s official. I’ve finished the semester. I made it through all the assignments, all the grading, all the meetings, all the drama.
I’m not quite sure what to do now. My to-do list is a mile long. I need to return books to the library. I need to follow up on some medical things. I need to finish Christmas gifts for Tabitha & Alana. I need to balance my checkbook. I need to put the clean laundry away. I want to make tons and tons of Christmas cookies. I need to catch up on blog reading. I want to make a baby quilt for the couple that lives with Aaron. I want more sleep.
But, mostly, I just want to take a big breath and appreciate the idea that I’m done, revel in all that I’ve accomplished. Because there’s always going to be time to do more. Sometimes, it’s nice to be done.
This year, I did something I’ve never done before. I gave out Christmas cards. I mailed them to friends and family, to people like Walt & Nora and Timothy & Grace.
And, I wrote some for my doctors. Nothing fancy. Nothing sophisticated. I just wanted to express how much I appreciate their care for me, especially for Dr. Leo & Dr. Samuel who have gone far beyond the call of duty to help me this year. I wrote something to this effect:
Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate your care for me. This past year has been difficult in many ways, but I feel so blessed to have people like you who listen and help me navigate the medical world. I hope this season is a time of joy and renewal for you. Merry Christmas. — Abigail
Like I said, nothing fancy. Just a heartfelt thank you. Because I really do feel that way.
Yesterday. Dr. Samuel’s office. He had asked me to come in early. At the end of a very informative and helpful session, I pulled the card out of my purse and said, “This is for you.”
His whole face lit up. He said to the other doctor who had sat in on the appointment, “I love holiday cards. I’m going to put them up around my office.” Then he opened the envelope and showed her the pretty design on the front. “I love it! It’s so nice… with mittens.” He did open the card and see that there was writing inside. But mostly he kept holding it, looking at it, looking at me, and smiling a big smile. “Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for this.”
It made me so happy. There’s a special joy that only comes from making someone else’s day. I love that feeling in my heart. I’m so glad that I can give a little back to the people like Dr. Samuel who have given so much to me.
I got a phone call this morning from a doctor’s office. To be honest, I was nervous. Last time they called me, it was to cancel the appointment at the last minute. Not to worry though. The receptionist said, Dr. Samuel wants you to come in half an hour early. He wants to give you a double appointment so that you can talk about things in more detail, without being rushed.
Suddenly I feel cared for. This is why I love my doctors.
It’s been finals season here in the land of graduate school, and I’ve been buried under an avalanche of papers to write and papers to grade. I’m still asking big medical questions, my chronic illness is still forcing me to spend most of my time in bed staring at the ceiling, and the pile of clean laundry is still sitting in a giant pile on the floor because I haven’t had the energy to put it away.
The good news is that I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. All I have to do is to write a ten page paper on a topic I haven’t even begun to think about yet. And I have to finish that by the end of the week. And then I’m done (for the term)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!