There is currently one final standing between me and officially being considered a junior in college. Chronic illness have pushed me a semester behind everyone else my age, but with my summer classes and the fall semester, I'll be a senior in December 2017. Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me. It's not been an easy road.
As I'm preparing for the last final of the term and the beginning of the summer term, I wanted to review the last 32 weeks. My year started out with a designation to the Green Team and an early move-in to 222 Ruskin Hall. It was a single and fully ADA compliant. Just perfect! My mom, dad, aunt, uncle and I spent hours moving me in, cleaning, and decorating.
I served my Green Team assignment and I had blast for the third consecutive year. It's become a bit of a tradition for me at the start of each academic year.
Eventually classes started and I loved each and every one of them! The difficulty was just right.
The following week, my cousin came into town and she cooked for me in my new apartment, with all my new stuff. Everyone swore that I would be eating out every single night, because I stink at cooking, nor do I have a desire to do so. Well, guess what?! I cooked 98% of the time and I got the occasional Chik-fil-a from the Cathedral Cafe. Not too bad for someone that is clueless in the kitchen!
Then, Labor Day weekend came and went. The day after Labor Day, I got up for my 10AM Mass Communication Process class when I went to put on my cochlear implants. My right cochlear implant sounded... funny. I couldn't really explain it, but being late for class, I didn't give it much thought. As the day went on, the sound got worse and by the time I got to my taekwondo class at 8:15 that night, I couldn't hear anything out of that ear. I thought it was just a processor issue, so I pushed it out of my mind until I could swap around pieces. But after swapping around pieces and processors, I realized this wasn't just a small external problem. I emailed my cochlear implant audiologist who told me to come in. She quickly realized that this wasn't a small problem either and contacted the surgeon and a representative from the company.
Life went on while they tried to figure out my implant issues. I ended up getting my wisdom teeth out on October 28th, which triggered a massive CRPS flare that got me admitted. Then November 12th, I competed at a regional taekwondo tournament in Cleveland, Ohio where I finished very strong. Two days later, I was back in the wheelchair and forced to reconfigure my material for my 2nd Degree Black Belt-Recommended test.
School continued and I made a 4.0 for the semester and got on the Dean's List for the first time ever. That evening, I tested and passed my 2nd Degree Black Belt-Recommended Testing, which was exciting.
Winter break flew by, and before I knew it, it was already time to head back to school. I got some good classes and a good schedule, but I was worried about my ability to do well in some of them. The professors were intense and the lecture styles very different. But I persevered, and around midterms, things started to look up.
I was scheduled to get my cochlear implant explanted and reimplanted on April 5th, 2017; a day that I looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time.
In the middle of January, my muscle spasms took a turn for the worst and I knew I had to do something and soon. I started calling doctors all over the country until I found some that would take me on as a patient. That led to several trips to Cleveland to University Hospitals, a trip to Stratford, NJ to Rowan University Medical Center, and to some doctors in Pittsburgh. I juggled all of that in addition to school, work, and taekwondo training for my 2nd Degree Black Belt-Decided training.
Kept making good grades and finally, the cochlear implant surgery rolled around. The surgery was easy, but the recovery was a nightmare. A few weeks passed and I took 4/5 finals and passed my 2nd Degree Black Belt-Decided testing and was admitted to the hospital for IVIG where I am currently today. I have one more final to take May 1st or 2nd, but I currently have a 4.0 going into that final. I'm hoping to stay on the Dean's List this semester.
It's been a long and hard year, but I've had the opportunity to prove to myself that despite my health, I can still accomplish my goals and do well in school.
So Farewell Ruskin 222 and Ruskin 211, I'll see you in the fall when I come back on the Green Team!
I am a 20 year old junior at the college of my dreams. I am studying Emergency Medicine and Communication Rhetoric and minoring in the Administration of Justice and National Preparedness and Emergency Management certificate. At some point, I want to go and get my paramedic certification when my health allows. I have several chronic illnesses and this blog and website serves as a place for me to share my journey fighting CRPS and my other conditions. I hope that this blog can also serve as an outlet for raising awareness for rare diseases. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment; I'd love to know what you think!