Somewhere in the midst of this nightmare, a neat little package arrived on my front door stoop. It was a package that had been in the back of my mind all summer, but had been overshadowed by my own health and that of my very beloved grandfather. My husband tentatively presented this piece of mail to me just two weeks ago. It had been sent overnight in a Priority Mail envelope. The sender's address read: Columbia University. My heart skipped a beat.
Of the months upon months I have spent in hospitals, between my own issues, my father's, my grandfather's, and other loved ones, I have never been able to help but wish I could be on the other side of the hospital bed. It's been years that I have sat in that bed, or in that chair next to the bed, just dreaming. But, folks, my wish has at last been granted. I am so very pleased to announce that I was admitted to Columbia University's Postbac Premed program!
The news that I will be soon embarking on the track to doctor-hood has been met with very mixed reviews, mostly in response to the condition of my own health. But what these naysayers DON'T know about IBD, is that it prepares us for anything life throws our way. Sleepless nights? GOT IT! The sight of internal organs? SEEN IT! Tubes down throats and life-threatening complications requiring emergency surgery? BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! Oh- and have I mentioned how we, as IBD warriors, have more passion, more drive and more emotional investment when it comes to helping those in need?
Many comments have, similarly, referred to the fact that it will be 6-7 years before I can call myself doctor and an additional 3-5 before my residency is complete. Well, another thing IBD has taught me is that life is precious, unpredictable and, ever most importantly, we live it only once. No one knows if they will have the good fortune to be on this earth even tomorrow- what's the point of concerning ourselves with how old we are when we attain major life goals?
There are so many reasons to NOT embark on this arduous journey: my health, my daughter, my husband, the long hours, the hard work, the financial investment or the unavoidable stress involved in becoming a doctor. But I have so many more reasons to get ready, set and go. And so many of those reasons are the same as those just cited. My history of poor health does not hold the key to my future, my daughter will benefit greatly from a loving mother who is also a positive female role model, and I've never met a challenge without excitement and anticipation about the next curve ball and how I'm going to hit it out of the park.
Columbia, I'll see you on September the 2nd. You and I are going to show IBD what's up.
Until then, hoping positive vibes and good spirits on my current "side of the bed" can help ease the pain of my ailing grandfather. Pop- you've given me a hell of another good reason to fight my way to M.D. It's another road that won't be easily traveled, but that has never meant it isn't worth taking. You taught me that. And I'll think of you every step of the way.