The Biggest Challenge Yet…

I don’t even know where to start this post. It has been literally ions since I last posted, and there are so many fun, exciting and developing life stories that I really need to start getting down on paper/blog. I know I say this every time. While I wish I was writing about the lighter things – this post is not one of those.

This story starts late last year in Nov/Dec time frame. My mother in law (MIL) (Dr. B’s Mom) had been complaining of pain in her abdomen, chest and back. Her primary care doctor decided she must have acid reflux (GERD) and prescribed her some medicine. Dr. B also thought the same. What else could a super healthy, 64 year old woman, who runs every day, really have wrong?

Fast-forward to right before Christmas – her symptoms seemingly were getting worse even on medicine, so her PCP ordered a CAT scan just as a precaution before he referred her to a GI specialist. On January 3, we received the worst possible news any family could ever hear – Pancreatic Cancer.

The C word is enough to send chills down your spine. A million thoughts were running through our minds when we found out. What would the next steps be for treatment, what is the prognosis (we had a feeling not good), how were we going to handle this, what about Dr. B’s work schedule, my work schedule, and how will we be able to be there for my MIL? The toughest part about this whole situation is that we live a little over an hour from my MIL, and Dr. B lost his father in high school. He is also an only child, so we were really fighting this thing alone and on a resident’s schedule. When determining how to tackle this fight, we decided that we definitely need to get an opinion at a large research hospital about an hour north of my MIL’s house, which is just about 2 hours drive from where we live. We decided that the treatments that they had to offer would be the most cutting edge and give her the greatest chance of survival.

After a flurry of appointments and discussions, the cancer team and Dr. B ultimately decided the best course of treatment for my MIL was to have neoadjuvant chemotherapy – which essentially means having chemo before surgery. I cannot even begin to tell you how difficult it was to watch a robust, healthy and happy woman just fade before your eyes. The first couple rounds of chemotherapy were nothing short of Hell for my MIL. I stood there watching the cancer war unfold, helplessly trying to do whatever I thought I could to help her turn a corner. I cooked and cooked, reading article after article on foods that would enhance her viability and strength. She was unable to keep much down so we pushed her, cheered her on, helped her just get stuff done because it literally could not get any worse in our mind. We had our eye on the prize. A few more weeks of this terrible path and hopefully surgery will get this cancer gone!

That leads us to a few weeks ago. Dr. B and I were scheduled for a little spring break trip in New Orleans that butted up against a conference Dr. B had to present research at. We felt immensely guilty going away but had been encouraged by some of the progress my MIL started to make before we left. Little did we know, our vacation was going to be cut very short. We got the worst call of a lifetime standing in the french quarter with some friends. Its one of those calls you just don’t erase from your mind because it literally just changes your entire life in an instant. My MIL had been having a super rough day so her friend decided to drive her to her cancer hospital to get checked out. While she was at the ER, she had some additional scans done to make sure everything was okay. Long-story short, the scans showed that the cancer had literally spread all over her abdomen. The cancer was everywhere, and we were helplessly standing in the French Quarter just flabbergasted, not knowing what to do next.

We quickly changed our plans and got flights back home. We were able to spend the next week dealing with my MIL inpatient, trying to determine next steps and get her the best possible care. It was a blessing that Dr. B was off of work for our trip so that he had some time to dedicate just to figuring out all the details of her treatment. Watching him be so brave and try to be his mom’s biggest support system, as well as her caregiver, power of attorney, doctor at times, coach, and her parent at the worst of times, made me appreciate his calm and caring spirit. However, it was just devastating to watch him break down, knowing that we were looking into death’s door, helplessly holding on for dear life. I couldn’t imagine this love of my life in so much pain. I had no idea how to comfort him. Here I am with both my parents, healthy and intact, and he was on the verge of having none. My heart was broken for him daily. I just tried to be there whenever he needed me. I went through a roller coaster of emotions myself – cursing God for bringing this on such a sweet woman and her son – Begging God to show us mercy and heal her terrible pain – crying out to whoever in the universe would listen, and help show us the way.

My MIL is currently at home and doing slightly better but is no longer a surgical candidate. Her prognosis is still undetermined but this serious turn of events has lead us down the path we least wanted to take.

Dr. B and I have been challenged time after time since the day we started our relationship. We have been challenged by distance, by circumstance, by timeline, and now this. Really our challenges are the whole reason I even started this blog about 6 years ago. I really don’t know where to go at this point and firmly feel we are experiencing our biggest and hardest challenge to date. I don’t know how you move past this, whatever the outcome, and that is a very scary possibility. All of this hardship has brought us closer together as a couple. However, I feel each one of us individuals is close to unraveling at any minute due to the stress and heartache each challenge has caused. Please pray for us on this Easter weekend.  Help us get through this, our biggest challenge yet…

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Sabbatical – The Road Diverges

So a few months ago I wrote my first post in awhile. I then went dark again for a time. Last we spoke, I had been toying with the idea of leaving my job and starting something fresh. Well, my friends, I did actually act on that thought and took break from work (it’s been almost 8 weeks now). I am currently on sabbatical from my manager position and now finishing my MBA full time. The funniest part about this transition is that now Dating a Medical Student has turned to Business Student Married to Medicine….I digress

Transitioning back to school has been nothing short of great for me. I have offical coined the next 8 months – “The Year of Me.” This means that dealing with residency and Dr. B’s absence is much easier. He is now almost halfway through his first year of surgical residency and if anyone who reads remembers, that means that he is one year done through research fellowship and now halfway through 1st year residency…that means only……4.5 years to go of training and then 1 year of fellowship…oh my.

When I was working around the clock and Dr. B was in research fellowship, and then starting residency, I started to go to a dark place. I had thought that we were finally together and that being with someone in medicine would not be that hard after all that distance. Boy was I wrong. Once he started residency, he was not home much at all. The trouble with that was that nothing was getting done around our house, and I began to get overwhelmed because I also did not have time to commit to our home life. We were like two ships passing in the wind. I realized for my own personal sanity and for the balance we needed in our life, I needed to take a step back. That is a very difficult decision to make in my opinion. Not only had I been very independent and working full-time since the day I had graduated undergrad, but I also am a main monetary contributor.

Sometimes you have to do what needs to be done. I realized that I had been working so hard to support Dr. B and his dreams, but I had not taken time to realize my own. I knew I needed a change, and I took a leap of faith for something new. I am not sure what I am going to do in April when I graduate. Going back to the manager madness I came from does not sound appealing. However, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I am finally doing something I have wanted to do for awhile. Dare I say I feel freed. It has been very good for my relationship with Dr. B as well because as much as I hate to admit it, I may have been holding a grudge on him because of my lack of ability to pursue something for me.

Divergence is scary, but omg is it freeing. Follow me on this new path – all, and I promise to keep you more informed as I actually have some precious time back!

It’s a sign?

As many of you who have followed my blog in the past know, my work is pretty stressful. I usually focus a lot of my time writing about Dr. B, but in all reality my job takes a lot of my time and adds to a lot of my stress in the background.

When we moved this past year for Dr. B to start his residency, I took on an ever expanding manager role, working in the financial world. We had moved cities, moved homes, and started this new life. On top of the everything else, my job demands much of my time and is very stressful on a daily basis. I have been trying to compartmentalize all of the stress and get through week by week, however recently I have felt like I am at a breaking point. Dr. B is really starting to get busy, and I haven’t had the assistance of his help around the house much. To make matters even more interesting, we bought a new house and really put down roots in this new city.

Talk about stress level increase! Bam!

Anyways, I feel like I have been getting daily signs that it is time to take some sort of new journey in my career. I am not sure if other people feel this way, but with an overachieving husband in my presence daily, it is really hard to step back myself. I feel like I am already forgotten next to his contributions, as big as my own might be – including the major fact that I am totally the bread winner for this family – common people, that should count for something! Residency drama I know. But really the truth is, the internal struggle is real. Part of me says you should work these hours, have this prestigious job, and make all this money because you are smart enough to do it. The other part of me realizes that I have been sacrificing many things including my sanity, health and general happiness. Yes it is currently 12 am, and I am just wrapping up my work for the night.

If this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is – A Toyota Commercial just came on as I was typing this blog, exclaiming – “you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do then by the things you did do.” Wow – did that give you chills like it did me. Goose pimple alert! Additionally, just the other day I read an article about taking a break from work to recharge and follow your dreams, on NPR that same day I heard about an accounting professional leaving her partner role to start a Yoga studio, and finally, I have noticed there are many people out there who are struggling with family or health difficulties outside of their control and these individuals find more self worth in what they are doing on a day to day basis even in their adversity. These observations have been life altering for me because I know I am in a situation that is unsustainable. I am just in a rock and a hard place as to how to dig myself out of this hole.

I have toyed with many options such as changing to a new job, taking a lesser role, quitting all together (I fondly call this flipping your desk) and taking on some crazy hobby.

Money is definitely part of my worry, but the other part of me thinks, I have worked so many years since college all for that next promotion, raise, just to prove a woman could do it in finance – am I letting myself down? Moreover, am I letting women down? Am I just not strong enough? Does saying to yourself, maybe stepping back for a second would be good for you – is that selfish? Can I stop comparing myself to everyone else?

What do I do? Or is everything I am seeing a true sign that I need to just jump head first and figure out the rest later. I really don’t know…

Dating a medical student means holidays apart

This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for the wonderfully blessed year I have had, and I am looking forward to a day of overindulging and spending time with family and friends. However, my thanksgiving is always a little bit lonely because I never spend it with Future Dr. B. I rarely have spent any holidays with him in fact. I guess this is just how it is when you are dating a future doctor in a long distance relationship.

Every big holiday, I always feel a little bit empty as I think about how Future Dr. B and I won’t get to spend the holiday together. I think of all the other people out there with significant others in the same position. I know doctor’s significant others aren’t the only ones spending holidays apart. It does give me comfort that there are many of us banded together in this perpetual party of one holiday problem. However, the holidays are a time that can both create joy and sadness in a person’s life. It is especially hard if you are spending a holiday without a support system.

This has been a very tough year for me in general. Being apart from Future Dr. B is just skimming the top. I lost both my aunt and my cherished grandmother this year. It hasn’t been long since my grandmother’s passing, making this year especially difficult.

I know that this distance during the holidays will most likely be a trend, especially as Future Dr. B is headed to residency. I am going to try to focus on building the relationships with my family and friends present and hope there will be a time in the future that our holidays are together. In the mean time, I am thankful for another great year and am looking forward to what’s to come in 2016.

Happy Thanksgiving from mine to yours!image

Meet Henry…

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I got a puppy. Here is the run down:

1. His name is Henry (No idea why everyone hates this name).

2. He likes to pee on things he likes including your leg (trying to break this habit).

3. I rescued him from a far away inner city land (that means he has street smarts).

4. He likes to lick your face.

5. He looks like a cute mix of dachshund and golden but he is 100% wiener.

6. His head is too big for his body.

7. His tail is always going nuts.

8. He has ADHD outside – it is bad.

9. Tugging is the name of his game.

10. He is my new little baby, and my life has already changed to prove it.