Last year, I ordered a pin from Rad Girl Creations that depicted 2021 as a literal biohazard trash fire, with “Maybe 2022 will be better” scrawled near the bottom in graffiti-style print.
To date, this is one of my favorite pins, and I highly recommend Rad Girl Creations to anyone looking for unique (and usually medical-related) pins.
So how has 2022 stacked up against 2021?
For me, 2022 has been a mixed bag.
The year started off great. I had a great job, at a great company, with great coworkers. I was in school full-time and doing well. I was officially divorced. Everything was on the up-and-up, and I was content with my life.
However, by Spring, things had taken a drastic turn. Due to personal situations both with myself, and my mother, life started to fall apart.
A series of unfortunate events…
By April, my grades had started to slip, and what had started off as a great, productive semester, ended in a less-than-stellar fashion.
In May, I learned how significantly my poor performance over the semester would impact the future of my studies; because of this, I decided to take courses at my local community college for a semester or two. This hit me pretty hard.
In June, I was part of the massive layoffs that plagued the tech industry. This hit me even harder.
In July, my mother’s condition started to deteriorate, but she decided to keep it to herself.
By August, we (my mother and I) were in the ER having a doctor tell us her (my mother’s) cancer had metastasized extensively. Among others, she had a 10cm tumor in her liver.
2022 was the real trash fire…
The transition between August and September is what really broke me. On August 27th, my mother decided to enter hospice care. For the first four days, things were okay. Her pain was controlled, and I had delusions of her being one of those people who end up being on hospice long-term, or who get better, and are able to come off of hospice completely. This was not the case.
On August 30th, our family ordered Tuesday Tacos from the local bar. This was one of my mom’s favorites, and a tradition for us while I was growing up. Fittingly, this ended up being her last meal.
For the next seven days, her condition worsened. She couldn’t get out of bed without assistance; she was falling, and refusing help; and while her mental faculties seemed to be relatively okay, her motor skills started to deteriorate.
My mother passed away in the early morning hours of September 6, 2022, while I laid with her in bed, stroking her hair, and telling her that everything was okay, and that I loved her very much.
And just like that, my mother; my best friend; my human…was gone.
But things are getting better…
While the spring and summer were truly the definition of a trash fire year for me, things this fall have started to get a little better.
Around the time my mother passed, I received good news in that I was being offered a job with a company I really admire; I’m back to having coworkers who are amazing, and a job, to keep my mind off of everything else life has thrown at me.
In addition, while my mother was sick, I looked into various patient care trainings, so I could learn more about how I could best assist her in a caregiver capacity, while also gaining some of the clinical experience that I’ll need for medical school applications in the future.
I found a training, and sent in an application. Not only was I accepted into the training, but after completing a shadow at my local hospital, I have been offered a full-time PCT position on the Neurosurgery and Neurology unit. (While initially this wasn’t what I had in mind, after my mother passed, I realized this was an opportunity I needed to jump on, and so I accepted the offer.)
I start that training next week, and it will last two weeks; afterwards, I will set out working weekend nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), while still having the weekdays available for my day job, and schooling.
I know my mom would have been proud of me for getting to this point. She was a major part of the reason I was drawn to medicine. Not only did she have cancer, but she suffered from chronic pain, and other degenerative diseases for years prior. I want to be able to care for people the way I wish I could have cared for her.
Life is full of ups and downs. Some days, you’re on top of the world, with academic and professional achievements, and then some days you’re losing your mom to cancer. Unfortunately the bad days, just like the good days, are part of the journey, and help shape us into the people we become.
I hope to use my experiences over the first nine and a half months of 2022, to really finish the last two and a half off strong. And here is hoping that 2023 will be better yet.
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