Abandoning the Dream

Seven years ago, I graduated from pharmacy school with my doctor of pharmacy degree.

Seven years ago, I moved to a new city as a newlywed, fresh back from our honeymoon.

And seven years ago today, June 14th, I started my career as a pediatric pharmacist. My dream job.

And now I wonder…was there even a point?


We started off as children. Teenagers right out of high school dedicating ourselves to a highly esteemed profession, one which consistently ranks very high among the most trusted professions in the United States.

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Freshman roommate babies! (October 2004)

Our professors became our mentors. Sometimes our stand-in parents, encouraging us to try harder next time, saying they had confidence in us that we would do well. Guiding us to succeed in the field as they had.

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David and me after our White Coat Ceremony, the halfway mark of six years of education (May 2007)

As the years went by, we became adults at some point. No one knows when it happened. It just did.

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Doctoral Hooding Ceremony (May 23, 2010)

And we soon found ourselves, 23 or 24 years old, graduating with doctorates. Ready to take on the world.

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Post-Graduation Sillies (May 23, 2010)

Er…mostly.

Seven years ago. It seems like it was longer ago than that. Too bad the degree I fought for six years to get is useless to me now. I had an awfully short-lived career.

I never would have seen this coming seven years ago. This couldn’t happen to me. I’m tougher than that. I can fight through anything.

Apparently everyone has their breaking point.

I just never thought it would happen to me.

I worked so hard. I was smart. (Except for organic chemistry.) By the grace of God, I landed my dream job in pediatrics straight out of school, a job for which I was barely qualified and at present wouldn’t be at all qualified for fresh out of school. And I think maybe I was a good pharmacist. I worked my butt off for those babies, those kids, those adolescents, those young adults, doing my part to help them get better and, in some cases, literally help save their lives.

So why did I go through all of that just to have it taken away by illness?

How ironic.

I’m dealing just fine with celiac disease. I made it through knee surgery. I made it through endometriosis. I’m dealing moderately well with depression. I’m dealing moderately well with infertility. I made it through brain surgery. I made it through an aneurysm.

But POTS is trying it’s darndest to defeat me. And it’s done a bang-up job so far. I am literally at the mercy of my own brain and heart.

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I feel washed up. Like nothing I did during those seven years mattered.

Like don’t matter.

If I don’t have my job, what am I?

I know there are plenty of people out there like me who can’t work due to illness. But I can’t help but, in a rather selfish way, feel that I’m different. Yet all that really means is that I just had farther to fall.

I was smart. I was valedictorian of my high school class, which helped me get an enormous scholarship to my dream university, which as a private university, was very expensive. The assistant dean wanted me to accelerate and skip a year to complete the degree in five years instead of six. But I decided that if this was going to be my career, I wanted to take it slow and be able to enjoy it. Despite really sucking at organic chemistry, I excelled in the two years of therapeutics, acing almost every exam. Because I loved what I was learning. I graduated in the top 10% of my class (which means somewhere in the top 16 people, but I honestly don’t know where.) I passed the state board exam and law exam with no problem.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I basically worked my whole life to get to the point of having a successful, distinguished career. And I had it. I was living it.

The rest of my classmates are out there, succeeding and doing awesome things for the field of pharmacy.

And now what am I? Shark bait. (OOH HA HA.) {I did not intend to make a funny; it just happened.} I was thrown overboard. I’ve made it to the desert island. But now I have nothing.

How have I fallen so far? Everything I had, everything that made me proud of and happy with who I was, is gone.

I can’t even write a good blog anymore. Sorry. Maybe it’s time to stop altogether. I’m not making a difference like I’d hoped to. One more dream I’ve failed at.

💛ribbonrx

6 thoughts on “Abandoning the Dream”

  1. Your honesty in this piece is beautiful. I’m sorry you’ve lost such a huge chunk of your identity. It’s a struggle to figure out who you are if not what you do, especially when so much of your life was spent going toward a particular goal, but I hope you have the same experience as me and once you get through it, you will know who you are even better than you did 6 years ago.

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  2. All I can think to say is POTS sucks. Chronic illness sucks. Being a spoonie sucks. If it makes any difference at all, I enjoy reading your blog posts. Whenever I see you’re ribbonrx in my Reader it puts a smile on my face. ❤️ I’m not going to say it gets better because who the heck knows? I surely don’t. But-
    Okay, I was going to say something encouraging, but there are squirrels going at it on the roof above my bedroom and I lost my train of thought. Are they fighting? Making tiny squirrel babies? Nobody knows.

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  3. I am so sorry. I understand how you feel. My fall just happened sooner than yours: 19 years old in my second year of school. I fought so hard through that year, and the next one, before having to put a hold on my education because I knew student teaching would probably kill me. So I worked a basic office job for a year, struggling, dropping hours gradually as my body couldn’t keep up, sleeping whenever I wasn’t working just trying to keep up. And for what… I’ve been disabled since then, over a decade now. I have no idea whether it was harder for you to reach your dream only to lose it, for me to lose my health during the pursuit, or for kids who get sick before they get to start. I really don’t know what’s worse. I just know being disabled sucks. Dysautonomia sucks. (along with EDS, MCAD, MALS, Sjogrens, and so many miserable other diseases that rob us)

    It’s hard to remember this, but the person you were and are isn’t in any way diminished by how you have to live your life because of your body. You’re still smart. You’re still educated. You still care. But the life you live is in opposition to those things because of physical limitations. I’m a musician. But I don’t pick up my flute anymore. Those things are so disconnected that it seems like the first can no longer be true. But it is. In my heart if not in my life. The balance between hanging onto your identity and accepting your limitations is an impossible one, but something we all must do. I have to say, I’ve learned so much about myself. I think I know myself so much better than most people do, people who just keep moving forward without taking time to pause and really think.

    Hang in there. ❤ Do the best you can with what you've got.

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  4. Sending you love.
    And FYI- you do make a difference, maybe not to the grand scale you’d hoped for, but to me you make a difference! You make me, and others I am sure, feel not so alone.
    Stay strong, your story isn’t over!

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  5. I have struggled with these thoughts. I’m pretty intelligent, if I can say that without sounding ridiculous, and I feel like I would have been able to do a lot. We wrap or identity around what we do to make money. The things I’ve found that have changed how I looked at this were to volunteer even if only a few hours a week and to start interacting more with all sorts of people. I think the people in our life are the key to things. They bring perspective and remind us that what really matters day-to-day is what brings us joy and a sense of worth. I believe you can find more to yourself than you knew you had. There are aspects of our identity that we can help grow. Sometimes it takes some risk and thinking outside the box. My point is, I think we can find more in how we think about things. Find some happiness.

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