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So it Goes…

The Best is Yet to Come

The Purpose

As I approach the final weeks of my college career all I can think about is what is next? I have attempted to pursue multiple degrees but as I delved deeper into each area of academia I realized that I was not suited or meant for a life of nursing, teaching, or even the degree that I am about to receive which is Public Relations. All that I have known for the last 24 years of life are the obstacles that are supposed to come later on, and of course school. So what to do after graduation? Hopefully by reflecting upon my life which I will do each week in this blog, I will be able to have a direction for what I should do next. I suppose the best way to do this is to reflect back in the beginning when life started to shape the person I have become.  

cwu
Central Washington University

Before I start to tell you about my life I should give you some background information just to give you a little feel of who I am. I grew up the youngest of three girls; I have two sisters Samantha 27, and Laurel 36 (half-sister). We grew up living in Edmonds, Washington but by the time I was 7 years old Samantha and I moved with my mother Linda and my stepfather Wally to Gig Harbor and Laurel stayed back in Edmonds. Life was pretty normal up until this point, granted my parents were divorced but due to my young age when it happened there was no real effect on me. I had friends, loved school, was very active and overall just a normal kid.

But at the age of 8 all that changed, I experienced the first curveball life had in store for me and it changed my outlook on life forever.

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#4 The Rundown

Unfortunately, as finals weeks approaches I will not have time to blog weekly. Because I had to extend one blog into two in the past, I am going to give a brief crunch of college life in this week’s post. At some point I hope to revisit these post and go into more detail about certain aspects but for now here is a rundown regarding how my college career went.

So came college; my first two years at university were great for the most part at least, I had the opportunity for a fresh start socially and the chance to be a new me, that is just what I did. Freshman and sophomore year I made many friends and was having a great time, that is until I started feeling sick all of the time in the spring of my sophomore year… come to find out that my kidney disease had reached its breaking point. I was told that I had finally entered the final stage of kidney disease and needed to have surgery to place a fistula in my arm, in order to prepare for dialysis. I Continued trying to go to school but I had reached the point to where I could not stop being sick and had no energy, In light of everything that was going on I had to leave school in order to become familiar with the new life that I was going to have become accustomed to for the next three years of my life.

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My New Kidney !!!!

Dialysis took a lot out of me. It was painful, time consuming, made me feel sick, and became the part of my day that I dreaded most. Though dialysis was rough, as soon as I became accustomed to the process I jumped right back into school. I was determined to finish no matter what life threw at me. Juggling dialysis with school and work was quite difficult, not to mention the doctor’s appointments as well. I had to fight my university for financial aid because they didn’t think that dialysis was a sufficient treatment, they inquired that I needed to receive a transplant before reinstating my aid. I was not taking no for an answer, I didn’t see why I should have to put my life on hold for the next 3+ years while waiting for a kidney transplant. All of the obstacles that I had to endure because of this illness have required me to move at a slower pace and take longer in university, but luckily today I can say that I have 12 days left in my undergraduate career.

This past July I finally received my Kidney transplant and it has allowed me to enter this final quarter of my college career with a new found energy and hopefulness for what the future has in store. I look forward to what life has in store for me next now that I once again have the opportunity to live a more normal life, at least normal for me.

#3

In my last post it seemed that I rambled on a bit more than I anticipated about my younger years (elementary and middle school), however a lot of things that happened which seemed to make a large impact in my life occurred during high school; so that is what I would like to discuss today.

High school was difficult for me; I faced some average obstacles and some not so typical. Most of the events that occurred didn’t have a large impact on my overall life but two in particular did. One of those two events I will discuss the other I will not due to the fact that this tragedy involves the life of one of my sisters and her two children. Though I am not going to go into detail about this event I would like to use the tragedy as outlet to get the word out about suicide prevention. Following is a link to learn more about suicide, suicide prevention, and how to get involved.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Now that we have touched on suicide I would like to discuss the one major event that happened directly to me that changed my life forever.

Freshman year came and went I had a few altercations and was involved with sports so a pretty normal first year of high school, however sophomore year was different. I still dealt with my kidney issues but had become so accustomed to those that it was just another day. One day though I had to go see an endocrinologist because I had not been developing like other girls my age.

 While visiting the endocrinologist (Dr.Marshall) was her name, I found out that I had ovarian failure. This basically meant that I would not be able to have kids and explained my lack of development. Come to find out that the chemo therapy I received during my initial kidney diagnoses was to blame. This news hit me hard at first; I always pictured myself as a mom. Seeing as how I was only 15 or so at the time and motherhood was way in my future I moved on pretty quick from the situation, however as time went on and continues to go on it is something I struggle with daily.

My Niece and Nephews

 I always thought about how I could adopt and that is a great option but as I watched all of my sisters marry and have children it becomes harder for me to consider adoption as an option not to mention how much more difficult it will be for me to find a partner who is willing to consider adoption. This event has made me try to trick myself into thinking that I do not want kids and that I want to focus on me; though deep down I know it isn’t true. So this particular event has shaped me in a great way especially since this was a life altering diagnoses. I know or at least think I know I need to have children in my future but then I think of how all of my close friends and family have children of their own and I fear that adoption may not seem the same as being a mother to my own child.

#2

As I discussed in my last blog I lost my dad when I was only 8 years old but that was only the beginning of major life events to come. About one and a half years after my dad passed I had signed up for Girl Scout camp, I was going to go with my friend Faith. Before we were allowed to go to camp we had to get a physical. I didn’t know what a physical was and my mom told me not to worry and that she actually never really felt all the tests they did during a physical were necessary. I went in for my physical and they found something wrong with me. I was still able to go to camp (Camp St. Albans) but as soon as I returned home I had to meet with a specialist. You see during my physical my doctor discovered that something wasn’t right with my kidneys so I needed to see a specialist a nephrologist to be exact little did I know that first doctor’s appointment was one of many,… many, many,….. many, many, many more to come.

After multiple ultrasounds, biopsies, blood tests and more, we discovered that I had Focal segmental Glomurial Nephritis (FSGS) along with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The doctors treated my FSGS with a mass dose of prednisone and treatments of chemo therapy. Unfortunately this route of treatment made me gain mass amounts of weight, lose some of my hair, and the most important/unfortunate threw me into a mass depression.

People my age at the time, didn’t get what I was going through just like when my dad passed and as kids do, they bullied me pretty bad to the point that I had to switch schools. I remember being tripped over the slide, pushed down a hill, made fun of for my weight more. I know it seems petty that I can still remember those events because they obviously don’t matter anymore, but growing up all of that shaped me.

When I started middle school things seemed to be a little easier because I was kind of used to being made fun of at this point. Even though I was insecure, sad,  everyone was in there awkward phase so I had an easier time pursuing friendships however, I still kept my distance and mainly focused on school, the friends I did have, and started playing sports in order to help me socialize with new people. I would say middle school years were my most normal years but also the most hurtful. I remember going home one day and opening up Facebook to a friend request from “I hate Rebecca Wolf” page. It had my photo with a big red cross through it. So clearly I still dealt with bullying.

From these earlier years I learned that I had to start standing up for myself and if I want to be happier I need to stop caring what people think. See, I learned these lessons however at the time I necessarily didn’t apply them to my life.

I had planned on including my High School years into this blog post however, I think that there is too much to cover effectively because I learned some news that would be life changing for me, events that were life changing for my family and important to my future.

#1

Curveball #1

It was March 13th 2000, a typical day at school everything was going really great that day. I had plans to hang out with my friend Courtney during second recess when suddenly I was sent down to the office where my step-dad Wally was waiting for me to take me home. Score, half day I thought to myself. The ride home seemed normal as usual but when I walked in the house I saw my mom I could tell she had been crying. There were two glasses of water set on the coffee table in front of the couch and my mom had me and my sister Samantha sit down, then came the news. My mom told us our father had passed away. I remember my sister laughing and telling my mom that her joke was not funny. After a few times of being told that this was real my sister and I began to cry as one would expect.

mom-and-dad-1

What I realized

My dad’s untimely death taught me that you never know what life is going to throw at you and you never know when your last day on earth will be. It taught me not to sweat the small stuff, even though I still have my moments. Most importantly it showed me how important family is and that death isn’t scary, it is just a part of life. To this day I cannot stay mad at someone and cannot handle conflict, I have to fix issues as soon as they happen because I never want the last thing I say to someone to be negative. The personal connection and unfamiliar of death forced me to open up and talk to people because I could not decipher my emotions alone. As a result I learned how to be there for others who eventually started to face similar situations as I did.

Curveball #1 helped shape me by making me:

1: An open book

2: A good listener

3: Adventurous

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