Senior Year Of College And Living With Chronic Pain
Hi there! I have some exciting news to share (and I did mean to post this in August)! As you can see from my title, I'm a senior in college! While I have reached such a milestone, there are still worries and pain I'm facing. Before I get to some of the current struggles, I wanted to share a glimpse into my dream career.
I want to be a Child Life Specialist! And yes, I will share more if your first reaction is, "what is a Child Life Specialist?" Don't worry; I get this question a lot...
At nineteen, my mom showed me an article from someone in this career and her day-to-day life. I was quickly intrigued. Until that day, I had never heard of this field, and I started looking into it more closely out of curiosity. I realized that my experiences with chronic pain could help me show more empathy to patients and families. And since then, I have felt this is the path God has planned for me.
After college, I would later study to get my master's degree and complete intern hours in this field. I'm not against more school, but it still feels far away. I will share more in this post, but I encourage you to look at childlife.org. This website has information if you are curious.
A Child Life specialist works in a children's hospital setting (although there are other possible locations as well). They help children cope with their illness, pain, or injury and are there to advocate for their needs. Also, they work with the families because of the stresses and fears in a hospital. In addition, they help others on staff to ensure that the patients and their needs are the main priority. Some of what they do is play therapy, distract the children during treatment, and even help plan events.
It's hard to imagine I would be able to take on such a career because of my pain and limitations. I'm not even sure how I would be able to work for several hours at a time and keep up. That's why I'm in a season of praying, asking questions, and listening to not only the advice of others but also God.
When I originally wrote out this blog post, I started to share my excitement about what I hope to take away from this year. I wanted the focus to be on the blessings and excitement I started feeling in August when I thought about entering senior year. And while there have been blessings because of the community and opportunities I am receiving this season, I face continued struggles.
One of them being the progression of my CMT. I didn't know I could face this amount of pain after only a few years of being diagnosed. And my balance has been more affected these last few months. Though I use a wheelchair three days a week, I'm noticing an increase in problems with walking, more so than the previous semester. And I also have a more challenging time doing basic tasks like opening doors or staying focused in class because of pain. And I'm only typing instead of handwriting for notes and assignments, but it's still been a challenge with the fatigue.
I'm worried that it would be too much for my body to handle additional education after I graduate with my BA. And it's hard. I know the direction of where I believe God is leading me, and yet there are many barriers in the way.
My focus these next few months is on trusting the Lord's purpose. I know He will make a way, even if it takes time off my education. Also, I want to enjoy learning, spending time with friends on campus, and being open to new experiences and dreams. I may not have all of the answers I was hoping for at this point in my journey, but I still have many months ahead in my senior year.
I want to finish off with a quote that has encouraged me and applies well this season. It's from the wise words of Corrie Ten Boom. If you don't know her story, I encourage you to read "The Hiding Place." She endured so much pain, but had hope in the Lord. And this quote has helped me through some of the hardest seasons of my CMT journey.