I am on the precipice of taking the biggest risk I have ever taken in my entire life.
The fact of the matter, though, is that I am a pretty risk averse person, and there’s no hiding it.
I didn’t grow up that way. I played the most violent sports I could throughout my childhood and in high school, and I put myself into challenging situations where the only way out was to adapt to the world around me. Then I left home for four years of college where I learned how to be independent, why independence is so important, and what it takes to survive a life with cystic fibrosis.
I became risk adverse after college when my health began to fail me. Over a period of 24-36 months starting in the second half of 2013, I watched the world spin without me. Sure, I was still doing things, I had an entry-level job in a major healthcare corporation, I had my friends and family, and I was going through the motions of everyday life, but it sure didn’t feel like I was doing much.
It felt like I was stuck waiting, waiting for something to happen. I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of massive illness where I had to put my life on hold every other month, or even every couple weeks. With each trip to the outpatient Interventional Radiology Unit at North Shore University Hospital, I was forced to side step my mounting responsibilities so I could take care of my health. Too bad North Shore didn’t offer a frequent flyer program.
The natural response to my growing health concern was to cut those external responsibilities – part time work was a short-term answer as was cutting myself out of my larger social circle. Put simply, I lost touch with a lot of people after college. I wasn’t living the typical recent college grad life in the city, and I certainly wasn’t much of a professional. I was living at home.My life was all about waking up, doing an extended treatment session, going to work, coming home, doing more treatments, playing video games or watching Game of Thrones, doing a third treatment session, sleeping, and then repeating day in and day out. I have, of course, documented a limited version of all that.
A lot has happened since then, and maybe one day I’ll get into all of it, but I sit here, at 9:50pm on Tuesday, July 23 writing instead of packing. The safety net I built, the routine I have perfected and the life I have known for the last 6 years all in the name of preserving what lung function I have left will not be the same ever again.
I am following a dream I made for myself when I was 21 years old, and I am jumping into it head first. I have always wanted to do something bigger than I could ever imagine, and I know this is where I start down that path. But first I have to assume this risk; living in a place I have never lived before, hours and hours away from the support system that has kept me alive for nearly three decades. Everything will change for me, and it’s terrifying, exciting, thrilling, and amazing.
I have worked my ass off for more than half a decade to get my health back to a place where I feel confident about jumping into the deep end, and now I am here!!
The podcast won’t end and the blog won’t cease to exist when I get to Dartmouth. The fundraising we do to fight CF won’t go away and you damn well know we won’t stop until all of us living with CF get the chance to breathe effortlessly.