Coping With the Loss of My Beloved Career Path
The most devastating blow since my myasthenia gravis diagnosis a year ago has been the loss of my career path, which was my passion. My symptoms began a month before the last semester of my undergraduate degree. Although I am eternally grateful that I received a rapid diagnosis, with that confirmation came all of the grievances.
Since elementary school, I’ve wanted to explore and find fascinating objects beyond everyday eyesight. Searching for crystals and fossils has always enticed me, and eventually I knew it was the perfect career choice for me. I attended undergrad at the University of South Florida with a declared major in anthropology concentrated on southwest American Indian archaeology.
In my first year, I traveled to conferences, became a board member of the school anthropology club, and attended a six-week archaeological field school in the Nebraska Sandhills. I was open to other paths in anthropology, but I always felt most inspired by the stories archaeology builds as well as the archaeologist persona.
Early in my diagnosis, I felt as if my identity was disintegrating each time I attended a doctor’s appointment or clicked on another depressing article about the outlook for MG patients. I knew a career that relied on my body to handle extreme heat and long physical days was no longer the best option for me.
I allow myself all the time I need to grieve; it’s all right if the future doesn’t constantly seem bright. Yet, I ensure I leave it at missing what once was, and not hope for what I used to have to return.
Endless opportunities to reinvent ourselves will come our way. MG often forces us to stop, ponder, and simplify our days to align with what we deem most valuable. It’s crucial for individuals with chronic illness to focus on our purpose instead of on activities we may have once considered our only passions.
One of the most challenging tasks for people with MG is learning how to let go of expectations. We experience so much change that expectations will lead to heartbreak.
My MG diagnosis prompted me to explore a new anthropological focus, which brings me a sense of fulfillment I hadn’t previously experienced. At the moment, I am dedicating my energy to chronic illness, rare disease, and disability research and advocacy. An unparalleled sense of satisfaction comes from using our societal privilege to lend our voices, platforms, and lives to matters more significant than ourselves.
We are not responsible for the pain and hardships life forces upon us. However, we are accountable for moving forward and gaining wisdom from these experiences. Our futures can still be enthralling and perhaps even more wonderful than we ever envisioned.
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