“Becoming Natural” has been a work in progress for over forty years. It, to me, is the mountain top experience of all my experiences, and I have quite a story to share. I firmly believe that everything we experience in life makes us stronger for a reason. I don’t believe in luck. We are the product of our accomplishments and our failures, our joy and our pain and the amazing friends and family that have supported and loved us up to this day. I have been richly blessed by all of the above and count my sufferings as a joy. I cling to my faith in difficult times and I wish I clung to it harder in the easy times. I am still in the process of becoming a woman after God’s own heart.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 23 after 5 years of increasing issues that left me in serious pain, often debilitated on the floor unable to breathe. I couldn’t grasp the gravity of my developing disease at such a young age, but it would become grave, incredibly challenging and painful, both physically and emotionally for not only me, but for my family. I was working as an Occupational Therapist at the time in an Acute Care setting and absolutely LOVED my job.
Granny & I at my OT Graduation
When you work in Acute Care you never know what will be behind the next door. I had to combine my knowledge and therapy skills with grief counseling over “new normals”, cheerleader to help work thru pain and hard times, friend to fearful family members coping with ailing loved ones. I learned great communication skills between co-workers, nurses, doctors, x-ray techs, and housekeeping. We all leaned on each other for the betterment of our patient. Thru all of my work in the medical world, I was trained in the Medical Model. That meant find the symptom and treat it. I was becoming a great therapist.
As my bad health kept rearing its ugly head and I kept pretending I was fine, a “dream job” literally fell into my lap just as I was about to have my second invasive stomach surgery. I was single and I needed the additional income to pay for my medical bills. I needed to not have such a physical job at that time. Caring for patients in their most vulnerable times was what I loved to do.
But despite my passion, I had to get my own body healthy. I knew I would be back. I was just doing what I thought was best for my own health. I became a Pharmaceutical Representative peddling the drugs all my patients took while in the hospital. While I was taught how to manage drugs for my patients to make their therapy session one without pain and as comfortable as possible, I then entered the world of “selling” drugs to doctors. Having worked with some of the most amazing doctors in the hospital setting, doctors that saved lives, my life and the lives of the preemature babies I worked with, I felt like I had worked with the best of the best. I had the utmost of respect for their skills and knowledge. While my dream had always been to go back to medical school after I received my Masters, my health took a turn for the worst and medical school was not looking good for my health or my future.
I was, however, still packing lessons into my belt with each lesson becoming a tool for my future life. I was becoming, wait for it, an adult! (Yikes!)
As a Pharmaceutical Rep, I sold GI drugs. I got to call on doctors that knew all about Crohn’s Disease, including my favorite doctor of all time. He got me. He understood me and he protected me like his own daughter. I was his patient from the time I moved closer to home after Graduate School and he guided me through my first very scary surgery and my second. While I liked the freedom I received in my new job as Pharmaceutical Rep Extraordinaire, I missed taking care of patients from day one. I was free to drive around town during the day when I was used to being in the hospital from dark am to dark thirty pm. I called on doctors in their offices and told them the many benefits of the drug I was selling (and I was taking it). I gave them copies of studies that painted my drug in the PERFECT light. There were several other “versions” of my drug made by other companies that slightly changed a molecule here or there, but my company told me MINE was the best and I had the studies to prove it. I was becoming a great Pharmaceutical Rep. After all, I was the only person in my class that made a 100% at “Pharmaceutical School.” Hee hee. Slightly unfair as I was the only one who came from a medical background. But still. I was becoming a great Pharmaceutical Rep.
I ultimately quit my job in pharmaceutical sales when I had my first son. It was not even an option for me. Yet another entirely new world for me with no true validation of my skills or successes. (Men, this is hard. Even on a woman like me that very much wanted to stay home with her kids. To be measured and told you are doing a good job and adding value to your job is a good feeling. And then you have kids whom you love dearly, but get very little 10/10 praises and/or qualifiers. Just days of giving your entire self and body to tiny humans who completely depend upon you to exist.) Over the next 5 years, I had two more wonderful sons, endured an incredible amount of stress from my husband’s job, moved thru tears 10 hours away to the place we now call home.
I was working hard to become a good wife and mom. I was owning my role as mom and wife and friend. Even though, I was getting sicker by the day, I was becoming a great Mom and Wife.
My sections in life are easy to divide. It is easy to move from my obvious single stage, to married, to married with kids. From student, to first time employee, to new job to new life. We are all becoming something. The attitude in which we choose to accept those changes (or reject them) determines the outcome. Yes, I did hard things. I made hard decisions, not always choosing the path of my passion. I didn’t always choose a path for me, but for my family. But every path we chose, my husband and I both chose together and as our next step to Becoming something new.