Monday, February 21, 2011

milestone: I have officially lost count of Remicade treatments

Yesterday, I realized that I have now lost track of how many Remicade infusions I've had.  In celebration of this milestone, and just to spice up the morning since I needed the next four hours to write, I opted to place the I.V. in a very new spot.  On a recommendation from Sempre, I had my last I.V. on the back of my wrist -- ideal for motility and/or mobility.  This time, my nurse honed in on the tiny vein halfway up my medial forearm.  Yeah, it's sensitive there.  Though my nurse is a ninja with a needle, this particular vein had not yet been broken in, and elicited a breath-holding type of pain.  It did do the trick, for I was fully awakened, and with a heating pack the spasms died down in half an hour.  Three essays later, it was time to head home with not even the smallest bruise.  Needle Ninja.

I will probably not use this vessel next infusion because I like to give each vein a fair chance to show off its docking capacity, but I will use it again.  Certainly on days when I need to get work done...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

it's all happening

I haven't posted.  In eons.  This seems to be fashionable among everyone in my little corner of the blogosphere lately.  I haven't posted because I have been unable to transcribe laconically everything that bears reporting (yeah, I know how your anticipation has been eating at your soul).

For those faithful readers who can still recall, this is a blog about a research scientist with Crohn's disease on the path to a PhD.  In the fall of 2009, I applied to four of the most super fancy PhD programs in Neuroscience in the nation.  I was denied by all.  In the fall of 2010, I fine-tuned my program choices and applied to four new schools more fitting to my interests and goals.  This year, I was accepted by all.

Last week, following twelve days of intense interviewing [read: 27 interviews, three states, six plane flights] I was in the throes of a dark mental struggle between the two programs to which I had narrowed down.  It came down to Semi-Prestigious Program with a terrific reputation, a guaranteed research agenda with multiple publications on the horizon, and a comfortably affordable lifestyle; and  Second-Most-Prestigious Program in the Nation, with totally uncertain but potentially amazing opportunities (pending funding), and guaranteed forcing my husband to live in a box for the next six years.

How opportune that during the weekend before Valentine's day my poor husband was in another state attending the memorial of a late family friend and I was forced to stay home to finish my interviews and dwell, in my emotional weakness, on my very first life-changing decision: which of these two lives will be the most beneficial for us both?  I wont lie, it was pretty depressing, and there was a substantial amount of American Dad and Tetris involved.

Fortunately, Valentine's day brought my husband's return, yummy hole-in-the-wall (-slash-victorian-house) Indian food, IBM's Watson on Jeopardy, and the joint-settling of that internal debate.  We decided to accept the invitation of Second-Most Prestigious Program in the Nation.  Don't misunderstand me -- one of the best things about this school is that for its amazing reputation, the environment is so laid back and the community of students and faculty is so collaborative that it is nigh familial.  But I also can't deny that I was swooning at some of the legendary minds with whom I was privileged to interview. 

2011 has been a surreal year for me.  Following 2009-10's Crohn's saga and rejection from all of my programs of choice, I am in a very very different place.  I am healthy-ish, married to a man who can only be described as ineffable, on my way to an amazing adventure (in dirt-poor student-land) and welcomed into the next step of developing my career.  I have published three manuscripts in the last few months with two more in the works, and I have been awarded a fellowship from Second-Most Prestigious Program in the Nation just for being one of their "top recruits".  Surreal.  And I'm too excited to feel guilty about it.  It's all happening.

More on the logistics of being a Crohn in a graduate science program to follow.