May 6, 2010

end of the line

I'm just a few days from the end of the first year and I find myself feeling nothing what I expected.  Elation, relief, satisfaction.  None of that, really.  And I'm not really sure why.  I could very easily say it's been overshadowed by my brother's diagnosis with cancer but I have difficulty with admitting that.  In a strange way, it's almost a cop out to feel the way I do.  But realistically, it's been daunting. 

As I write this, I'm struck by a realization (which is why I write).  I have felt this way once before.  It was after my wife finished her master's degree.  Never much for planning, we did our life a bit backwards.  We had our child rather young.  My first job out of college paid a whopping $20k for a family of three.  My wife was going back to school at the time to finish her bachelor's degree.  I worked not just hard, but smart starting at the bottom of the bottom.  I achieved some goals in the workforce that made me feel good.  But beneath it all, the primary motivation was supporting my wife and child.  When my wife finished her master's, it suddenly all felt different.  While I was still the main bread winner, we could breathe a big sigh of relief being on sounder footing.  And I realized two things.  One, I no longer wanted to do what I was doing.  It was immensely rewarding and I wouldn't hesitate a moment to do it again but it was no longer enough.  Two, I felt tired.  I felt an exhaustion that went emotionally to my bones. 

So I was left with two opposing forces.  One wanted to wander out on a new path.  The other felt dog tired.  And I guess that's what I feel now.  Through the diagnosis, the doctor's appointments, the screw ups, everything....I can now say my brother is completely off his pain meds after just two rounds of chemo.  Part of me wants to follow the logical path of where that leads, ie smaller tumors.  The emotional part finds it a bit harder to follow down that road.  I guess I'm not so cold after all.  I'm still afraid to get my hopes up, even though the rational part is telling me the first step of the journey is almost done.  We'll know next week after his CT scans.

So as before, I'm left feeling emotionally depleted and so not quite emotionally ready to wander off down the next step of my medical training.  I think my wife was right when she said I need to disappear off into the woods for a few days.  But back to studying until then.

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