For whatever reason, math is hard for me. Really hard. So hard that sometimes I want to give up. I have a precalculus test today, and I am looking for a way to motivate. I find it in what I’ve learned about myself this past year….

About a year ago, my mom was helping me shift up on my hospital bed in the rehab facility. My body was too weak to hold itself upright, and I was constantly sliding down toward the foot of the bed while my broken but healing collarbones raged at me. It was the usual struggle I dealt with several times a day, but everything kind of hit me at once. After two months of trying to accept this new place that seems so very far away from where I was, I was having a moment. I threw my head back and covered my face with my hands. Tears welled up in my one working eye. “WHY does everything have to be so hard?” I said. I was finally starting to gain some independence. I was able to make my way to the bathroom in my room, which was a massive improvement from the adult diapers I had in the hospital. But this tiny glimmer of independence came with a very long list of things to be arranged before I was actually mobile. Was my O2 monitor detached from my finger and the alarm turned off? Did I have grippy socks on? Where was my gait belt? I need to put that on. Now I need to call a nurse to walk me from my bed to the toilet. Once I was finished, it was time to get back to bed and the process reversed. My mom would help me find just the right place on the edge to sit so that once I laid down in the bed I wouldn’t slide down because my body was too weak to hold me up.

In that moment, the last two months of fighting to live, then breathe on my own, then move came to a head. I was exhausted. I used to take the stairs instead of an elevator, do the hard variations during hot yoga classes, and at this point I couldn’t even get my left foot to cooperate enough to walk on my own. I wanted so badly to give up, but I could not be happier that I didn’t. I want to live and I want to thrive. And to get to that destination, I had to re-learn how to walk. And deal with a half-paralyzed face. And make sure I’m not accidentally ignoring someone talking on my right. And, on and on. And you know what? That stuff sucks. But not enough to stop me from doing anything that I want to. I wish that I could go back and answer my own question. Why does this have to be so hard? Because my life is worth the fight. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many other ways to come to this conclusion and I hope that no one has to learn it the way I did, but this realization has pulled me from the depths of despair time and time again.

So, here I am answering my question now about precalc with the response I know I will have when I am in med school. It’s worth it, and I can do this.   I know from experience now.


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