A Road Not So Easily Traveled
I am the biggest advocator of following your dreams. Try to tell that to someone who was just diagnosed with a life-altering illness. I remember being 21 years old thinking my life was over. I decided to spend all my time doing for others. I remember approximately 5 years after my diagnosis, thinking, I am living on borrowed time. 10 years pass and I am still doing nothing with my life. I was taking care of my children, but that was it. I wasn't making long-term goals. I figured I wasn't going to be around long-term so why should I plan. Still, after 10 years! I was waiting for death to find me. What was I thinking? I look back at that person and want to shake her.... WAKE UP AND GET IT TOGETHER!!!! Finally I started taking classes without any sort of direction. I took classes to take them. Along the way I found distractions. Not wanting to call my current career a distraction. It was a comfortable place to land—living on borrowed time and all, right? I am not sure when that voice in my head got quiet. Somewhere along the road I stopped hearing it. Every so often it poked its ugly head out—usually after a doctor’s visit. What if I get through school and I die the next day? What if I could have spent one more moment cuddled with my kids and didn’t take that chance. What if . . . needed to shut the heck up! I really never thought I would be here. I really never thought I would make it through nursing school, much less be alive. What I would give to go back and do it all again. What I would say to that 21 year old me. . .(sigh) Instead I will tell all of you… I am sorry you are diagnosed with HIV. I am sorry your family and friends don’t like you anymore. I am sorry that you have been sold a crappy lot in life. I am sorry that you will never find true love. I am sorry that you can’t have children. I am sorry that you weren't able to get a good education. I am sorry. . . Now, listen very carefully. . . You CAN find new friends. You CAN find true love. You CAN have children. You CAN get a good education. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO! Next week I am getting my Associates Degree in Nursing. I will be a Registered Nurse (R.N.) How cool is that!!! I never thought I would be here. Heck, I never thought I would see all of my children graduate high school, much less see my own grandchildren—who are gorgeous! I can't wait to see what the future brings! Thank you all for your love and support, Jae
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