I graduated from the University of Michigan in biomedical engineering this last weekend.
I am overwhelmed with the idea that I not only graduated despite all health odds against me, but did it in the typical 4 year time period–and excelled in one of the hardest programs at UM.
As I think back over the last 4 years, it’s easy for me to make a long list of the reasons why I didn’t think I’d receive my diploma eight semesters after I left my home in Chicago. And not only to have graduated, but to additionally have a myriad of experience under my belt and a stellar GPA.
Let’s face it, college away from home with a grocery list of chronic illnesses and medications doesn’t really scream simple success.
But despite all the chronic illness struggles (e.g. BG rollercoasters mid-finals weeks, Zipcar trips on the ice at night to get groceries for the 12 meals that week, and more), normal people sick struggles (e.g. mono, sinus infections, random thanks-diabetes-for-making-me-infection-prone illnesses, and more), a broken foot in the depths of winter, a tonsillectomy, burdens of homework and exams, sagas of relationships past, and more–I am here. I did it.
I started ADSG about 3 years ago and connected myself to a thriving community I never knew existed. I am endlessly grateful for the support of the diabetes communities, celiac communities, food allergy communities, and others, who have not only read my blog, but also helped me through the darker days (whether with a blog post comment, direct message on Twitter, or a little heart on Instagram to share love of my quick, safe meals in my studio apartment).
I would not have made it through without the love of all of you.
This weekend I graduated on behalf of the entire chronic illness community. For all those who were able to reach a milestone in their lifetimes (however small) and for those who may not have been able to–my diploma will be framed and hung in honor of all of you, as well as in honor of my achieving this point.
We’re a community on the good days and the bad, and as I am celebrating my graduation, I am celebrating each and every one of you–and the impact you’ve had on my life thus far, and the moments we’ll celebrate together in the future (both virtually and hopefully in real life).
Take it easy, but take it.