Today

Today is the day! Tonight I give my last presentation in a classroom, hard to believe that I will be only enrolled in dissertation hours this semester and next….and then hopefully graduation!!!

I remember praying for this day that first semester of my doc program! I was slammed with reading and writing…the goal to reach the day when comps were DONE and when I was only working on my dissertation!

I didn’t realize how bittersweet it would be too! So many long long nights learning statistics, writing 50 page papers, and more! Yes strangely I will miss it!

I think what makes me the most proud….all of this has happened despite the daily excruciating pain and sickness! Finding out I had Rheumatoid Arthritis back when I was in graduate school…and then learning I also had Lupus and later Fibromyalgia….I wasn’t sure many days if I had the energy or ability to pull the late hours, work full time, and have a family. Despite the ups and downs with auto-immune suppression, I’m still hanging in there! Praise The Lord for that!

Yet the journey is close to being over, I am ABD….my next goal is to finish strong! And then to see where God leads me….

This week

This week has certainly been a tough one! Not only have I been focusing on finishing my coursework but I have also been doing the insurance battle again! On Friday, I went to see my infectious disease doctor and finally got clearance from him to start Orencia. I call my rheumatologist’s office to schedule my first infusion, and find out that the last pre-determination document was never sent. I speak with the new office manger and let her know I called three times in May and early June and was told on June 4th, the document had been submitted and I just needed to wait a few weeks. This document was after I had been told my insurance approved Orencia and all was good.

I beg the office manager to send in the form and try to push it forward since it should have been done in May. She did and later called me…apparently my insurance let the office know several months ago that before I am allowed to start Orencia infusions I have to start and fail Enbrel and or Humira. While the thought of self-injections doesn’t scare me I was a little shocked. The tough part is my rheumy has to decide which I can take because I have both RA and Lupus, I know some bio meds I cannot take. Also, my rheumy is out of the country so it will be several weeks before I know what decides to do. His office manager said he could either decide and call in the prescription or make me wait until I see him again in September.

It seems like this journey to get on bio meds has been just that…a journey. Frustrating, annoying, and stressful but I also know things will work out in Gods timing so that I hold on to today. Meds will be approved and finally started, I just have to be patient.

The good news of the weekend, Matt and I went to an amazing restaurant to celebrate the end of my coursework! We enjoyed some great one-on-one time, and commiserated on the long journey that is coming to a close! May/August will be here before I know it!

Praying for a great week, I get off on Wednesday for some much needed vacation time! I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of dissertation work!

Before I go, I have been perusing my pictures from home and I cannot believe how much has changed. As a kid growing up in Honduras, I never thought I would be where I am today! Here is one picture from my home….

20140727-171540-62140541.jpg

And some more pictures I captured this week!

20140727-171625-62185409.jpg

20140727-171624-62184696.jpg

20140727-171625-62185031.jpg

Pillows

You know I realized today how quick we can forgot to be thankful for the small things! My husband brought home body pillows and those things are amazing! Combine those body pillows with some hot water bottles and maybe sleep will be much easier!

As I thought about that I realized how for some people….body pillows are the farthest things from their minds. A priority might be food on the table…maybe more than one meal a day….or running water inside!

I grew up in a country where these things were not available all time and I’ve been blessed to travel around the world to Africa and India….seeing the needs that one I day I hope to help! While my visits to these countries might bring some small sense of help, like a toy or a hug….there is so much more to do. People need water, food, shoes, and importantly they need an education! Education provides kids and adults a way to overcome their current environment. But for many kids and adults….education might not happen.

I am so blessed that in a year, I’ll complete 12 years of higher Education. For many kids and adults out there…..they only wish they could say those same words.

So body pillows got me to thinking tonight…I hope maybe it gets you to thinking. Then maybe we can all start making positive changes for the better. And if you are ever interested in making a change, check out http://www.WorldHelp.com! Amazing resource.

To cap it all off, see how my body pillows got stolen by my kids!

20140720-213248-77568696.jpg

20140720-213248-77568359.jpg

20140720-213248-77568015.jpg

How many more days of this??

I have caught myself asking the question “how many more days of this….” all weekend long. Dose three (yes I am counting) of the LTBI meds was this weekend, needless to say it was one of the most miserable weekends I have had in a while. Both Friday and Saturday night I didn’t get any rest until close to 5:00-6:00a.m. in the morning. I was able to get a few hours of sleep but it was not the most refreshing sleep I have had in my life. Although I should be thankful, I did get some sleep!!

I spent the weekend working on my projects, my proposal paper, and of course my dissertation. I am counting down the weeks, on July 23rd I am done with one class and on the July 31st I give a presentation finishing up my final independent study. Then I am done with coursework. I received notification to pick up my parking permit for campus and realized that I wouldn’t need one because I won’t be on campus but occasionally! It feels so good to say that! The 11 years of going to class week after week is almost done!! But then that also means that the mental struggle to NOT check out is in full swing too!! I just keep telling myself…just a few more weeks!!!!

My vacation has been pushed back until October 😦 The downside is I should still be going so that is good! I will need a break in October! 🙂 And I am going on a cruise in March…so many fun things to look forward too. Just have to finish this writing!

I spoke to a long time family friend today! We were talking about home and all that has changed. He brought up my Dad, in a way it felt good that people feel as if they can talk about him now. Those first few years…so few people brought him up…it still hurts to hear about it…mostly because it is hard to believe it has been 6+ years! He has missed a lot but I do think he would be proud of all that we (my sister and I) have accomplished with our lives! I would love to be Dr. Tucker by the time the 7th anniversary rolls around!

Speaking off…the date to aim for is Feb. 27th! I must have my final defense by this date in order to graduate in May!! YES MAY! But if I miss that deadline, as long as I defend by May 29th…I will be graduating in August 2015. I personally would prefer to graduate in August…mostly because it is a smaller ceremony, more intimate feel to it all….but I would have to pay tuition so then May maybe wouldn’t be so bad! 🙂

Either way, Lord willing, we are about a year from graduation! Once I am done with coursework, I am confident, I will get the writing done. I have a goal to spend no less than 4 hours a night writing on my dissertation with 2 nights a week off. That means if I start writing by 7:00p.m. each night and write/run analysis until 11:00p.m. that would be approximately 20 hours a week on writing. I am confident that I will make strides. And that amount of time is not even calculating all the time I can get on weekends! THIS IS DOABLE! I keep repeating that to myself!

Spoons and hugs! Stay confident in your journey!

One Step…at a time!

One step at a time! Seems so easy to say but very hard to do. I caught myself thinking a lot this weekend on the future. Finishing the degree is half the battle…the next part is getting a job in an area that would interest me. I have been watching several of the major job sites just to get an idea of what is out there. Part of me is excited to think about where I might be working in a year or so…and the other part of me is stressed about it! We cannot win right!

Dose two of my LTBI meds was this weekend. Definitely exhausted, major headache, and feeling just gross. BUT the time at home does help me write! Nothing better to do I suppose :). I have so enjoyed having a four day weekend, we got off on Wednesday!! 🙂 It was sooo nice. A major perk of working in higher education is the school holidays and some what relaxing schedule over the summer. We work 9 hour days and get off on Friday! LOVE IT! Fridays are typically quiet during the semesters, so getting them off during the summer is so nice. I get to sleep in and catch up on much needed rest.

This fall my hubby is registered for more pre-PA classes! He is going to take two classes this fall. It feels weird, the past two years I have been taking between two and three classes a semester, and taking one day a week to go to class. Now I will be home writing most every night and he will be off in class. We are excited though for him to chip away at the classes he needs to finish before PA school. He will be a great PA!

I’m off to finish writing, I have been working on a constant-comparative program evaluation. My quantitative data came in and now I’m working on some of my qual data. I have a few themes already….and I will be adding more this week as I do one-on-one phone interviews. YAY 🙂 #Spoons #haveagreatweek

Hanging in there!

Well the first week on the LTBI meds have rough….but still hanging in there. One day at a time :-). The good news is there are positives despite the rough times! I am making progress on my chapters, yay! And I’m running new analysis on my methodology! More work but it is good :-). And I might be traveling in a few weeks! So hanging in there, hoping for a better feeling day today….maybe some relief before dose 2 on Friday!

20140703-023412-9252659.jpg

20140703-023411-9251969.jpg

20140703-023412-9252306.jpg