Thursday, February 7, 2008

The College Years

Right after high school I moved out of Craig and Rhonda's and into an apartment of my own. That July, Nate moved out of his parent's house and in with me. Also that month, I started my very first job at Valu Home Center as a cashier/sales associate. I very quickly worked my way up to counting inventory and checking in new shipments. I got a raise a little while after I started. In August 1999 I started college classes at Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) and was determined to finish with an Associates Degree in Business Administration. Since I wasn't sure how things were going to go, I started out part time with my classes and still worked part time also. Things were going great! Nate and I then started looking to buy our first home together (a mobile home). He proposed to me in November 1999 while we were at home and I accepted. We waited until Thanksgiving to tell almost everyone. My sister Kate already knew because she was there when he proposed. We were a very busy couple! We got approved to buy a mobile home and we moved in December 1999 from Homer to Dryden. This is also about the same time that I had to change doctors again. I was no longer pediatric, I had to start seeing the adult CF doctor, Dr. Sexton. We were now living in the same town where I was going to school. I quit my job at the hardware store and started working at the local pizzeria so that I didn't have to travel so far to go to work. Eventually things didn't work out at the pizzeria, the owner and I didn't see eye to eye, so I quit. That same day, I filled out an application at Mobil gas station and almost immediately had an interview. I went to the interview and I was hired. The job wasn't too bad and the manager was more than willing to work with my school schedule.

I was working at Mobil full time and then also started my classes back up after the winter break and they were full time too. So, I basically worked and went to school. It wasn't too bad at first. I wasn't really in the hospital all that much. Living in the mobile home is the first place where I coughed up blood. That was scary when it first happened!! Dr. Sexton told me that it was really nothing to worry about unless is was more than 1/4 cup. After the blood happened, that's when my lungs started getting worse. I had to start wearing oxygen at night while I was sleeping too because my O2 levels would drop while I was sleeping. Instead of staying in the hospital for long periods of time, I started doing IV antibiotics more frequently at home. It was easier this way so I could continue working and going to school. Toward the end of 2000, I was still continuing on with my classes and working at Mobil but I was now also working at the Video Shop on the weekends. That job was awesome and the owners, Mike and Gina, were very nice. I have not seen Mike in quite some time and I miss him.

I started going to the doctors office more frequently as time went on. I had more espisodes of coughing up blood and had IV treatments more frequently, so in August 2001, I had a mediport implanted in my chest. This made it so that I didn't have to get peripheral IV's anymore. It was much more convient to do IV antibiotics this way. Around December of 2001, Nate and I started planning the wedding on top of everything else that was going on. We had even bought our wedding rings a little while before that. We didn't want to get married until I was done with school because I was getting financial aid and if we would have gotten married, they would have gone by his income and my financial aid would be gone! I was planning to graduate college in May 2002. In my last semester of college, it started to seem hopeless that I would graduate on time. They had my degree wrong. It was still some sort of Business degree but it wasn't Business Administration like I wanted. I had to switch some of my last semester classes right before we began the semester, and that worked out fine. I was then told that I needed to take some sort of Physical Education class which I knew that I couldn't do. I got a doctor note saying that I couldn't be in PE when I was in high school and they weren't going to let me do it now either. I got away with taking Drug Studies. There was one time that we took a test in that class and I noticed on one of the multiple choice questions that the right answer wasn't there. I pointed it out to the professor while we were taking the test and he had to look it up in the book. I was right!! People thought I was crazy to question the professor, but I got 4 extra points on my exam for pointing out his mistake! Woohooooo!!

About three weeks before college graduation, graduating really seemed impossible. I started coughing up blood again and this time is was a large quantity. I had to have surgery on my lung to stop the bleeding. Of course that would cause me to be behind on my college work. I had someone picking it up and bringing it to me though so I could try to keep up. I had a final report to do with a group in one class, a final exam for American History, a final exam for College Algebra and Triganometry, and a few other things that I needed to finish before the end of classes so that I could graduate. The day after I was released from the hospital was about a week before the end of classes so I went right back to class without taking a break at home. The Professors thought that I was crazy but I told them that I couldn't put classes off and graduate in August because I had a wedding to finish planning. My wedding, which was taking place on July 27, 2002. I caught up on all of my work and took all of my finals on time. I think that I got high B's or A's on most of them, which again amazed the Professors. On my Algebra and Trig final, the Professor told me to come in the next day and she would have my final graded in case I needed to take it again for a better grade. I went into her office the day after the final and she told me that I was fine. She handed me my exam and I got a 105/100. I got almost everything right and the bonuses right!! I still have that exam as a souvenir!! So, I beat the odds again and graduated college (.5 below honors) with an Associate's Degree in Business Administration in May 2002. Now it was on to finishing the plans for the wedding!!

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