Ok, so there are probably a total of about 3 people who will ever read this, but it feels right to start that way, and since this is my blog, I get to start however I want! And this feels just perfect as I begin to describe what I'm pretty sure is my mid-life crisis.
This time last year, I was in the throes of misery from my ruptured disc that had yet to be discovered. That misery would continue in earnest until the last day of May when the first of what would be 4 lumbar spine surgeries took place. I thought everything was over and months-long painful ordeal would just be a distant memory by this time....but life tends to throw us curveballs...and as anyone who knows me at all could tell you, I've never been good at hitting any kind of ball, let alone a tricky one!
While nothing is set in stone yet, with each passing day and week and month and no real improvement in the function of my left ankle/foot, as I approach the 6-month mark from my spinal fusion surgery it seems more and more likely that the nerve damage is permanent and my life will be somewhat altered forever. Not only is the nerve damage likely here to stay, but I am in all likelihood facing a lifetime of continued spinal problems as fusing the spine always puts extra stress on all the other levels above and below what was fused. The question is less "if" I'll need more surgery, but "when". Knowing this, it's forced me to rethink some things...mainly what I can realistically do and what I can't.
Emily is now ten and a half and in 4th grade at a Christian school. Ethan will be in Kindergarten at the same school next fall. For the cost of their tuition, we could, quite literally be making payments on second house. I've been a full-time stay-at-home-mom for most of my adult life now. While I have a degree in Music education, I don't want to be a teacher and realistically, it would be very difficult for me to be on my feet full-time in any capacity. So that's out....but I still need to find a way to help supplement our income.
At first, I thought that I'd give myself some time to recover from my surgeries and then I'd try to find a simple part-time job in the evenings somewhere like Target or Meijer. But after applying and interviewing several times and places, nothing was working out. In the back of my mind, I've toyed with the idea of finding a job in the medical field somewhere (which surprises no one more than me) but I have zero training in anything related to medicine or health care. I also know that the vast majority of health care related jobs involve being on my feet and/or lifting, neither of which would be a good idea. But one night, I stumbled upon a website that offered a completely online course that could be completed within a few months and had an excellent track record in graduates being hired immediately upon completing the program, sometimes even working from home.
And so that is the story of how, just a few moments ago, I am now enrolled as an online student at the age of 36, hoping to learn a brand new career as a Certified Medical Coder. The field is predicted to grow almost 25% in the coming years and with an entirely new set of coding guidelines being rolled out something this year, it's a very good time to get in and get started, as even experienced coders will have to relearn the system.
All this being said, I'm slightly terrified. I haven't intentionally studied anything school-related in MANY years now. While I have a track-record as a very good student, to whom most things (except math and gym) came easily, that was when I was young and fresh and not half-brain-dead from two children and a medication that causes some short-term memory loss and focusing issues. It should be interesting, to say the least. It's also going to be a bit of a challenge for me to have to have some extra structure to my days (and likely nights). My kids schedules are my schedule, but now I have to carve out some significant time to study and learn. That could be interesting and it is a little (or maybe a LOT) daunting. So if you have a few moments and could spare a few extra prayers, I'd appreciate them. I always thought a mid-life crisis was supposed to be more fun....but this proving to be mostly terrifying!!!