Evolution of a PhD
I’ve lived with DMD for over 30 years and the progression has been relatively slow. I was 2 years into a postdoctoral fellowship after earning a PhD in engineering. Things were turned upside down in December 2021 when I was hospitalized with a septic gallbladder. This was the first time I had ever been through surgery of any kind. I was intubated and then fitted with a feeding tube, which prevented me from speaking. After 45 days and a tracheostomy, I was finally discharged to my home with a portable ventilator. Not to mention a hairline fracture in my hip.
In the last year and a half I’ve been through a long rehab process and I am able to talk, eat, operate my power chair, and just made my first overnight trip in 2 years. Since I’ve been unable to work with much more downtime, I decided to start reevaluating myself and my situation. I started volunteering for nonprofit organizations helping other people with disabilities and it has been amazing! I’ve reconnected with elementary school friends who I haven’t talked to in 20 years. I joined online dating sites to search for a partner (ongoing) and started to ascertain my ability to potentially have children once I find the right woman to have a family with.
None of this is to say I regret my graduate work or years before my surgery. I’m thankful for all the work and sacrifices loved ones and colleagues made during my years at the university where I worked. However, I’m now finding that there are many areas of my life that were lagging that mean too much to be ignored. One of these areas is mental health. After all, my time in the ICU took me to extremely dark places that I still have trouble avoiding at times. I am excited to join The Mighty to share my story and to provide help to others who want or need it!