What long anticipation and it has finally come! It feels as if our entire life together has led up to this very day. I can even remember on our very first date the yet-to-be-DrOgg and I sharing our individual dreams for the future. He intimated that he had been reading about the life of renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and it inspired him to perhaps become a surgeon himself. I was certainly impressed with his strong desire and sense of calling. He told me then--and still believes--that as in the parable of the talents, we will all be judged by how we have used the gifts that God has given us and that he did not want to squander his. Though I mostly hung out with grad students and young professionals at the time I had never heard any of them talk about their careers with so much passion. I really admired his ambition and believed --without the slightest doubt or cynicism-- that he could do it...no, that he would do it. Little did I know in that early time of new love and exciting changes in our lives that it would not be like that forever but, the true meaning of the word passion is "to suffer."
It is kind of weird to think that I can mark almost every single step in our life together with some step towards DrOgg's career in medicine. I suppose our dating and engagement was the dreaming phase. Like every new couple we talked about the hopes and dreams we had for ourselves and our future home and family. We also wondered if he could pull it off and get into medical school. Was this God's plan for us as well for were we kidding ourselves? You have to understand that not having any physicians in the family or as friends that this really was a huge unknown for us. But we took a step of faith and just nine days before our wedding (and about 14 months after our first date) DrOgg took the MCATS. And so we were off to our honeymoon, no longer thinking of the leaps of faith that lay ahead.
Next, our newlywed year was the wishing and waiting phase. I remember us just wondering what his scores would be, waiting just to get and interview and finally wishing and hoping for that letter of acceptance. I will admit that i was not, always sure that it would come. We had heard that a lot of people (many with higher MCAT scores) had applied to medical school --even multiple times-- without ever matriculating. It was a scary thought and I didn't want him to be discouraged or have to reapply (another year seemed like forever at the time, haha). Also, DrOgg had really put himself out there and told everyone we know about his dream and put in what seemed like a lot of work at the time to prep for the MCATS. But, luckily our newlywed bliss was increased with the knowledge that he would be given the opportunity to fulfill his dream. I remember us coming home one day to our little apartment and checking the mail (as we did every day) with the expectation and there it was: a letter from The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine!!! It said that they would be pleased to have DrOgg as a member of their class of 2011. We were so happy, excited and relieved! Now we were more certain than ever that this was God's plan. Soon MrOgg would become DrOgg! And we were moving to Erie, PA....um, where is that?
So, just after celebrating our first wedding anniversary we moved to Erie to start this unknown journey. To me a medical education felt like navigating a wild river without a map. If you have ever gone white water rafting than you know there are times of relative peace followed by amazing turbulence and even waterfalls to navigate. When navigating a medical education you can feel like you are participating in an Olympic level event with little to no training on how to navigate these hazards. It can be an isolating time but, if you are lucky you will meet other friendly travelers on the way. At times they will be just a little further up river and can tell you what to expect and other times you just find out for yourself.
The most discouraging were the times when we saw those who started the journey along side us fall behind or worse yet, lose their families along the way. I believe that our God was our Guiding Star through this entire journey. You needn't know every whirlpool or waterfall along the way that threatened to destroy our faith and our little family. Just know that in every night there was a North Star and that in every watery trap when I thought I would never come up for air that was the very moment when I did. Even when we considered leaving that crazy river for good somehow we carried on. I think that God has shown us through His guidance that this was the right path. From DrOgg's admittance with not so great MCAT scores to his acceptance into the the competitive specialty he had dreamed of since day one...we can see God opening doors.
Passion: Suffering. I feel like this is perhaps a good definition of the medical profession. Physicians sacrifice so much for this "passion"; for their love of medicine and commitment to serving their patients. I imagine that the sacrifices don't end with medical school or residency either. As we are just starting on the long road of DrOgg's five year surgical residency I feel a little like a westward traveler who has just made it to the Mississippi. We've made it half-way but, the most difficult leg of our journey mat still lie ahead. The unknown is still scary but, I think that if we had stayed at home and built a nice safe white-picket fence existence for ourselves than we would have always wondered "What if...?" We've learned many difficult life lessons and our family has grown since we first set out. One thing has never changed for me since that first innocent conversation when we shared our hopes and dreams. I still believe without a shadow of a doubt that he can do this. Orthopedic Surgery is a hard road but, I know he will be great. And I believe that he will be conscientious and excellent in his surgical skills but, also in his patient care because he is a truly compassionate. So, now that he is graduated and finally fulfilling this long sought after dream I want DrOgg to know how proud I am. Proud of the courageous dream he chose to follow. Proud of the hard work he has done to make it happen. But, most of all proud of his faith which has gotten him --and sometimes carried us both-- through it all.