Phase One: Adapting

I left my door open after dinner last night which eventually led to meeting and hanging out with six other people from my hall. Wahoo! There is quite a mix of majors on my floor with a big chunk of biochemistry pursuers. It’s good to know that there are a couple of math majors close by too if I need some help!

There was an informational session of sorts this morning in a big arena with all of the other honors college students, during which I broke out my earplugs for the first time at college. I brought mostly tan earplugs with me so that they aren’t too obvious. In high school I could wear neon orange ear plugs and it wasn’t a big deal because everyone new my medical history. It’s different here in this new setting with unfamiliar faces.

Last night’s #btsm chat focused on social adaptation after diagnosis and treatment, and the feedback had some really helpful insights. One participant commented on the difference between “hiding” one’s medical history and simply being mindful of what you’re saying. She saw not sharing a medical history as not hiding the truth, but rather just not advertising, which makes sense. I know that I would be overjoyed to find someone else who had a brain tumor in college, but sharing my medical history with everyone right off the bat would get me nowhere and likely cause isolation rather than integration.

Someone else mentioned during the chat that for the first through three years after her surgery she still felt more fatigued than friends who hadn’t had brain surgeries. That would seem like a no brainer, but most people don’t understand that there are so many wires reconnecting up there and other brain bits that still need to recover even if they aren’t visible. It’s hard for people to know that I need to take a nap, stay in at night, or make other adjustments throughout the day to maintain my energy balance. I’d like to express these concerns with some new friends I have made (some of which go to bed past 2am and wake up around 6am!) as the reason behind why I haven’t joined them, but I’ll wait a bit longer.

I’ve seen a couple of people wearing Relay for Life shirts and I can’t help but wonder if they are one of my “people”. I’ll put my curiosity to use and ask about their ties to the event next time I see one of the shirts floating around campus.

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