hear anything? if you do, it's probably the extremely loud and satisfying sigh of relief coming through your computer screen. while a small fraction of my brain has been devoted to usual business (work, running, and managing the odds 'n' ends of life), there has been a white bear taking up much of the real estate in my frontal cortex over the last few months.
why white bear? well, try not to think of a white bear. the picture above probably doesn't help your cause, but i think you get my drift.
as you may have gathered from the post title, we finally got some (wonderful!) news, and therefore i get to come clean about what the stress was all about!
background: josh and i did start medical school together (that's where we met!), but because i spent an extra year doing research (aka: dropping out of the md/phd program) we haven't been 'in sync' since. meaning: every time one of us has had to apply for the next step, in order to stay in the same geographic location, we've had only two options: one dark blue and one light.
first it was josh's residency (surgery).
then it was my residency (pediatrics).
then it was my fellowship (pediatric endocrinology).
and this (final!) time, it was his fellowship (vascular surgery).
it doesn't help that we are both drawn to subspecialties . . . small and specific subspecialties for which there is only 1 fellow (at most) per year accepted at each institution! this time, we felt really trapped. i had been lucky enough to get the fellowship of my dreams, locking me into 3 more years at this institution. but now? it was his turn . . . and as hard as it was for me to snag a peds endo spot, vascular surgery is a far more competitive field to be aiming for.
even as we both fervently hoped he would get to stay in this area, josh wanted to keep his options open. he interviewed at multiple programs in north carolina and virginia, and even looked at a few in philadelphia, since my parents are there. every time he went on a trip to interview, i had a panicky sense of doom come over me.
i kept thinking: WHAT IF HIS ONLY OPTION WAS TO GO AWAY!? would i stay here? would we be a long-distance couple, traveling back and forth constantly and seeing each other only on weekends!? would it mean years of delay before starting a family? would he end up working 75 minutes away, leaving us both with massive commutes? would i (could i? should i?) abandon my own career to follow him?? after all, his job is going to be far more lucrative, and i want to work part-time someday anyway . . .
i even started entertaining wild scenarios such as quitting medicine to become a writer -- or maybe a consultant for grey's anatomy (god knows they could use my help). but really, these thoughts were not very realistic, and the truth is that even though i despise call and the hours, in general I LIKE MY JOB -- and i especially think i will love it once i am doing endocrinology full time.
of course, josh interviewed at the local institutions, but it was really hard to tell where he stood. time was running out -- it's complicated, but we knew that if they didn't give him an answer by may 5th, he would have to decide to either enter a match process (with his only options being AWAY from this area) or to abandon HIS career hopes and dreams. no matter how many times i rehashed all of the alternative options, i could not find any answer that was acceptable to both of us.
and last night, we got the amazing news that josh got the spot that we were both going nearly crazy about hoping for. we will get to pursue the career paths that we both have chosen for ourselves, and we will never be forced to make this kind of heart-wrenching choice ever again.
happy friday, INDEED.
also, ps: thank you all for (white) bearing with me over the past few weeks!! i appreciate all the support even if i had been rather cryptic about everything. it felt lovely to finally explain myself this morning. hooray!