Running Wild

A diamond taking shape.

May
16

Well.

I have been home for all of 2 weeks and I’m already incredibly homesick for Virginia. I miss the WCV and all of the friends I made there (even those who left before I did). I know it will be soon enough before I am back in the state (physically, emotionally, and mentally) where I know I belong.

So I will not use this post to whine about how I am not in Virginia because I really am grateful to be back here in the good ol’ flatlands of Illinois with my family – honest! Instead I am going to talk about a man who, 2 weeks ago, was my teacher and mentor and is now no longer considered either as I have since graduated.

This man’s name is Dr. Eric Bergsten and he is one of the vets who taught at my school. He’s a pretty awesome guy; I owe him a ton of gratitude for all that he’s done for me. He wrote me one of the 3 letters of recommendations I needed to get into the WCV externship (thank you!). He spoke very highly of me when the place I used him as a reference called him inquiring about me (thank you!!). And he also was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from.

Dr. Bergsten deserves a special thank you from me for reasons I can only explain in the thank you letter I sent to him today:

May 16, 2016

Dear Dr. Bergsten,

First off I just wanted to say thank you so much for the past year and a half. I learned so much from all of the teachers at Fox College, however I believe I learned the most about patient care and animal compassion from you.

Almost a year ago I was having a tough time in my personal life and I was considering either dropping from the program indefinitely or at least postponing my education for a bit. I thought I had made my decision: I planned on finishing the term and then I would drop. I had made up my mind; that is until I went to one of your last lectures for the term.

The class you were teaching was “Emergency Medicine for Small Companion Animals”. In general that class was tough for me. Between the personal problems I was facing at home and memorizing all the potential toxicities for dogs and cats as well as studying various protocols for different emergency cases, I’ll be honest I struggled quite a bit as I’m sure many of my fellow classmates did as well. No matter the class nor the topic though, you always gave us all the information we required to prepare us for our future patients (and clients) regardless of the difficulty of the content. I thank you for never “sugar coating” the real world of working in a clinic setting.

I digress to the reason I stayed in the vet tech program: your last lecture that had been about different animal abuse cases you’ve seen throughout your many years in practice.  You showed us some pretty gruesome pictures and you shared some even worse, unbelievable stories. The one that truly sunk in, however, and pulled at my heart strings was the case of the dog who was hit over the head with a shovel. That was such a chilling story and it was just as difficult to hear as I’m sure it was for you to recount. But I thank you for sharing that story with us on that day when I needed to hear it the most.

For the first time in many grueling months of long lectures and nonstop studying, I felt, for lack of a better word: needed. After hearing about what those animals had gone through at the hands of humans who were not so much as worthy of their loyalty nor their kindness, I finally started feeling the way I did during my very first term at Fox College. I realized that no matter the difficulties I was facing in my personal life, there was an animal in the world that needed an advocate, a voice, a friend. And after listening to you speak of just a small handful of those who needed someone to stand up on their behalves, I promised myself from that moment on I was going to do my best to speak for those who cannot – just as you have done for your entire career. Thank God for people like you and for every other doctor and technician at the Vet Tech Institute at Fox College.

To summarize, within a 45 minute lecture period and without saying anything more than what was necessary, you captivated the attention of 42 veterinary technician students and taught them an unforgettable lesson in both practice and in life: above all other trials we may face, be an advocate to those whom have no voice. That lesson alone is what helped me put one foot in front of the other that day and each day thereafter and vow to be as loyal and as kind as the companions we share this earth with.

Part of our job in this field is to humanely say farewell to those who cannot or will not fight anymore. Although that is something I will never fully be prepared for and I know will never sit quite right with me, I think that is exactly how I am supposed to feel. And I know that it is both the burden and responsibility we all share as professionals in the veterinary field, for we have each taken an oath “to alleviate animal suffering… conscientiously and with sensitivity”.

Dr. Bergsten, you did an amazing job preparing us for our futures as veterinary technicians and I can only hope that eventually in the course of both my career and each of my fellow classmates’ in cohort 11DV14 that we take shape into the diamonds you saw we could be 18 months ago.

I’ve recently come back from a job interview from a small animal hospital near Richmond, Virginia. I heard from the Drs. whom were interviewing me that you had some very kind words to say about me when they called you. That interview went extremely well and providing I pass the VTNE in July I could potentially have a job waiting for me in the state of our nation’s capital.

I cannot thank you enough for all that you’ve given me. Not just for the wonderful reference for the job in Richmond, but for also teaching me, encouraging individual thought process on case studies, instilling in me a sense of curiosity and joy for learning, and uncovering a deep mantle of compassion and empathy to which continues to push me forward with each passing day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
All the best,

Libby Wickwire
11DV14

Thanks for everything, Dr. B – Cheers!

Day 1 – Off to a lazy start

Jan
01

Well today is the first day of the new year and I only did one thing today, which was have lunch with an old friend. But I’m not going to stress out about how it’s January 1st and I’m not doing anything productive with my year yet. As far as I’m concerned I’m still on vacation. I’m making good choices but I’m not quite in full training mode yet – that starts on Tuesday.

I’m so content with the way I’m starting this year. I don’t know why everyone feels the need to jump in feet first into their “New Year’s Resolutions”. Those people are only setting themselves up for failure. I guarantee they won’t even make it to the end of January before they give up on “being better” (whatever that means). I’m kind of gently sliding into the new year, testing the waters, making sure I can really keep these promises I’ve made to myself. The way I see it is if I dove right into these changes on the very first day of 2016, I would just burn out and give up within a couple weeks. And then how disappointed in myself would I be? Answer? Very.

So today I slept in (granted a little more than I wanted to but whatever). I woke up, got dressed, did my make up, and went to lunch. At lunch I skipped the beer just as I promised myself I would and had two glasses of water. I ordered a grilled salmon salad rather than my usual buffalo chicken wings. Maybe I snacked a little bit too much at home but I didn’t over do it like I usually do and most importantly I don’t regret anything I’ve eaten – like I usually do. As far as food goes, today was good.

January 1st, 2016 – Me: 1  Food Guilt: 0

I was supposed to run this morning but I didn’t wake up early enough to go. Which I’m actually okay with since my body is extremely sore from exercise this week and is screaming for a rest day. So I’ll take today off but first thing tomorrow morning I’m running a 5k through the neighborhood. Part of my training that I’ve implemented is once a week, even though it’s freezing outside, I get off the treadmill and run outside. I just feel like if I spend 4 months only running on a machine, my legs are going to crumble underneath me as soon as they hit pavement. So the plan as of this moment is to run outside once a week on Saturday mornings. When it gets warmer outside I’ll be running in the fresh air more often than just once a week.

Yesterday I made myself a short list of tasks to complete today. Regardless of it being January first, these tasks were just things that needed to get done. Well the day is almost done and gone and I haven’t done a single item on that list. And all I have to say about it is: Shrug.

That’s the approach I have to the new year. I’ll probably do a few of those tasks before bed such as folding my laundry and changing my sheets. But I’ll be honest most of that list won’t be done until tomorrow. And I’ve given myself no choice but to be okay with that. I refuse to start the year off in a big, messy ball of stress. I just want to let things happen the way they’re supposed to happen and “roll with the punches” or so to speak.

Right now I’m content, and I’d say that’s a pretty damn good way to start the New Year off.

Day 0 – Don’t look back

Dec
31

So it’s New Year’s Eve and I bet I can guess what most people are doing today. They are reflecting on how they spent the past 365 days of their life and planning on how to make the next 366 days better (yes, 2016 is a leap year). That means they are uploading 15 second photo montages to Instagram, looking through their Timehop app, and although I’m not an active user on Facebook I’m sure there’s something on there too that let’s people look back on the year they’ve had.
Well I can say with absolute certainty that I do not need to reflect on 2015. I know what happened. I know exactly what kind of year I had and let me just say that it was kind of a rough one. I’ve had worse years for sure – I was in and out of the hospital for nearly half of 2012. But that was almost 4 years ago and I’m not about to reflect on that year either.
To put it briefly, 2015 started out with a fight and ended in heartache. And in between all that I had surgery number four, my GPA dropped from a 3.5 to a 3.49 (one freaking letter grade away from making the honor roll), and I got a new tattoo. But if I’ve learned anything in the past 4 years it’s that change is a good thing. The only way it’s bad is when you fight it; but fighting something that’s inevitable is tiring and useless. So with that newfound appreciation for how life works, I’m choosing to embrace all these new changes as well as implementing some of my own.
I am a firm believer in the idea of “If you don’t like something, change it.” I mean, what good is it to sit on the couch feeling sorry for yourself about x, y, and z. Instead of complaining about how you don’t exercise as much as you’d like to, go outside and run or bike or whatever your heart desires! Instead of sitting on the couch crying about how that one person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t love you anymore – dry your tears, put some lipstick on, and go find someone who WILL love you. Even if the only person you find is yourself (and maybe your mom)… well that’s 2 people more than you thought would ever love you again (thanks mom!).
By the graces of Julius Caesar, we all get an extra day this coming year to make all of our wishes, dreams, goals, etc. come true and if all goes as planned I will be spending my extra day running.
Thus we come to what this blog is all about. Make no mistake; this blog is not a how-to blog or an advice blog or even a “I found this new recipe and it was delicious” blog. No, this is none of those things. This website you’ve stumbled across, either on purpose or on accident, is simply a documentation of how I live the next 366 days of my life. I’m not making resolutions, I’m making changes.
I don’t promise that you’ll be inspired by my journey. I don’t promise that you’ll want to keep reading about my life in 2016 after finishing this post. But I do promise that I will keep writing, posting, and documenting all of my accomplishments just in case you’re ever wondering what in the world Libby is up to these days.

Spoiler: I’m probably running.

So what are these soon-to-be accomplishments/changes of 2016? Well here they all are in no particular order:
– To have more good days than bad
– To run a half marathon (13.1 miles)
– Put myself first
– Stick to my training plan
– Drink 2000mL of water daily
– No more alcohol (well maybe a celebratory beer after graduation)
– Graduate (May 6th!)
– Pass my board exam
– Get a job as a CVT
– Run 1,000 miles total
– Read 100 books
– Move out
– And the oh so classic: Be happ(ier)

To summarize, I just want to approach 2016 with a Ferris Bueller sate of mind. As in, “if you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you might miss something.” I want to take more risks. I want to say “yes” more than “no”. I want to try new things. I want to ask forgiveness rather than permission. I know I have a good heart with good intentions and I was raised to always do the right thing.
When I was in elementary school all my teachers wrote the same thing on all my report cards: “Doesn’t reach her potential”. Well I know what my potential is, and recently I have not been reaching it. I know what I’m capable of, I know what I want in life, and I know that there’s not much I’ll let stand in my way to get it. I’ve never truly failed at anything and I don’t plan on starting now.

So here’s to the end of 2015, and not looking back.
Here’s to you and here’s to me.

Cheers.