Suggestions on how to stay strong?

I am currently in my third year of college for a BFA acting program, that if I leave the only way I could come back is if I started all 4 years over again. The reason for this is because all BFA acting programs across the united states choose the class they want as an ensemble through acting the 4 years, so if I leave I can’t go back, and all my acting credits are practically useless to another degree. I have an appointment this Friday with Dr. Hepworth, but I am in excruciating pain, fatigued, and have horrible brain fog. It’s so hard to stay in the program but throughout the 3 years somehow I have managed it. But this year my pain and brainfog have accelerated greatly and I’m questioning if my agony is worth the degree.

I’m sorry you’re in a time of symptoms flare, hyperichard! So frustrating when that happens. Try to figure out if certain head positions make your symptoms worse then avoid those if possible. That could help settle at least some of your symptoms. Continue w/ icing your neck on your bad days or try heat if ice doesn’t help. I’ll pray for you & hope for a better week this week. :hugs:

The BFA acting program sounds intense & rigorous. I don’t understand that level of inflexibility for students who might have some sort of hardship requiring a break during the four years. How many days can you take off from your program for illness or surgery & not get dropped? Surely you have a bit of wiggle room in that program since almost no one has perfect health for 4 years running. Is there any vacation time figured in for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Spring breaks? If so, you can plan surgery at one of those times & minimize your time off school.


My symptoms have only gotten worse for the past 4 years, I don’t really have good or bad days its more or less the same 24/7 pain and other symptoms. The program cant allow for a break because you have to take the classes with the people in your year. So if I took a semester off I would not be able to catch up as I needed to take those classes with the students that already passed. We do however have summers off and all the other typical breaks that colleges have. My problem is I continue to get worse each month and I have just been trying to ignore it, but that’s extremely difficult in a very physical and mentally taxing major. Im really banking on getting the surgery this December, but I am nervous about the recovery process and if it will even do anything for me.

So sorry that your symptoms are getting so much worse, it’s really hard when you have a demanding schedule, & sounds like you’ve done really well to keep up so far!
You’re younger than some of us oldies, so hopefully would recover quicker maybe, that’s in your favour. If you could get surgery organised in the December break that would hopefully give you a few weeks to recover, but I’m sure from what other members who’ve seen Dr Hepworth have said is that he is really busy, so that might not be possible…He is very thorough & does get extra testing done if vascular ES is suspected too. So maybe the spring break might be a more realistic target, although I’m sure that you don’t want to hear that- if other members who’ve seen Dr Hepworth & know his schedule better could chip in, that would be helpful?
As for recovery, speaking can sometimes be painful after surgery, so that might be an issue for you- is it painful now? Anything too strenuous won’t be easy for a few weeks after surgery either, but hopefully surgery should help with brain fog really quickly so you should find the mental work much easier.

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I hope that getting the surgery in December will work with your current school program. I understand the limitations you are under. IE: take classes with students that had already passed those classes. Worst case scenario, could you pick it back up 1 year later with another class?
How much time do you have off in December? I would agree with Jules…a few weeks off after surgery for recovery especially with such a demanding program. There has been some who have gone back to work 1 week later but those were desk jobs.
Ideally waiting till summer would be ideal so you dont have to stress about recovery however when you can hardly function, that doesn’t serve you either. I would plan for worst case scenario. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Can you go into advisor at school and/or admissions to discuss further what the impact a medical leave might have on your program? Maybe there is something that can be done to help you? Just a thought. Hope that helps.