Surviving the Chaos of October

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Fall in the college counseling profession is like running the proverbial rat race. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for the amount of work that needs to be done.

Students procrastinate and need help at the last minute. Students who don’t procrastinate need help reviewing their applications. Parents are anxious. Teachers are stressed out. Oh, and I also teach a class for the international students who join our high school each year.

Welcome to October!

As someone who deals with chronic fatigue from my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), fall tends to be challenging. Life on the farm doesn’t slow down, so I still have horses and other animals to care for on top of my professional workload. (I’m trying to continue with Spotty’s rehab and also keep Cherry in competition shape, which means I have two horses to work each day.) It’s normal for me to get home at about 8:30 p.m., and still have to eat dinner and get ready for the next day. I’m lucky to get in bed by 11 p.m.

This week is extra crazy. Oct. 15 is a big deadline for college applications, and I’m preparing for my first show of the fall with Cherry. We’ve only shown together once, and that was in June. We’ve been working hard and I’m excited to see our progress.

We’ll be competing in the Beginner Novice division, which is the level I competed with Spotty before he retired. Cherry and I are developing a great partnership and I’m enjoying getting to know her. There’s a saying in the equestrian world that it takes a full year to get to know a new horse. Cherry and I have been together since April, so we still have more to learn.

With Spotty in rehab for his ligament issues, I have to be careful to keep his work consistent. It’s tough when I’m having a pain flare like my current one. He can tell when I’m not at my best. It makes it harder for both of us.

Spotty is tired of rehab and has been on limited turnout for more than 10 months. He’s over it. He wants to go out in a field and do as he pleases, and I understand. We’re in the middle of a significant drought, and the ground is as hard as concrete. It’s limiting the amount of work he can do, which is preventing me from being able to turn him back out. As someone who manages chronic physical issues, I empathize with him.

October is a month of chaos, but it’s also fun. I spend a lot of time helping students apply to amazing colleges and work toward their next step in life. It is gratifying. I’m working toward personal goals with Spotty and Cherry, and I love learning and improving. Focusing on what’s in front of me helps me pay less attention to the physical issues I manage daily.


Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


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