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Health Issues Stopped Me From Becoming PA - What's Next For Me?

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I am 24 and was just diagnosed with Type I Chiari Malformation. As I aged, I noticed my fine motor skills began deteriorating (the only symptom I experienced). I managed to completely fail a pegboard test by scoring in the first percentile with both my dominant and non-dominant hand. 

I have dreamed of working in healthcare for as long as I can remember and thought by becoming a Physician Assistant I would reach my fulfillment. I now know this will never happen as my condition will prevent me. 

I need help. I am so depressed. I spent so much time excelling in school that I didn't know everything I worked hard for (3.91 college GPA, never went out, etc) went to waste...I think about the money I spent getting my degree and how worthless it actually all went. I cry seeing others being able to learn everything I want to learn and I can't do it because I lack manual dexterity. I don't know what else to do. I thought about working in the lab but I can't do that, that requires using my hands. I am so completely distraught. 

I just turned 24 and know by age 26 I need to have something lined up so I don't get kicked off health insurance....Please if anyone has any ideas for me let me know. I can get brain surgery but there is a risk of it not being effective and the condition returning in the future. I'm just upset and I truly cannot imagine myself being in another field, that of which is healthcare and medical science. I want to learn all about pathology, but how can I do that when I can't use my hands? Who would want hire me? I think about going into other careers but they all bore me. I never thought about another career because it wasn't an option in my eyes. I always read medical textbooks it was not no hobby it was my passion...Something I won't be able to pursue. Sorry if this thread is depressing, but this is my life at the moment and I'm reaching out to those who found themselves in similar predicaments and ask in desperation: what did you do? Thank you once again. 



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I am sorry about your disappointing news. I do find myself wondering if it really needs to keep you from working in healthcare. True: you might have a tough time being a surgeon, but perhaps there are healthcare jobs that you can do that are more mental.

Other than typing and wielding a stethoscope, many PA jobs in internal medicine are not particularly physically taxing. PA schools make accommodation for a great many disabilities: perhaps one might for yours. Your mind works, your grades are excellent, and your motivation is there. You never know.

As far as non-PA jobs, perhaps you could become a teacher. I work with an outstanding professor who retired very young from being a surgeon because of a neuromuscular disorder. He uses a scooter to get around but his mind is phenomenal. He is an incredible asset to our students and to the rest of the faculty as well.

I wish you the best on your journey. Maybe there are other readers out there who have had to overcome similar obstacles and who can give you some first person advice.

Whatever happens, you are young, capable, and motivated. I'll bet you will do great things before it's all over.

Best wishes!

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Your story would likely even increase your chances of admission to a program. Go for it. I’m a GI PA, which is basically internal medicine. If you can use a stethoscope and stick your finger through a toilet paper role you’d have all the dexterity you’d need. Mind is matter in a lot of these positions.  

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