I am a board certified, licensed genetic counselor. In Illinois, to have a license, you must be nationally board certified. To maintain certification, one must demonstrate, periodically, that one's knowledge is current. One way this can be done is by obtaining continuing education units, (CEUs), which one gets by attending approved educational conferences in genetics and genetic counseling. Re-certification takes place every ten years and one must accrue 25 CEUs in the intervening ten years. I'm up in 2015. The other way to get re-certified is to take the board exam again. [I'd almost rather have cancer.] Since I promised myself that I would never take the exam again, I have diligently attended annual educational conferences to accrue, at a steady pace, the needed CEUs so that I'd have 25 by 2015. Going to these meetings is expensive...flights, hotels, conference costs, CEU fees, etc. However, going every year meant that I got to learn cool new stuff and, more importantly, I got to share a hotel room with my grad school buddy, Stef, for 4 or 5 days and spend time with dear friends and classmates, usually in a nice city. Mostly, I thought of these trips as the cost of doing business. Makes sense, right?
Well...at the end of 2012, when I was diagnosed with really bad cancer, I thought I'd never have to worry about CEUs again. I considered it a cancer "perk." I did not attend any educational conferences in 2013 and have not earned one CEU this year.
Well...now that I'm doing well on Xalkori and I've exceeded the median life-expectancy of someone with stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma, it occurred to me that I should probably start worrying about CEUs again. If I'm doing well, I'll want to be working, so...I'll still need my license. Additionally, I recently had my annual gyne exam and my oncologist ordered a mammogram. I should probably ask him about starting to measure my cholesterol level again. Eleven months ago I was certain that I was going to die of lung cancer. It was a hell-ish beginning to 2013. I don't think anyone, (my doctors, me) ever thought that I'd have to start screening for things that could kill me other than lung cancer...let alone worry about CEUs. Who'd-a-Thunk!