Navy update

A lot of people have been asking me how my recent diagnosis will affect my military service. I’ve been really nervous about it too, to be honest.

Since I joined the military in 2010, I’ve had my heart set on being an officer. I finally earned my bachelor’s degree in meteorology last year and have been talking to recruiters about applying for Officer Candidate School since. The board was set to meet this month to determine which applicants would be selected to commission. I had everything ready to go including letters of recommendation from previous employers, commanders, and supervisors. My recruiter warned me that it was going to be very competitive to get a reserve officer slot without a master’s degree, but I was hopeful and excited for the chance.

After I received my cancer diagnosis, I knew I had to update my recruiter. He told me I’m no longer qualified to submit a package because there’s no way I’d pass the medical and physical requirements. I was crushed. He remained optimistic on the phone and cheerfully said, ‘there’s always next year!” Next year?! I have to wait another whole year to try again? He also told me he’s never even seen anyone come back into the military after getting medically disqualified to serve so the chance of me not only getting back in, but to also try to commission was was slim. He said it’s not impossible, but he urged me to do everything I could to stay in.  

So now, not only was the possibility of my commissioning gone, but I realized I may not even be able to stay in the Navy at all!

At this point, the bad news just kept piling up and it was starting to weigh me down. All of these goals that I’ve had for myself were starting to seem out of reach.

I got in contact with my unit and the Navy medical staff who helped me put together all of my medical records for my commander. I scheduled an interview with my CO and was really nervous about it. During the interview, he went over three different outcomes for my situation and explained that after he heard all of the details of my diagnosis, he would send a recommendation to the medical board who would then make the final decision. I was relieved when he decided he wanted me to stay in the Navy with a waiver to excuse me from duty while I’m going through treatments. Still, he doesn’t have the final say, but he was optimistic that the medical review board would agree with him.

Basically that means I’ll most likely get to continue in the reserves and eventually everything will resume back to normal. Great news!!

If all goes as planned, this will just be a small bump in the road for me and I’ll be sending in my application to become an officer by this time next year! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

28 thoughts on “Navy update

  1. Oh dearest Crystal… how devastating that must have been, and still pretty frightening to think on. I praise the Lord for your encouraging CO, and for your persistent and determined faith. I am absolutely praying right along with you. May you always feel His presence, His embrace, and His love. He loves you!


  2. Hi Crystal… So sorry to hear of your plans being changed. I had obtained a job with a major railroad before being diagnosed with breast cancer. I resigned from the position until I could complete treatment. Fast forward a year later after treatment was complete and the same job was up on the website (that I had been hired for the year before). I applied and made it to the end of the interview which involved several tests etc. and was told at that time that I was not qualified for the job. This was the same job i had been hired for the year prior before they knew of the cancer diagnosis. Long story short, you will need to keep your diagnosis quiet once you finish treatment. Unfortunately, with a cancer diagnosis, people are afraid of the risks. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Once you finish treatment you will find another goal that you will reach. Keep your chin up and concentate on getting through treatment now. Another door will open for you going forward. You are always in my thoughts.


  3. I know this must have been devastating news for you Crystal. keep the faith and know we are all praying for your recovery. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS.


  4. It will be the Navy’s loss if they don’t let you stay. It’s people just like you, who never give up and overcome obstacles,, that make the best officers. Keep fighting for your dreams.We are behind you all the way


  5. Dear Crystal, As I’m reading your latest blog I’m thinking a combo of gaillovesgod and Donna. I know you’ve had your heart set on being an active duty Navy officer. But is that what God wants for you? I’m sure you’ve prayed about this. If God wants this for you, He will show you the way and lead you to it. Perhaps He has something else in mind for you. Maybe Navy reserves and a civilian career. For now, getting through treatment is your goal, as says Donna. Love & prayers continue


  6. Sorry to hear of your of your roller coaster ride with the Navy. Reserves are just as honorable and it can be another way to work, serve and get your masters


  7. Our country needs your service and dedication, the board will see that. Stay positive as you are strong. It won’t be long.


  8. I wish that now I had written that book 10 years ago. So many parallels, and very important lessons that were learned.


  9. Good news that you have been able to stay in the Navy reserves with the waiver, Crystal! Fingers crossed that you will reach your goal in due time. If anyone is officer material, you certainly are! Meanwhile, concentrate on beating cancer, fitting in exercise when you are able (walk, don’t run). Curious, where dId
    Chloe go when you were on training exercises? Glad you posted this update. It was a question I had on
    my mind.


  10. Dear Crystal, Your story is indeed special, and very uplifting. I am sorry your first conversations about becoming an officer didn’t sound positive at all, but that is to be expected, especially when you are talking about an organization as big as the US Military…if the standard answer was yes, just imagine how many others would apply. However, like you said, there is always a chance, and as long as you are persistent, and make contact with the correct people, your chances of a career as an Officer are better than you would think. I have seen just about every impossibility in the military, become possible, when the right people get involved. With your story being on display for so many to see, I suspect that someone, with the ability to make your dream a reality, has already seen your encouraging battle, or will very soon, and take up arms to assist you in this endeavor. Stay strong and motivated !! And if you ever need any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to ask.


  11. I’m sorry to hear that cancer is tossing all curveballs your way. I won’t sugarcoat this. It isn’t just the treatment that can be brutal. Staying positive is the way to go, but you still have to get angry when you’re fighting. It isn’t pretty, but some days, it’s all we have. It sounds like your Command is behind you and supporting your career. That’s a huge positive. So while you’re smiling between tears, remember, there are so many prayers, so much positive energy and thoughts lifting you up. When you need to reach out, you have a lot of people who will listen. Love and Light, Crystal.


  12. Crystal, while you will no doubt experience bumps while going through the mosaic of this present journey you will be left with something even more profound. It will be a reminder that in the end you will be stronger and you will have won in so many ways no matter where life leads you.


  13. Crystal, from an old Navy Master Chief the Navy needs you and your desire to succeed. Even when get bad new keep going. Look forward to seeing you as an Officer in uniform. By the way, I was an ET and worked on equipment at Fleet Weather in Norfolk back in 77′


  14. If the Navy won’t take you, no worries. You are young & have so many possibilities. Your good health is #1.


  15. Crystal, as a Navy vet of many years, I can tell you that your perseverance will get you through. Where many others would just throw in the towel, show them that you’re not a quitter – not at beating cancer and not at becoming an officer. And worst case, don’t give up your status as a Naval Reservist. That retired paycheck will come in handy once you start receiving it!


  16. Crystal I can’t imagine how you feel but if that is the path that God wants for you it will work out. Sometimes the path we want is not necessarily the path God has chosen for us. My prayers continue for you and your family. Stay strong I know you are going to beat this by the grace of our Heavenly Father who loves you


  17. Crystal, I KNOW you will be a healthy, perfect Officer in our United States Navy. We will be so very lucky to have you guarding us. Anchors Aweigh!!


  18. Good evening how are you cheer up better first thank you and your mom for your thoughts went to first of four doctors visit before my surgery im havin it done at Norfolk general by Da Vinci robot how cool get better miss you hugs and kisses and prayers love you hows chloe tell mom hi from chris schuck


  19. Chrystal,

    I am a local, Franklin, VA that originated in NYC long ago. I lived in Ulster Park while working at IBM Kingston and Poughkeepsie. We, wife and I, looked forward to your weekend shows here in VA. I’m that guy that sent you that list of silly jokes a while back.

    My cousin, now 85, lives in Lavallette NJ and has taken up your cause. He wants to add your name to a prayer list at his local Catholic church. I enclose the dialogue between him and I about doing that.

    We wish you the best of luck and continue to ask you “Hang Tuff” You will make it.

    Love from the Murphy’s in the peanut patch, Franklin, VA


    Here is the exchange between Jerry and me. You can e-mail him direct if you care to respond.

    John M

    Thanks Jerry for thinking of Chrystal.

    Prayer lists work for any and all. Putting her on the list is a good idea in my opinion. You can post a note to her directly and she may respond directly to you. I have used messaging on Facebook and she responded to me.

    I do prefer e-mail over the other.



  20. I’m so wowed by your pick yourself up and dust off the dismay attitude. I don’t have the slightest doubt that you will get the office appointment down the road. You would never settle for anything else. You are a rockstar girl!


  21. Hello Crystal… 🙂 Checking to see how you are feeling. You are in my thoughts and prayers Sweetie!


  22. HL is considered by the military as a disease caused by military duty. You should be able to get a military disability, even as a reservist. Free VA for life and a monthly check. Look into it.


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