OCD in a 3 year old
One Day, Two Diagnoses, and 20 Years of Life Lessons
My Coping Strategy? Organize
In a recent blog post about my breast cancer diagnosis I spoke about that time and how my coping strategy was to empower myself with as much knowledge as I could so as to take back some control over the situation. Using organizing skills to manage two very serious diagnoses was the best way I could steer my family through the myriad of medical mazes and get us out onto the other side. And we have made it. Twenty years later we have lived to tell the tale.
I was already a health professional when I was diagnosed with cancer but that day definitely drove my career down the path that it has taken. I have shared what I learned from that experience because I truly believe there is no one more empathetic than someone who has been there, done that. Helping newly diagnosed patients navigate the often deep and treacherous waters of the health care system has convinced me there was a reason for my diagnosis – and my daughter's.
Illness as Inspiration for Healthcare Careers
The moment the “crazy scary blood lady” tried to draw blood for some labs from poor Leslie, she made the career decision to enter the health field. At the ripe young age of 6 she knew she wanted to be someone kids could trust and who was smart enough to listen and respect her patients, even if they were young. She is now a pediatric oncology nurse who is beloved by both her patients and their parents, and a clinical instructor who is imparting her knowledge to new nurses.
Let’s not forget the rest of the family. They had to deal with the drama by watching us go through our treatment and providing help, love and support along the way. My daughter Samantha (who we always joked would be spending the most hours “on the couch” after having to live with a bald mom and a perpetually sick sister) is pursuing the field of public health and has spent her formative years caring in many capacities for kids with special needs. My husband, Steven, volunteered for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for years leading up to his presidency of the board.
When All You Can Do Is Keep Going
Twenty years out from the day all hell broke loose we are all strengthened by our ability to not sweat the small stuff. We have made more lemonade out of lemons than a lot of people, but there are so many more that have been through worse.
Perseverance, patience, and a positive attitude are invaluable.
As Winston Churchill said, "If you are going through hell, keep going."
Here's to the next 20 years!
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