“What an amazing gift to receive…life. Better yet, what an incredible gift to give.”
Lying motionless in my hospital bed, the only thing that could move, my eyes, panned over to the bag of chemo steadily seeping into me. Wow. My tired mind struggled to envision the amazing battle taking place within me. Utter fascination partially defeated the physical torment of the toxic chemo. My curiosity heightened… to think that each and every molecule of it was brutally attacking each microscopic cancer cell blew my mind away. I wanted to know exactly how it worked and why and how it does what it does. Gratitude infused into my interest as I thought of those who had labored intensively to develop such a drug. There I lay, my life indebted to them. What an amazing gift to receive… life. Better yet, what an incredible gift to give. My doctor entered my room swiftly. It was as if he wore his knowledge on one sleeve and his heart on the other, I wanted to access his great mind and flip through the millions of pages of knowledge stored away. This precious information had the potential to save hundreds of lives. Not only was my doctor filled with great intelligence, but his expression and manner exuded tremendous compassion. I wanted to do that… I wanted to treat a person physically and spiritually. I then knew, for certain, that I wanted to enter the medical field.
My career goals have been shaped by my unusual life path. I consider myself very lucky while many people my age are trying to determine their career interests, I literally had mine placed before me. Diagnosed with cancer at age 13, I was instantly thrown into the medical world and exposed to a deluge of new information and terminologies every day. It was not until I was done with the necessary six months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments that I recognized and acknowledged my newly acquired medical education. While some cancer survivors may shy away from all things medical, I have found that my cancer experience has stimulated my passion for a future in the field of medicine.
Intrigued by science at a young age, it then connected with my heart’s urge to help others. The sciences have always fascinated me in a way beyond what all other subjects can. Therefore, it was only natural for me to lie imagining the microscopic battle between cell and toxic molecule as chemotherapy steadily dripped into me. I discovered the complexity, intricacy, and fragility of the body, yet also its incredible resilience. Further, I learned of the delicate relationship between body and soul. Before, a mere fascination with everything biological and chemical dominated my conscience, but now I have seen the miracles that can take place when great knowledge of it is implemented on people. Science leaves me intellectually stimulated because of its close application to the world. It is present at every moment and explains how and why life behaves as it does. My passion for the sciences has morphed my vision of existence into one of constant curiosity and captivation. I look at an apple and see thousands of parenchyma cells; I look at water evaporating off of a hot sidewalk and see an endothermic reaction and an increase in enthalpy; I move my finger and see the chain of events involved in a muscle contraction. However, my current knowledge combined with my curiosity leaves me hungry to know what I do not know. It was lying in that hospital bed that I began to realize how incredible the body is to keep functioning day after day. Feeling the effects of the chemo, I wondered how we as humans can face so much physically and still come out unscathed. I want to understand how every single cell can withstand the test of life and apply this knowledge to saving lives.
Thinking toward my future fills me with an amazing amount of excitement. I desire so greatly to do for others what my doctors did for me. The revelation that a doctor encompasses both my love of science and helping others has left me focused solely on that path. During my cancer journey, I saw which medical professionals nurtured this compassionate relationship, and which based their practice solely upon scientific knowledge. Through my experiences with various doctors I have seen which characteristics are fulfilling to the patient, both physically and emotionally. In my continued education to become a physician, I hope to encompass all of those traits to be able to treat my patients to the best of my ability. To be a compassionate doctor is to risk an emotionally vulnerable state in order to treat the patient as not only a body, but a spirit as well. Although it is much harder to be an empathetic physician than one seemingly devoid of emotion, I desire to put myself forth as one who does care.
While oncology, and more specifically pediatric oncology, is near to my heart, I plan to keep every door of opportunity open during the years of my college education. The concentrated field that best complements my abilities and interests will be the one that I pursue. I am prepared to work extremely hard to accomplish my goals. Through my cancer experience, I have been shown that good things are worth working for, and that diligence produces both personal rewards and rewards for others. Incorporating my academic and personal passions, I am certain that my career as a doctor will be extremely fulfilling to me, and I hope it will be to others too.
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