Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day #2 - 30 Day Writing Challenge...Life after Surviving Childhood Cancer

I was called in to work early today and decided to stay for 12 hours. I don't remember the last time I worked a 12 hour shift even though it's pretty common among nurses these days. Apparently I'm not a common nurse...but I already knew that. I think the last time I worked that long was before Bridget was born. 

Although, 12 hours did take a majority of the day, I did get a chance to think about my future plans with work and my career. I even got to process it a little in my dreams early this morning when I should've been getting up earlier and waking up my daughter for school. I'm such a bad mom when it comes to getting up early but I knew that too. I realized after waking up to my dream I really do enjoy my career as a nurse. 

I got to process my plans for the future and start actually realizing that going back to nurse practitioner school is more and more of a reality rather than a far-fetched dream that I once gave up. I've been wanting to continue with a masters degree ever since I graduated from nursing school....15 years ago. That was always my plan but life happened, marriage happened, children happened, cancer get the picture right?  I always admired pediatric oncology nurses and wondered how the hell they can do their job day after day. I only new a few before this journey and I always admired their chosen specialty.  I really admired the pediatric nurse practitioners we met among our journey as well. Adam said to me once. "That should be you".  It never even crossed my mind to work in this area. Then cancer happen to us. Obviously I can never look at it the same way and now I want to be one of those special souls that takes care of these kids on a daily basis.  

Of course the obstacles and the hurdles make the decision that much more difficult. The time (and timing although I've learned there's never a good time for any of it), the money, the ability to get a job when I'm done, time away from my's all playing a big role in this decision process. 

It brings up another huge question in my mind...the foundation we started to fight childhood cancer. I constantly have to remind myself that we are doing a good thing. I love it even more when other remind me of this. But I often question my capabilities for continuation and if there are other ways I can best benefit the childhood cancer community. After all, I'm just a passionate mom who's daughter survived childhood cancer.  
I didn't get a degree in non-profits. I didn't get a degree in marketing or business management.  And that is the basics of what it takes to run a foundation....that is, when the emotional crisis is over.  Maybe I went about it all wrong. Maybe I started the organization under the wrong assumptions. 

Let's be honest. The immediate need is gone. The crowds have dwindled and they have left the stadium. Gabriella is healed and it is perceived that the fight is over. But it's not. It's not for us and it is especially not for the 46 children who were diagnosed today with cancer. It's about them. I don't know how to get that point across anymore besides giving every single ounce of me 100 times more. And I can't do that. It's not balanced. It takes away from my life with my family. It takes away from time with my Survivor....the one life I fought so hard to keep. 

I see other families who've started foundations and the need is there. They are kicking ass in the fundraising arena. And I love seeing it. Love seeing the money go to research and to the immediate needs of families. Yes, of course I wanted to be the one who played a bigger role, but these kids are worth way more than my pride. I will take my Survivor and run. 

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