At just 12 years old, I had to understand the words “your dad has cancer”. No one wants to hear that, let alone, a 12 year old girl who’s closest friend is her dad. Having to grow up in the next year after hearing that news was definitely one of the hard parts. From the many hospital visits, I had come to the realization that there was some sort of comfort or belonging within the white walls and sterile smells. I hated the waiting rooms but loved the view I had of the nurses working while I sat and stared from the uncomfortable chairs in my dad’s hospital room. I found beauty within the passion the nurses had for caring for my dad and giving support to my family, as well. There is no other job in the world where you can see someone so willing to lay their precious life in your hands while they lay there at their most vulnerable state. There is no other job in the world where you can bond with people and show the love that you possess within your heart. There is not a single job that I would rather do.
I remember the moment that I had realized that I wanted to be a nurse. My dad had been discharged after his surgery that was meant to remove the tumor. They had opened him up and found that his stomach lining had been sprinkled with little tiny specks of cancer. There was nothing they were able to do at the time. They had no choice but to close him back up and wait for him to come off the anesthesia to break his heart with the worst news he’d hear that week, “The cancer has spread to the lining of your stomach, it is too dangerous to remove anything at this moment. We will have to start you on a more vigorous chemotherapy routine.” My dad, still a little loopy from the anesthesia was wheeled down to the car by a nurse who was interning at Mayo Clinic.
According to my dad, she was still in school and was working at Mayo Clinic and she was amazing at what she does. As she halted his wheel-chair and placed him curbside to wait for my mom to pull up the car my dad told her, “This is my daughter, Ashlee. She wants to be a nurse like you.” That was when I knew that I wanted to help people like my dad who are fighting their battle with cancer. The only difference is I want to help kids with their battle with cancer. Every kid has such a beautiful and creative mind. I hate to see that some of them are having to struggle with such immense hardships. If I could provide the same support and love to my patients that was shown towards my dad, I will have served my purpose in this world.