This feels like full circle.
The first time I thought I wanted to be a nurse, it was my first day of classes in college. I came into Boston College as a biology, pre-med major. Like every other asian family, my parents wanted me to be a doctor. I ran with it because I knew I wanted to do something medical. To be truthful, I never thought I was smart enough to do the doctor route. Even more than that, I didn't want to put myself through college knowing that I wouldn't come out of it directly with a career. I wanted to get a move on. While these intentions probably weren't the best for entering nursing, thank God they were there to point me in the right direction. My first real nursing class, Introduction to Professional nursing, corrected and confirmed all my once-hesitancies to enter into the field. It just felt right. Between the mix of science and human, this was the realm for me.
Then my grandpa passed away from colon cancer. I remember the night he died so vividly in my mind, like if I opened up a photo of it in photoshop, I could adjust the lighting, hues, saturation, and balances out to precisely how the lighting was that night. All the people there. How my family collapsed like the buildings hit by planes, and continued to fall like bundles of snow rolling down a mountain slope in an avalanche. The initial realization of his apnea was devastating. To not see his chest rise and fall, to see how emaciated and malnourished he was from the disease that had taken him, the way his cheeks had sucked into his bone when they were once so supple, broke our hearts. But once the realization slowly creeped in, and the calm after the storm swept through, and the sense of relief slowly but surely found its way into our hearts, the visiting nurse came in. And she took it home. I once went on a service trip to Vietnam with a professor who didn't know Vietnamese, but somehow was still able to communicate empathy, love, genuineness to the people around her. They had no idea what she was saying, and she knew they had no idea of the content. But what they knew for sure, in all absoluteness, was that she was a real person with real intentions to understand a part of their life and help them in the only way she knew how. And I will always remember that vision in my mind as pure magic - the ability to convey and share a message so clearly without even having to know the right language to do so.
This visiting nurse did just that. I remember her taking my grandma's hand and saying "I am so sorry for your loss," and kissing her hand ever so gently. My grandma was crying, but in that moment, I was so thankful and yet so jealous - thankful that she was able to make my grandma feel better, but jealous because I wished that were me, and I knew how to do that, too. One day, I wanted to do that, too.
Then I learned my mom had breast cancer about a year later. The worst part about all this was having to be the one to tell her. Her doctors found out from a biopsy and called my aunt to tell her first because my mom doesn't understand much English. And my aunt didn't have the heart to tell her. So of course, she called me. To this day, I truly believe being in nursing school made all the difference in being able to tell her. I called her and told her regrettingly that she had cancer. She was so devastated she didn't reply and hung up. I felt broken for her, but knew that my pain wouldn't help her get any better. And being a nursing student, I knew the next steps in her care plan because I had learned about it in class. Of course, it was a hard phase in my life, but being able to focus on the medical side of her disease and separating myself between her own little nurse-assistant and daughter was so key and instrumental in helping me cope through her disease. She had the routine chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and drug therapy. And today she's cancer free.
So to be able to say that come January I'll be a hem/onc nurse is something real special. It didn't occur to me until I was counting my blessings one day in bed, unable to fall asleep (instead of counting sheep, I count my blessings and try to pray even though I'm not religious). Sometimes I feel like I'm sending messages to my grandpa in heaven and giving him updates on how we're doing. It wasn't until my wishes went from "please help me find a new job" to "thank you for giving me a new job" that it hit me. I'll finally be an oncology nurse in this next coming year.
And this really feels like the right thing to do.