09/21/2016 6:00 AM
"Receiving this scholarship will allow me to take more classes these next semesters in order to achieve my degree quicker and become the nurse I know I've always wanted to be." - Amy
If there is one thing in the world you could change, what would it be and how would you do it?
As cliche as it sounds, world peace. Many of us complain of being lonely, hungry and poor. These problems will not be solved with more people, more food or more money. These problems exist due to the lack of love for our fellow human. If we were all a little bit more selfless instead of selfish and took the extra step to help another the world would be a better place.
I hope to achieve this by helping someone or doing something small each day. Either in my career as a nurse or just buying a cup of coffee for a stranger.
Where do you see yourself 5 years after graduation?
I see myself in 5 years being a Oncology Nurse, traveling the world, making new friends and riding my horses.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
For free brunch and bottomless mimosas?
What makes you happy?
An abundance of things, but honestly it is usually the simplest of things. For example cooking, going for a ride on my horse, a fun evening or lake day with friends. Planning my next adventure abroad.
What type of cancer were you diagnosed with and when?
Summer 2014 I was diagnosed with APL Leukemia, APL is a rare subtype of AML only affecting 5% of all the leukemias.
How did the diagnosis of cancer rock your world?
Well in all the ways that cancer normally “rocks” someone's world. Feelings of shock, sadness, fear. In my case I was at work in the morning and by the afternoon I was told I had leukemia. I was admitted immediately and spent the better part of 5 weeks as an inpatient. My whole world was rocked, I wasn't even able to go home and get clean underwear! The biggest way cancer rocked my world was by the way it humbled me. Centered my world and allowed me to realize what is important. To not become victim to my fears and doubts.
Describe the process of getting back into life after treatment.
This was my greatest challenge of my cancer journey. After treatment I felt like a wrong size puzzle piece trying to fit into a life I didn’t anymore. I felt like I was a year behind everyone else. Everyone was getting married, having babies, planning trips and I had to figure out my new life after cancer and the side effects that treatment leaves behind. The catalyst that turned me around was attending Cancer Con. Cancer Con is a young adult cancer conference presented by the non-profit company Stupidcancer.org. There I was able to meet fellow survivors and walk into a room where everyone understood what I was feeling. I was able to work through my fears and have the best support I could possibly have with my new found friends. After leaving Cancer Con I was able to find my center again, enjoy things that I did before I had cancer.
How has overcoming cancer made you stronger?
Cancer has made me stronger by showing me I can overcome one of the greatest obstacles that life can throw at me. Cancer strengthened me by humbling me, making me kinder and more patient. Teaching me to forgive and love deeper. More importantly teaching me that anything is possible when the odds are against you.
Many people aren’t familiar with the financial, physical, and emotional toll when treatment is over. Describe your process of recovery after treatment spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
Honestly taking it day by day, reminding myself that this is only temporary and the money will come and go. The physical effects of cancer and treatment maybe life long but they challenge me to push through them and make myself better for them. On a spiritual note cancer has enlighten me to love myself first then others. To allow myself forgiveness and to use this as a lesson to better myself. As for the ongoing financial burden of cancer; I just take it day by day. Become a expert at payment plans and navigating through the hospital billing process. Most of all I am humbled by friends and organizations such as My Hometown Heroes who donate and support cancer survivors such as myself to ease this burden.
What does it mean to have a support community during cancer treatment?
Community support during any struggle is welcoming and necessary. You, your friends and family cannot carry the burden of cancer by yourselves. Allow your community to help, love, pray, raise any type of support you need at the moment. Without community support from such organizations as; My Hometown Heros, stupid cancer.org, Sierra Eye Associates and Reno Rodeo Association I know from my experience I would be left isolated, penniless and wondering how to pay for groceries let alone chemo. Community support allowed me to not worry about the psychosocial effects, health insurance and financial stresses of cancer and allow me to focus on just fighting this disease and beating it!!
What does it mean to receive scholarship money to help you achieve your academic goals?
Being a nurse is one of my biggest and oldest of goals. Even before being diagnosed with leukemia I was currently enrolled in classes to work towards my goal. Life and lack of money got in the way, then cancer happened. My dream has never been more alive. Each day I was hospitalized it became more and more relevant to me that I needed to be a nurse. Receiving the MHH scholarship will allow me to be that much closer to my dream, ease the burden of trying to juggle the cost of school and medical expenses. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to take more classes these next semesters in order to achieve my degree quicker and become the nurse I know I've always wanted to be.
How has the MHH scholarship helped you?
Receiving the MHH scholarship will allow me to be that much closer to my dream, ease the burden of trying to juggle the cost of school and medical expenses. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to take more classes these next semesters in order to achieve my degree quicker and become the nurse I know I've always wanted to be.
Top 3 things you are grateful for since remission.
The things I am most grateful since achieving remission is one: To cook my own food, especially eggs. I never want to eat hospital eggs again if I can help it!
Two to be outside and smell fresh cut grass and feel the sun on my skin. When being told you're in remission the sun is brighter, food tastes better, life seems a little bit sweeter and I intend to enjoy every minute of it! But what I am most grateful for is for all my friends, family, nurses and doctors that rallied to my side. Those people who did and continue to support me in life. That is what I am most grateful for.
Advice for other young adult cancer survivors.
Take one day at a time, Find a little bit of joy in each day. Be angry less, forgive and love more. Live life to the fullest!
Top 3 life goals (places you’d like to visit, things you want to do, etc.)
My top 3 life goals that I will achieve are to become a oncology nurse, travel and love and be loved in return. I hope to travel to several countries such as; Peru, Croatia, Prague, Scotland and Ireland. One can only hope in life to find someone who truly loves them unconditionally and give that in return. I hope someday to find my partner in crime so to speak.
Biggest take-away(s) from your cancer experience
Cancer has showed me how much the human body and mind can endure. Since cancer I truly believe that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and work hard. Cancer has taught me so many hard lessons, teaching me to be humble, kind and passionate about life. Don't be afraid to go after what you want and know you deserve it. You do not need to live in doubt, fear or self loathing anymore; thanks to cancer ironically! Cancer has taught me to slow my world down just a bit to enjoy it and the wonderful people in it. Stress less, work a little bit harder at everything I do and to “get busy living” by enjoying life!
Words to live by.
My courage is stronger than my fear; Die living!
More info on Amy's Hero Powers here.
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