What Motivated Me To Choose My Life Path; Medical Research

When I was a young girl, I was also lucky enough to have a personal experience that inspired my desired life path. I didn’t think is was a positive experience until later; years later actually, but it was so important that I experienced it. I had many minor genetic deformities (dysplasia, growths on my femoral heads causing impingement, shortened tendons, torn labrum, etc..) that had laid dormant in my body until I reached the age of 12. When my body really started to grow and develop, all these issues combined brought me great pain and soon crippled me. I was in too much pain to even move my legs on my own, and became wheelchair bound. Suddenly, my life was totally different; I went from the happy, sport-loving, active girl, to having to take school classes by Skype in my bed. After being referred to many different doctors (some helpful, some not) we met a couple incredible doctors in Boston who were willing to preform a set of surgeries on me, but could not guarantee me any sort of positive outcome. Dr. Millis genuinely thought they could help me, but I was 13 years old (with the normal cut off age for the surgeries being 16) and they hadn’t combined a PAO (Periacetabular Osteotomy) and an Arthroscopic surgery in these circumstances before. The doctors planned to open up my hip joints, saw the joint into a couple pieces, and then screw the pieces into the correct position to better cover my femoral head, glue my labrum, shave off the femoral growths, and stretch my tendons. It sounded extensive but Dr. Millis thought it was the best course of action. I believed them; I knew in my heart I needed it and I feared no part of the serious set of operations. The date of the first set of surgeries had finally came and I remembered how slowly the seconds seemed to tick by while I was waiting in my wheelchair in the brightly colored Children’s Hospital Boston Pre-Op office. A nurse stepped out behind the desk and called out my name and a few others and asked us to come with her to a set of elevators to the actual pre-op center. My mother and father quietly wheeled me into the large elevator that was able to fit the few patients and their family members. I heard a girl crying; I looked up to see a woman (though she had the voice of a young girl like me) in her mid-30s clutching the arm of an older-looking woman who I assumed was her mother. The mother looked so emotionally tired that I could only describe her as hollow. The patient’s eyes were darting around the elevator, clearly scared of yet another operation that she was going to go through. “Everything’s going to be okay, right Moma?”, I remember her repeating over and over. The other patient and their family stayed quiet and avoided looking at the woman. She then, out of desperation, reached out and grabbed my arm that was closest to her and asked, “It’s going to be okay, right?”. I looked down at the hands that were loosely clutching my arm. I felt shocked as I realized most of her fingers were deformed and some of her fingers were missing. Her arms were slightly misshapen and she was much smaller than most women her age. Breathlessly, I replied, “Everything is going to be fine.” She searched my eyes for reassurance before letting go and latching back onto her mother. Although we were in the elevator for only 20 or so seconds, the moment seemed to last for minutes. I remember going into my surgeries thinking that my surgeries could potentially heal me 100%. No matter what surgery that woman’s doctor was about to preform, she would never be able to fully reverse the health issues causing her pain. She made me so grateful for everything I have. I wanted to help her more than anything, and I still do to this day. Even if the research I go into isn’t capable of healing health defects that she had, helping anyone suffering would make the work I do worth it.

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