I was born with gastroschisis (a condition in which the baby is born with its intestines on the outside of its body) as well as cerebral palsy. Because of this, I have spent a lot of time in hospitals, as I often experience complications due to gastroschisis. One of my most memorable hospital stays was a four-month-long period in which I became emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. During this time, I had to have three major abdominal surgeries in which part of my intestines had to be removed, resulting in an ostomy bag. At this hospital, I was a victim of medical malpractice daily, as the doctors essentially treated me like a lab rat, ultimately worsening my condition, causing my body to go into septic shock 3 times. During times of severe trauma, excruciatingly painful testing, and emotional heartache, my nurses gave me comfort, offered support, and empathized with what I was going through like no one else could.
Every day when I begin to think about my medical experiences, I am so grateful for the nurses who allowed me to cry on their shoulder, help me with my school work, and ultimately talk to me about the future, giving me hope that I was even going to have one. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a nurse so that I could help others in the same way. I want to turn my past pain into something positive. Through practicing as a nurse, I will be able to empathize with my patients in a way that many other people are unable to. Ultimately, it is my dream to give back to the same community that gave me so much by becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.