Nursing as a career choice for childhood cancer survivor...

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    I have been thinking long and hard about my decision and passion to become a nurse. I struggle with the decision because I do have some physical limitations due to the radiation I received, the young age I received it at, the congestive heart failure which developed as a result of the chemotherapy and radiation to my chest, all of the reconstructive surgeries I have required, and chronic pain in my chest and back. I am a 33 year old female who is ready for the challenge of nursing school but it is a challenge for me to lift a lot of weight and my endurance is hindered. I am also very petite, 5'1", 90 lbs. What I lack in physical ability, I make up for in compassion, determination and effort. I am just wondering if this is something a person with these circumstances could handle? You hear women ask all the time about the challenge of nursing school while being a single mom, or working two jobs, etc...but mine is a health issue on top of working a full-time job. Some of the LVN's at the hospital my mom was in before she passed in March informed me that it would be too difficult for me and I should find another career. I became very discouraged and angry that my circumstances have affected every area of my life, including my future career. You see, I want to become a pediatric oncology nurse and help children going through what I went through at the age of 3. Please, any advice positive or negative would be appreciated. Just don't be too harsh please!
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    Nursing is very hard on the body. You need the stamina to stand for long periods of time, walk for miles each shift and be able to roll and lift patients.The most common injury is to the back. You may want to consult with a doctor that has knowledge of your physical health for advice.All you can do is try. If you don't you will always wonder.
    Last edit by loriangel14 on Sep 25, '12
    sapphire18 likes this.
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    My cardiologist seems to think I can handle it. I just wanted some advice from nursing students in school and practicing nurses in the field. Thanks for your reply!
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    I became a nurse due to my little brother being diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. Like you, he is a survivor and turned 43 years old two days ago. I am still in awe that he is here.

    I'm going to take a different approach and say, yes go for it. It's obvious this is something you lived and breathed, is not a whim, but a conviction within you.

    You are relatively young. That's good. It sounds like your cardiologist has signed off on it. Lots of people are petite, have chronic pain issues and have had surgeries in their past lives.

    The only way to know for sure is to try, and face each obstacle as it presents itself. If you don't try, it will probably nag at you for the rest of your life.

    Back when I started, my brother was still being seen in clinic, so I got to know the doctors and nurses pretty well and they encouraged me to go into nursing. If there is any way you can establish a relationship with an understanding oncology nurse as a mentor and resource person, that would be great. I know the adult survivors treated through my brother's hospital still have get-togethers and charity events. I'm always bugging him to participate, but so far it's been a no-go.

    I guess that in your case I feel the desire to do this was put there for a reason. If nursing doesn't work out perhaps some other avenue of service that isn't as physically taxing will open a new path for you. I wish you the very best.
    tewdles likes this.
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    If your health care team feels that you are capable then you should go for it.
    Your personal experiences will enrich and inform your nursing career.

    Congratulations on beating the disease and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
    sapphire18 likes this.


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