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Do you think that your medical history, whatever it may be, has impacted your career choices or led you to your career? (could be either in a positive or negative way)
I definitely think my current career is dictated by my history. I’ve always wanted to work with the human body in some capacity. I did my yoga teacher training pre transplant and at the time taught mainly children. After the loss of my son and my transplant journey, I switched to working with somatics, trauma and grief as it relates to the body. So now I’m working in patient advocacy, helping others navigate end of life, and support others via embodiment as they navigate chronic illness, transplant, pregnancy loss and other types of stored body trauma.
it took a while for me to find my thing, and working in a field I’m so deeply affected by requires a lot of personal boundaries, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Grief work and supporting others is my jam.
I picked a career and company that I was going to work for based on the health insurance they offered. It is always a question I have during the interview process. I would even find a job with a pay cut for better insurance coverage. Over 18 years of having a transplant, insurance has always been the most important thing to me. So in a way, my health impacted my career choices.
I have always as a young person wanted to work in the medical field, I was a nurse switched due to burn out ended up in the dental field. It really helped to have a little back ground in medicine during my TP.
I have always been on to “go against the grain” per se and knew that I would walk an “alternative” path. My health played a huge role in my level of self awareness and body awareness. I became a yoga teacher at age 18. I’ve always worked with children and I’m not a nature based educator for early childhood. And through my kidney journey, I have found purpose and passion in bringing all of my wisdom to serve this community as well through patient advocacy and education through science, spirituality, and holistic practices.
I was always interested in science and disease - a strange obsession as young girl but I was fascinated by why people got sick and how they stayed healthy. My t1d diagnosis 34 years ago solidified that interest and drove me to medical school and then also pursuing a PhD. So yes - my work is driven by my disease and my passions overlap. However, sometimes it is so very hard to live through the hurdles I have overcome again and again and again, through other people and thus reliving them.
What an interesting question. The decision to have time flexibility in my career has been essential and directly influenced by kidney disease and diabetes. The heavily overworked US job culture is by-and-large to work at the expense of your personal time and health. This is unsustainable for us with chronic disease/transplant. So I was nudged into a career which allows me to primarily use my brain instead of my body and is forgiving for days/hours/minutes needed to care for my health. Receiving the selfless gift of transplant also colors my daily work in creating something deeply meaningful and helpful for others. So for me, medical history shapes the path!
Such a great question, I feel like due to my medical condition I was able to find my calling. My kidney disease gave me the opportunity to work and educate patients about this awful disease. Before I got sick I knew I always wanted to help people and help them live their best lives.