Quick but exciting milestone post!
1. I graduated nursing school!! Just one more exam to get me the two letters I want most, RN 🙂 No pressure. In all seriousness, I am pretty proud of myself for finishing school on time and not missing class/clinicals throughout my surgeries.
2. Adam and I went to Disneyland to celebrate! This was especially exciting because for a long time after my mastectomy, I couldn’t go into crowds and I definitely would not have been able to go on any rides. It was a really fun day!
I’m honored to have been invited to speak about my BRCA journey at the next Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) meeting in LA. I’m also studying for my NCLEX examination (the board exam to give me my nursing license). NCLEX studying has been pretty much all-consuming, so it was really nice to take a step back to prepare my ONS talk and see how far I’ve come on this journey.
My presentation is a combination of information that nurses would find helpful to know about BRCA, and also my personal story. I incorporated a lot of photos in the talk, and it was incredible to look through the recovery photos and think about how far I’ve come. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my mastectomy. I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.
Also, I’m in the process of updating the site to include more resources, so stay tuned! Now, back to NCLEX land.
I’m bummed that I have to miss this year’s FORCE Conference. I had such a great time last year and I learned a ton! I can’t go because I have to stay in LA for the NCLEX exam prep course. The NCLEX is the exam I will take to become an RN, so I definitely needed to stay in town to focus on my studies. I will definitely be keeping up with the conference – follow me on Twitter if you wanna see what’s new in the HBOC (hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) community!
I know I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to posting. Sorry! I promise I haven’t been a slacker in the rest of my life. Things have been a bit nuts with finishing out nursing school (t-minus 10 days until graduation)! I thought things would calm down as school finished, but there still have been plenty of group projects, diagnostic tests, and paperwork to prepare to graduate and take board exams.
Yesterday was my last clinical rotation, which is really hard to believe. It was my public health rotation, and I worked with an awesome organization called Nurse Family Partnership. It was really cool to do home nursing and see how nursing works within the community.
Another thing that has been keeping me busy was the Oncology Nursing Club at UCLA. I blogged about it before, but this was the club my friend from school and I started because there was no oncology interest group for students at UCLA’s nursing school. We had our final event of the year last week and it was truly inspirational. It was a panel discussion called “What is Oncology Nursing?” We had 4 oncology nurses and 2 students who did oncology preceptorships talk about their experiences. My favorite quote from the night was a nurse who said, “Oncology nursing is the intersection of science and spirituality.” Hearing about oncology nursing and stories about the patients who touched these nurses’ lives was incredible. It felt great to have such a successful event and to hear students say they had an a-ha moment about oncology from attending was awesome.
I’m part of the awesome Oncology Nursing Club at UCLA’s nursing school and was contacted about a 12-year old boy named Riley, who’s battling stage 4 clinical group 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. There’s a Facebook page called “Team Riley” where people from all over the world are posting pictures with signs of support for #TeamRiley. ONC Club took a picture for Team Riley and I hope you all do too. If you want to follow Riley’s page on facebook and/or post a picture for him, follow the “Team Riley” community page here!
The title of this post is a quote from one of my fave movies, Reality Bites. It’s also because of how naive I was thinking about how much free time I’d have this quarter. At the start, all I thought about is that I wouldn’t have class and would just be doing clinical shifts. What I didn’t take into account was that 3 clinical shifts a week is a full-time nursing schedule, plus weekly clinical meetings on campus, plus other school club duties, plus getting ready to apply for jobs, plus doing a 60 hour leadership project, plus writing my comprehensive exam … oh yeah, and recovering from surgery.
So I haven’t had nearly as much free time as I planned on, but I’m learning a lot. In 2 weeks, the quarter is over and we finally get to go on a short vacation to Colorado and take a much needed break. I cannot wait to have my only responsibility be figuring out what to eat. No alarm clocks for a bit, sounds like paradise to me.
Sorry I’ve been blogging less. I’ll definitely be able to pick it up as my schedule clears up. Much love to you all.
This week has been pretty insane. I had an ICU clinical, 2 maternity clinicals, and 2 exams. It’s been a tiring week but I love clinicals and I’m happy to be helping patients again. ICU was so different than other units I’ve been on and I’m glad I got to experience it, even just for one shift. Maternity rotations are really awesome!
Tomorrow, I’ll re-start my expansions since my tissue damage is healing well! Tissue expansions are usually pretty uncomfortable for 24-48 hours afterwards, but I am excited for it since it signifies that I am moving forward with my healing and keeping on schedule for my 12/16 exchange surgery.
Now, back to studying. But first, here is a hilarious video to get me through the final push this week. I don’t know why but I laugh so hard that I cry every time I watch this.
Today was my last mental health clinical rotation and I made it through! When I realized I would be having a clinical shift 5 days after surgery, I was pretty worried about it. But, with the help of my classmates and husband, I made it through! Adam drove me to clinicals this morning and a classmate drove me home. My classmates kept offering to help me with things today, but I actually felt pretty good during my shift. Now that I’m home, my body is exhausted so I’m going to rest – but I’m so happy to be officially done with all my schoolwork for this quarter. Now I can just focus on my upcoming mastectomy and prepare for recovery. Here’s a pic of my clinical group from today getting creative with our photography.
Nursing school is amazing because it means I get to become an RN at the end, which is my passion in life. It is also awesome because I get to learn all about health and be super informed to educate myself and my patients. It has been empowering understanding the pathophysiology behind my gene, which really is what prompted me to see a breast specialist last year.
The bad thing about being in nursing school during this process is that sometimes I get wayyyy too much information. Like during a lecture about pain management when they use a mastectomy as an example of an extremely painful surgery. But, for every scary bit of information I learn in school, I learn about 100 useful ones, which is very empowering. Even if it is a bit frightening, knowledge is power!