I chose the nursing profession because of a rather traumatic experience that happened in my family during my childhood. In December 1985, at just 16 years old, I was diagnosed with (Diabetes Mellitus Type 1) Juvenile Onset Diabetes. I would be one of two of my parents’ children that would be diagnosed with the same disease in a six-week period. My family was told that there was no cure, and it would be a lifelong degenerative process for my brother and me. The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, but usually, it is thought that the body’s own immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is required by the body to sustain life. Insulin cannot be taken by mouth so my younger brother and I would have to inject insulin for the rest of our lives.

Although it wasn’t a cure, I was determined that we were going to live full and healthy lives. I would also watch over my brother as much as possible as we grew up together with Type I Diabetes to make sure that we were both as healthy as we could be.

“The decision to serve those in need has been the most rewarding decision of my life.”

The nurses who taught and supported us were incredible. Little did they know that they were staring into the eyes of a future nurse. I will never forget the courage that I gained from them and my physicians to defeat the complications that can be caused by this disease. I have been a nurse for almost 31 years and have learned to give my patients and clients that same level of knowledge and encouragement during their times of illness. I have helped them become strong both emotionally and physically to minimize their worries and fears. As a member of their healthcare team, I am privileged to teach, care for, and support them. This is how I chose to pay it forward and why I am a nurse! The decision to serve those in need has been the most rewarding decision of my life.

This article is part of Addus’ celebration of Nurses Week 2022. We highlighted posts from the Registered Nurses in our company about both the rewards and challenges of being a nurse. You can learn more about nursing and nurses week by visit the American Association of Critical Care Nurses at https://www.aacn.org/ .

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