As a recent college graduate from Atlanta, I had no idea what to expect from this experience working for Comprehensive Breast Care Surgeons and Holy Redeemer Hospital. Frankly, if you had told me I would be living and working in Philadelphia with two people I have never met, in a home sponsored by an order of sisters, I would have politely corrected you, explaining my plan to attend medical school somewhere below the Mason-Dixon Line. I was recently told that the joke God finds the funniest is when you tell him your plan for your life, and that is certainly the truth. My fellow RMC’s and I have officially lived and worked here for over a month and I am more than confident that we have all experienced something we would have never predicted from our ministries. In my past month of work, I have realized that my actual mission for this year is to trust the process, letting go of my expectations of my life and opening myself up to learn from my many new teachers I have met and will continue to meet this year in Philadelphia about acting as a healing, peaceful presence to others.
Through my position with Dr. Beth B. DuPree and the Healing Consciousness Foundation, I have met many people who have been affected in various degrees by breast cancer in the past month. I have met new patients in the office, coming in for the first time, as well as follow-up patients who have been one or two years since their initial diagnosis. I have been able to sit in on a consult for a person who is learning about the next steps of their treatment; however, to me, the most meaningful visits have been biopsy days, when I have the opportunity to hold the person’s hand and talk with them as the doctor biopsies the possibly diseased area. At that moment, holding their hand, I am able to witness their trust in the process. Many people ask me questions during that time or apologize for squeezing my hand. I am often in awe of their faith at that moment, in the doctor, the technician, the diagnostic process, and, often times, a higher power to be able to think of anything except the procedure that is occurring. I am learning to embrace this trust that they demonstrate and convey it in my own life, knowing that I am in this position in my life in Philadelphia for a reason, even if it is to only hold my new “girlfriend’s” hand during her biopsy for twenty minutes and show her I am there to support her in this time of uncertainty. Their demonstrations of trust and the connections I feel with them have shown me His presence in my life. My new “teachers,” whether they know it or not, have tutored me about the necessity of healing of the entire person (not just the area with disease) and to realize the incredible gift this opportunity I have here is already revealing itself to be.
I may not have been able to predict my participation in RMC and there are certainly days which are not glamorous (my biology major did not teach me much about postage meters believe it or not); however, I remember those who I have met and held in the office or the operating room and remind myself to have faith that I am in the right place for me at the right time in my life. I am looking forward to what I will continue to learn from my position, fondly referred to as “Professional Hand-holder,” and am incredibly grateful for it.
-Emily serves as Patient Support at the Women’s Health Center in Southampton and the Bott Cancer Center.