I really want to be a doctor because I really want people to know stuff, like if their kids are sick or not. I want to help people, too, by making their kids better when I can.
Twinkle Toes has a long history with medicine- in her almost 6 short years on this planet she has earned a medical chart a mile long. The scariest parts all happened before her second birthday, before the magical moment in a child’s life where they begin to form long-term memories. She has an illness called thrombocytosis with immunoglobulin deficiency. Normally, these are symptoms of a larger problem. For two years we went through the ringer trying to find the cause of her illnesses. From cystic fibrosis to leukemia, liver disease to kidney problems, she was in and out of hospitals and doctors offices constantly, trying to find the root cause of her issues. She weighed in at 17 pounds when she turned 2 years old, the size of a typically developing infant. Her frailty caused motor skill delays which are just now fully receding. It is amazing to me, but when she walks into the room with other kids her age now you could never tell that we spent years trying to right her development and fix her health.
Twinkle reached the age of questioning well in advance of finding a place on the growth chart. While my husband and I shielded her from the painful memories of her early years for a long time, we decided to answer her ‘big questions’ truthfully. Around her 5th birthday we shared with her the watered down, less scary kid appropriate version of her youngest days. In a fit of panic over her faking an illness I burst into the story, an unplanned yet expected occurrence. I told her how we spent hours agonizing over every cough and whimper, how I nursed her until her brother was on the way because we knew that the nutrients of my milk were important in her fight for growth. I told her that when she feigns illness I get so scared that it is real again, that we are going to travel the cold halls of hospitals and doctors offices searching for answers, that it makes me terribly afraid. I told her that she was perfect, and perfectly formed, and the most beautiful answer to a prayer I didn’t know I had been uttering since the moment I decided to have children.
I told her that I would tell her anything she wanted to know about her life to that date, any story she wanted would be shared. We talked for a long time that day, and for many days after, about her journey to health. We spoke about our crazy awesome support system that made it possible for us to care for her the best way possible. We told her about our favorite doctor, who went on to a prestigious fellowship on rare childhood conditions after we moved on to a new practice. We told her that through Doctor Shaw we felt cared for and secure.
Your answer to this question, Twinkle, about your life and your future, speaks volumes about your past journeys and your heart. You want to help people know that everything will be OK. You want to be their companion in times of strife, giving answers and offering support. You are the embodiment of unending determination- While I hope no one ever has to suffer through a sick child, I hope that you stick to your 5 year old proclamation and become the doctor that makes everything feel safer, even when the world looks to be falling apart.