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Stuck on my first draft..Help please!!

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This is a early draft of a personal statement I wrote for medical school. I have since decided to apply to PA school instead. I know it needs a lot of work still and it needs to be more directed towards the PA profession. However, I'm struggling with what to keep, what to throw out, and where to go from here. Any suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated!


The summer before my senior year in high school, I found a golf ball sized lump under my arm while I was exercising. When I went into my pediatrician they thought it was a swollen lymph node from some kind of infection. After several rounds of antibiotics and no improvement, I was sent to the local cancer center; a scary referral for anyone. It took a few weeks to get a biopsy and the results but thankfully it turned out to be a benign tumor. By this time a very scary and stressful three months had already passed. However, that was not the end of the journey. The tumor needed to be removed, and since it was wrapped around a nerve leading to my dominant arm, none of the local neurosurgeons would touch it fearing permanent damage. So I was referred yet again to one of the top neurosurgeons in the country. After four months of being passed from physician to physician, a four-hour drive, a 30-minute wait in the waiting room, and a 45-minute wait in the exam room, the surgeon finally came to see me. He came off and very cold and unfriendly. He spent the majority of the short five minutes with me telling me how minor my tumor was and how he normally operates on life threatening brain tumors. When I left the appointment I was in tears. I should have been happy with the news he gave me because the surgery that I thought was going to possibly disable me, was evidently going to be a piece of cake for his colleague that he referred me to, but happy was not what I felt. I felt unimportant and guilty because he made me feel like I wasted his important time. This experience taught me a lot about what its like to be a patient. It also taught me some things about how a medical professional should not act. There is no way a medical professional can truly know what their patient has been through physically and equally important, emotionally. So, every patient should be treated with the same compassion and respect regardless of how severe or minor their ailment.


A few years later I experienced another very personal encounter with medicine. During the first semester of my junior year of college, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. This terrified me because in my early teens I watch my grandma fight a very tough battle with ovarian cancer and lose. I didn’t want to see my mom go through the same thing and I didn’t know what our family would do if we lost her. During that semester I found my mind was often elsewhere and it was sometimes hard to focus on school. During finals week, my mom went through her first round of chemo, was hospitalized due to complications and quickly began losing her hair. It was a lot to handle at once and my grades that semester reflected that. That was just the beginning of the battle but I didn’t want to see my grades continue on this path. Despite spending every Tuesday with my mom at her chemo treatments, taking her to many of her doctor appointments, and accepting a large portion of her responsibilities in our family business I was able to bring my grades up. It was inspiration from my mom that allowed me to do this. Throughout her battle, even on the toughest days, she kept a positive attitude and never complained. I believe I have this kind strength in me as well and it will help me get through the tough road ahead of me in the pursuit of a medical career.


Although cancer is never a pretty thing, this was a much more positive experience in regards of the medical care I witnessed. In going to many of her appointments and treatments I got to see great examples of how a medical professional should interact with their patients. I found that a diagnosis like cancer not only affects the individual, but also their family and the people closest to them. All my mom’s providers always included me in the conversation and often asked how I was feeling as well. My mom, working in the health care field herself, has told me that is not always the case. She often witnesses medical professionals who do not even acknowledge the other people in the room. I want to become a PA that provides a positive experience for my patients as well as their families even in some of the grimmest situations.

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