My biggest obstacle was being diagnosed with testicular cancer twice. The first time was at age 23 and I thought my life was over. I was pissed that I was being cheated out of the life I wanted. Later, I found out I was being selfish. When I showed for my first radiation therapy session, I met a young boy no older than 10, also there for his radiation treatment. It was quite the wakeup call I needed. Upon seeing this young kid being so brave, I had to ask, “Who is really being cheated out of life here?” Right there and then, I decided to take on the mentality of a survivor, not a victim. After two stages of chemotherapy, I’ve been in remission since 1998.
I also had a bit of a struggle after getting out of the Air Force (August 1993-January 2005). Being used to the structure in the military, I was not sure where I could work and have it be similar. I collected unemployment for a bit and eventually worked at Sam’s Club for a while. When we moved, I was in the same predicament again. I did not know what I wanted to do until I went to the local university and took the PinPoint test. It helped me find out my interests and see that the field of social work was for me.
I now work as an Early Intervention Specialist with kids from birth to three years of age. These children have minor to severe developmental delays, so the goal of treatment is to improve their motor development or movements. We also help them to learn different oral motor techniques so they can better communicate with others. It gives me so much joy just to meet these kids. To make the kids laugh while providing them and their families with what’s needed for a better future is the best feeling!