Bethany: Why Did I Choose to Work in Cancer Care?

I had a patient ask me the other day, “Why did you choose this job?”  First time a patient has ever asked me that.  To be honest, I was a little surprised at the question, but I think it’s a great question.  

It’s good to get to know the person behind the white coat and see what motivates them.  Takes away part of the stigma, and makes them seem more like a person.  Quickly I responded that I’ve always had a passion for food and nutrition and I have a family history of cancer.  

But is that really why I am doing this?  I can honestly say yes, in part, but that’s not the whole truth.

Growing up, my mom was a dietitian.  The food pyramid was the Holy Grail and we constantly were eating low-fat, reduced-calorie foods.  My mom thought she was doing the right thing.  Now, at almost 30, I realize that she was overweight and my whole family struggled with weight, including me.  

After a 2 year battle with breast cancer that metastasized to her liver, my mom passed away.  I was 9 years old.  My go-to for comfort and control: food.  My weight yo-yoed from being overweight to underweight, eventually being diagnosed with anorexia when I was 13.  After meeting with doctors, a dietitian, and a therapist over time,

I was able to get my eating habits under control.  My eating habits still aren’t perfect (I am human after all), but I’ve come a long way from that starving 13 year-old.

So back to the original question, why do I do what I do?

I do it in honor of my mom.
I do it so maybe I can save a 9-year old girl from going through what I went through.  
I do it to help the moms, grandmas, dads, brothers, sisters, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends so they have a fighting chance against cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases using food as their medicine.