Nancy K.

Harlingen, Texas

Although I can rarely put down a book once I've delved into the world created by its words, there has been only one book that has actually directly affected my world as well. Had I read Gifted Hands by Dr. Benjamin Carson, an autobiography, at a different time, perhaps it wouldn't have had such an effect on me, but as fate destined this book not only foreshadowed an immense challenge and change in my life, but prepared me for it as well. Ironically intertwined with the story between the pages, my life also revolved around hospital visits. At the time, my father had been just been urgently hospitalized again. Although I utilized the book as an escape during the frequent waiting periods at the hospital, it turned out to be more related to my life than I could have ever imagined.

Sympathizing with the financial struggles and restrictions faced by Dr. Carson as an adolescent, his triumph over all obstacles revived my faith in prevailing over my hindrances as well and attending medical school. His incredible medical feats as a pediatric neurosurgeon reinvigorated my motivation to perform at my optimum level, despite certain pessimistic views. As I read on about the remarkable medical cases of Dr. Carson, my fascination flourished, and my knowledge of surgeries and conditions of the brain also expanded. While I relish information regarding medical maladies and treatments, I did not expect to have to apply it so soon.

Through this book, my mind was also exposed to ailments associated with tumors. So when an oncologist came to my father's hospital room to speak with him, I knew that meant tumor. As he introduced himself and began to explain the location and malignancy of the tumor, I felt the room warp into a spiral of dimming light. When I heard the word Cancer, any remaining light diminished, leaving me blind. Despite the overwhelming temptation to drown in the darkness, I used my newly acquired knowledge to focus on understanding and dealing with our situation. If I hadn't just read Gifted Hands, I don't know if I would have been able to focus on anything else besides the dawning dread of this commonly terminal disease, but instead I was able to energize my hope and concentrate on the positive.

Although our battle with cancer continues, I have dedicated myself to being involved with the treatment and learning new information about the condition. Dr. Carson has not only inspired hope in my father's recovery, but also in my will to attend medical school. My financial intimidation continues to swell as our hospital bills pile higher everyday, but, after reading about Dr. Carson's remarkable progress despite coming from a fiscally distressed environment, my confidence and determination to accomplish my greatest ambition has solidified. I will attend medical school, and my father will be smiling at me from the crowd as I receive my M.D.