Our lives, whether we liked it or not, revolved around Cammie and her illness for most of her childhood and into her adult years. Dark clouds with ominous thunder. In and out of hospitals. Chemo. Operations. Dark clouds with thunder and lightening.
And in those early years we had two more girls, Stephanie and Amanda. Sweet girls. Very understanding with what was swirling around them. As a matter of course, they got hauled to hospitals. They became accustomed to what went on there—doctors, nurses, lab techs, CAT this, MRI that, waiting for this, waiting for that. For them it was just part of their life as they knew it.
And we were very aware that with all the attention that Cammie got (no matter that this was not the type of attention anyone ever wants) and no matter how we attempted to make sure each of the girls was loved, there was a chance that the other two might feel they were not getting their fair share of us. Ahh, but they had Judy for their mom, and she was just exceptional at knowing each one’s needs and doing all she could to keep things in balance.
And in all those comings and goings to the hospital and to doctor’s offices our little Stephanie was keenly observant. And by the time she was ten she had it in her mind that being in medicine was for her. And if one was going to do that, might as well aim for the top of the pecking order and become a doctor. And she let us know. And knowing just how tough, narrow and long a row that was to hoe, we made clucking noises without discouraging her.
It was soon obvious she had the intellectual acuity for her goal of becoming a doctor (she had tested, as a 7th grader, above average for high school seniors in the SAT). And she hopped and skipped through the most difficult courses in biology that her university offered. And she tested near the top in her MCATs. And she gained admittance to UTSW medical school here in Dallas, ranked second in the US for public university med-schools. Not bad.
And this past Saturday evening she graduated with her M.D. A silver lining. A wonderful, shining silver lining. This week she and Brian moved to Waco (Tx.) where she will do a 3 year residency in Family Practice. And then? Another silver lining! She and Brian plan to work in medical missions somewhere.
Equal to the darkest of emotions in those bleakest of years is the feeling of pride and joy for Steph’s accomplishment—the brightest of silver linings.
Steve Van Rooy
Dallas, June, 2008