I didn’t always know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don’t think I will grow up….yes, I know I am short, I am done growing though! However, I did develop into an adult, even though I am not “mature”. I laugh at dick and fart jokes, and what not. However, I did manage to go to college and get a “REAL job”. I became a Social Worker but not because I wanted to change the world or anything like that. I am not what most think, a bleeding heart social worker that will bend at whatever poor soul bats their eye lashes at me. I learned that the hard way as an ER Social worker, getting duped by drug seekers who knew how to turn on the tears with their stories just to get meds. Oh no, I am a hard ass, some even called me The Hammer! I believe that people should indeed help themselves, while it was my job to assist them in finding the right resources that will enable them to do so. I became a Social Worker to give back all the energy, love and compassion that my family and I were given when I was a child with cancer.
The picture above was taken in 2012. I’ve always wanted an official picture in front of the American flag like some kind of VIP! Sometimes I look at it and pretend I’m the first woman president. Most of my career as a Social Worker has been at the VA caring for our nations brave Veterans. A career cut too short, nearly making my 10 year pin. I would have been made ten years in April. I worked at the VA as an Acute Care SW, helping to ensure veteran’s were safe discharging from the hospital. Then I took on the job as the Caregiver Support Coordinator. This week I sadly say goodbye to a job as the Cancer Care Navigation Social Worker. I helped to build this new program that I hope will continue through out all our VA’s in the country. It is a new approach to cancer care and helps our Veteran’s and their families navigate what is too often a very complicated system and helps to make sure they get they cancer care they need an eliminate barriers to their care.
I never thought I would have to retire so early. However, due to my health reasons I must now take care of myself and my family. I am very sad to leave and in a state of emotional turmoil about it. I will miss my patients, my coworkers, the friends I have made and most of all the challenges. So on my last week of work, as I pack up my office, I will think about all that I have learned. I will think back to all the lessons I have be taught and patients who have touched my heart. I will thank my mentors, the wonderful supervisors (Cathy and Tom) and amazing friends I have made had along the way. It’s been a great experience. It is now time for me to put my focus toward new possibilities.