Granville S.

Granville S.
About Granville S.

I’ve been caring for people since I was a teenager (now 34), honestly before then. My first and best friend was my uncle, 2 years to the day younger then my dad, who was diagnosed with a Grade IV Astrocytoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in 1977 when he was 15 years old. After years of aggressive treatment, many of which were probably still experimental or new, he survived. He was changed and left disabled some physically and more mentally but you would be hard pressed to find a more kind and loving individual.

Fast forward to 1984, a couple years before I was born. My dad, then 24, had just graduated from college to become a teacher and married my mom. As my dad was finishing his master’s, a first time college student in our family, he started battling severe fatigue, depression, anxiety, and uncontrollable weight gain. He thought it was just the stress of college that would go away once he graduated. It didn’t. Time went by he started working, married my mom, and built our family home from the ground up with his bare hands. But those symptoms never went away. At a routine eye exam the doctor noticed something unusual and investigated further. Skipping over the technical jargon and lists of tests that I couldn’t recall even if I tried, he was diagnosed with a very large and complex Prolactinoma, a type of brain tumor that grows on the pituitary gland in the brain. The first pictures I have of my dad holding me he still has the bandages on his face and nose from brain surgery he had to remove the tumor. It did eventually grow back but by then medicine was coming out that could actually stop and shrink this specific type of tumor.

Now I’m in the picture. As you can imagine I grew up comfortable around hospitals, doctors, medicine, and illness. I was also a sponge soaking up everything I saw and heard. From as early as I could remember I wanted to be a doctor. At 7 or 8 years old I would sit and the dentist from the little small town I grew up in would have me learn the names and locations of the teeth while cleaning my mom’s and then have me recite then back to him at the end.

I have always looked out for my uncle. My dad. My grandparents. I was a private live in caregiver before I was 16, M-F 5pm-6am. I graduated high school in 2004. I went to college, while working full-time, towards a biology degree so I could get into med-school. But much like my family before me I had trouble breaking through the glass ceiling. By 2007 I was on full social security disability, but that didn’t stop me. I continued going to college and earning credits towards a bachelor’s degree in biology, which eventually became a Bachelor’s in Nursing. It was a very slow process of ups and downs. Gains and losses as I battled my own nameless illnesses.

I started nursing school in 2010 and graduated with my RN in 2012. I felt like I was at home whether it was as a new grad RN starting in the ER or as a director of nursing for a Skilled Nursing and LTC facility. Though I prefer working the clinical side so I can be close to my patients.

Most if not all of my caring, kindness, and loving nature comes from my uncle who survived all odds against aggressive brain cancer at the age of 15. My hard work and dedication to my patients, my co-workers, and myself from my father, who survived a large brain tumor to his master gland. My endless patience and hunger for knowledge from my tireless and enduring grandmother who to this day still teaches me something new every time I talk to her. My other uncle, my dad’s other brother (who had a full prostatectomy less then a year ago and luckily they caught it very early. Doctor said it was basically early/pre-stage 1) Taught me the meaning of going my distance and then taking one step more. My mom, also a first generation college grad, taught me to never give up on my dreams and goals, as well as adding the humanity back into being a caregiver (yes this is definitely a little talked about thing*) as me and her sat in Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2, among countless other college classes, day and night. I could go on and on from here but I will stop lol.

I was forced back into disability retirement in 2019 after finally getting a few names to some of my own illnesses. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was to stay in retirement during the pandemic. As sick as I was I wanted to be out there helping people but I had to work behind the scenes pro-bono tutoring other nurses in school and leaving my line open to all those that I knew so they could call anytime they had a question. For now that is all I can do. But the future is ever changing. And as I battle my own illnesses and slowly get them into line I hope to be able to finish my FNP (1 year away) and return to the frontlines where I belong, helping people.

My only wish is that everyone could have access to amazing healthcare so they are willing, and financially able, to catch cancer early. Screenings and prevention are still our number 1 best treatment for cancers of all types.

*In my experience ‘humanity’ takes a back seat to clinical knowledge and critical thinking when in college. But we must never forget that a smile, a laugh, or just an extra 5 minutes of chit-chat can change someone’s whole experience, and life, in a far more positive way then any medicine ever could.

Attached image is of my uncle in the nursing home surrounded by the wonderful people who dedicated themselves to providing care for him when our family was unable to. They became family, caring for him and my pappaw, and it is to them I dedicate this to.

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