by Meredith Bratcher
Achievements are often characterized by hard work, persistence, resilience and courage. Trevecca’s history is littered with stories that embody those characteristics—which, in turn, describe the University’s future. Current PA student Meredith Bratcher shares how her cancer diagnosis led her to a life of leadership and service.
I was in denial and felt numb as my doctor explained the details before I signed the consent forms. My parents were in the room along with my brother, who would become my donor. I could not believe this was happening to me, especially at 19 years old and in the middle of my college career, but here I was.
I was being worked up for a bone marrow transplant, and life would never be the same.
I remember some of those days spent in the hospital like it was yesterday, but at other times, it feels like a lifetime ago. Those months spent in the hospital were some of the hardest, most painful times in my life, but those long months ultimately led me to where I am today.
Those months taught me what exceptional health care means and gave me a second chance at life. But most importantly, those months gave me the empathy, compassion and desire to give the same exceptional care to those who need it most.
Flash forward five years later, and I am in my clinical year at Trevecca Nazarene University getting to live out my dream of becoming a physician assistant. And God is so good. It brings tears to my eyes every time I reflect on what He has brought me through, enabled me to overcome, and the unfailing love He has poured out over me to bring me to this point. In His great mercy, He healed me and is enabling me to live out my calling.
My transplant was a true turning point in my life. It gave me a passion for assisting other people who are dealing with some of the same struggles I faced, whether that be staying in the hospital for months, the fear that comes with a life-threatening diagnosis, or the uncertainty that living with a chronic disease brings. I lived through all of those experiences and am already seeing how God is using all those experiences for good in my clinical rotations. The joy of getting to be on the other side of health care as the provider is like no other.
My dream now is to work in pediatric hematology/oncology when I finish school. The Lord has given me such tenderness toward those who are facing some of the same difficulties I faced, and I am so excited that one of my six week clinical rotations is at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where I’ll practice alongside the doctor who performed my transplant. It’s been six years since I first heard that doctor utter the words that changed my life: “You need a transplant.”
The fact that I’ll be working alongside Him, helping to care for patients whose situations I understand all too well—it feels too good to be true.
But that is Jesus. That is His great love for all of us.
Meredith Bratcher, current PA student