As I type, I feel the smoothness of the pearls around my neck. Every day I wear a strand of pearls, a welcomed invasion in my life; my pearls are a part of me.
A pearl starts as an invader, a foreign substance that gets lodged into the soft tissue of an oyster. Soon thereafter, the oysterís mantle secretes a smooth, hard, crystalline substance around the irritant to protect itself. This substance, called nacre, produces layer upon layer of a pearl until a beautiful gem is produced. My keen interest in biology began with my curiosity about my pearls. How can a pearl, something so beautiful, start out as an invader? What other types of invaders are there? I started to investigate. My conclusions were bacteria, viruses, parasites, and soon enough, I discovered the beauty of medicine.
I furthered my interest in medicine through several invaluable experiences. I have shadowed two doctors, observed kidney and liver transplants while standing two feet from the incision site, and met some memorable patients in pediatrics. One of the teenage patients I met had diabetes. The patient had not been taking his insulin, so his blood sugar was dangerously elevated. To connect with his patient, the doctor told an anecdote about a childhood friend he lost to diabetes. As the doctor told this story to the teenager, I saw a tear well up in the patientís eye. At that remarkable moment, I realized that the doctor had gotten through all of the patientís layers and reached him. At that moment, I was inspired to become a doctor so I could do the same.
Just as an object invades an oyster and diabetes invaded the patientís body, my life has also been invaded by a foreign substance. Medical issues have injected themselves into my life but my layers of nacre have done more than protect me; they have made me stronger. Fighting renal failure, until a transplant several years ago, forced me to learn a lot about myself. After the surgery, I missed several months of school but with perseverance, I finished the year with straight Aís. Even now, as I am challenged by medical circumstances which force me in and out of the hospital, I make up everything that I miss. As a transplant patient, I have always taken my medications and have never "not felt like it" even when I was gaining weight and losing hair. The explanation to my life is as simple as this: I want to live and I want to succeed.
The ancient Romans saw pearls as a sign of wealth and status. Now I see pearls as a metaphor for my life. My medical experiences have become a part of me, but it is how I handle these issues that make me who I am. I am determined to face the challenges of the world with as much grace, beauty and determination as the pearls I wear around my neck.