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I was a teenager in the midst of three years of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia when Packard Children’s opened its doors. Up to that point, I had been treated at the old children’s hospital, which I had come to love. That ranch-style building, nestled into what was then open, wild meadows, felt like a second home.
To me and my family, this new hospital was very big and very fancy. It was difficult to navigate at first. Vast parking lots, grand entryway, and where was this “Clinic D”?
But then, welcoming us in were Dr. Michael Link, my beloved oncologist, and Pat Glusco, one of my favorite nurses...and it felt like home again.
The transition to Packard Children’s signified my own transition from sick child embarking on an impossible journey to healthy teenager starting a cancer-free life. This place, this building, carries the weight of life and death within its walls. It means something to those who pass through it. Certainly, it means something very important to me.
Lucile Packard didn’t give me back my old identity. She protected my ability to forge a new one.
Today I am here again, but in my new identity as a nurse practitioner, working alongside Dr. Link and Pat in pediatric oncology. Watching as the hospital expands and becomes new once again. And, very humbly, carrying a new generation of patients into the future.
Christie Chaudry, PNP
Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases
This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Lucile Packard Children's News.