Terra Sigillata

Mother’s Day reflections

My Mom did all the great ‘Mom’ things and was also instrumental in my career choice. After I started grade school, she started feeling out a career in nursing by working as a secretary in the emergency room department of a local hospital. She decided to go to nursing school when I was between 9 and 11 and I remember that her medical books – texts on physiology and pharmacology – began to pique my interest in this field.

Her dinnertime recollections of the previous night’s ER happenings engrossed me, but simply grossed out my father. As I grew to have a family of my own, I became even more impressed at the effort it must’ve taken her to start a new career while my sister and I were growing up. We were very fortunate to have my grandmother living nearby to help Mom with childcare and my Dad was extremely supportive of my Mom’s desire to make a difference.

Mom’s battle with breast cancer when I was in college was the defining event in my decision to pursue a career in cancer research. Her courage and fortitude were amazing. She braved chemotherapy and radiation treatments and still went to work the same day. She is now a 23-year breast cancer survivor.

But Mom was more than an influence. She encouraged us to be whatever we wanted even when she might’ve wished we took a different path – I think she still had hope that I’d become a “real’ doctor. Yet she encouraged my foray into laboratory science and supported me through the poverty of graduate school.

With my Dad long gone but with a not-so-new husband, she is off today somewhere away from an internet connection in the Caribbean, enjoying the fruits of a well-deserved retirement. Still, I wanted to post a brief recollection of her influence on me, mostly as a scientist but now as a model in parenting. I doubt that I am as responsible and selfless as she, but I can always try to do better – I’ve seen it done.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.


  1. #1 yls
    May 19, 2007

    Nice one, Big Brother!

    Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

  2. #2 PharmMom
    May 20, 2007

    Thanks for the tribute, but I was the lucky one. Everyone should have children like you and your sister. It made raising both of you fun and easy.

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