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Thank you for my purpose


By Kim Cook, Regional Director of Clinical & Career Success, American Career College, Areyoucreating.com

Today I am focused on gratitude. I am thankful for the people in my life; my friends, my family, my colleagues, my job. The light in my heart shines because my actions make a difference. I work at a career college and our students have been placed, traced and displaced, but they are resilient. Let me share a story that represents how the journey to success isn’t always easy, but if you are pursuing your passion, it is worthwhile.

Cecilia dreamed of working in the medical field, a lover of computers since elementary school. Other girls would play dolls or toys, but she would write on papers and pretend to file. At the age of 30, she finally took the first step to achieve her dream and enrolled in a vocational school, American Career College. She told her family and friends that she wanted to expand her brain and be a part of a system that helps people.

To make ends meet Cecilia, worked at an acute psychiatric facility that provided care for patients recovering from drug & alcohol addiction, eating disorders, dual diagnoses, PTSD, schizophrenia, and more. Her job consisted of providing compassionate care, administering medication, logging notes, and whatever they asked of her.

She attended the morning Medical Billing & Coding class. A single mother, she frequently worked 10 to 18-hour shifts before coming to school.

To keep up with her job plus studies, it was not unusual to get 2 to 3 hours of sleep. During her 1st module, she had to leave her apartment because they found black mold in the walls. She and her son soon found themselves homeless.

She took a leave of absence, but the staff Ms. L and Mrs. M continued to reach out and offered resources so that Cecilia did not feel alone. Through the tears and uplifting phone calls, she maintained hope and found a place to live.

Two days after moving into her new home, she was drinking an energy drink while driving with her son to the storage unit to pick up their belongings. Cecilia suffered a seizure. The car flipped five times and landed in a ditch. She stopped breathing, and her 11-year old began the CPR his mother taught him in case of an emergency. During the ambulance ride, Cecilia coded again, and the EMT started CPR for the 2nd time. The healthcare team at Loma Linda hospital worked on reviving her for the third time for over an hour and a half. Upon awakening the next morning, she did not remember anything, but the bruises on her chest and stomach told the story.

The doctors diagnosed her with frontal lobe epilepsy, and her life changed overnight. A fiercely independent woman now required assistance from others. She worked hard to return to health. The illness and the multiple brushes with death took a heavy toll on her and her son. She ignored the calls from her instructors, encouraging her to return.

Light at the end of the tunnel: Roman Boiko@rvb.foto Image credit

Finally, she answered the phone from ACC, knowing she needed to get back to her studies to achieve her lifelong dream. She returned to the classroom. School was hard, but it was something she loved. Cecilia remained strong and focused on the perseverance that she possessed. She maintained respect for herself and her mentors and strove to stay positive. Cecilia believed in accountability for her actions, negative and positive. She told her son, “Whatever happens, good or bad, I can learn to overcome.”

Since returning, this unique student remains focused and tries not to miss any assignments. She refuses to allow herself an excuse to fail. Instead, she learned about hard work, balance, and putting herself first. She gets up every morning to meditate with her son; together, they recite the “Serenity” prayer. She likes to concentrate on the future, not the past.

The word, “Cecilia” means being blind to one’s own beauty. Each of us can learn a lesson from the girl who shines from the inside out. She shows us grace, patience and determination to finish her journey. This remarkable woman demonstrates to us all that becoming a medical billing and coding graduate is not about finishing school, but about finding the light that illuminates her future goal. She teaches us the true joy of going the extra mile, even if you get turned over a few times along the way.




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