October 23, 2017
Excerpt from Ingram's Magazine
Young Stephanie Graff had an idol in health care, a sister 16 years her senior who was a nurse. “Every time I would say, ‘I want to be a nurse,’ she would say, ‘Stephanie, you can be a doctor,’” Graff remembers. “I guess it stuck. Having someone believe you can be the biggest version of your dream is powerful.”
So is a mentoring influence like the high school teacher who had advised her on the importance of enthusiastic reading and its impact on career choices. “The science, pharmacology, and biology of cancer rivets me,” Graff says. “I love reading about my job. Breast oncology in particular has a very strong human element that I find to be the best part. I get to connect with my patients personally. It is absolutely the perfect fit for me.”
But it’s one that requires, well, lots of additional reading, given the pace of change. “Oncology is advancing at a remarkable pace,” she says. “New technology advances like Da Vinci robotic surgery, TruBeam radiation oncology, and diagnostic advances like genetic and genomic profiling have all improved patient care.” Drug development, too, is ever-evolving, she says, and in her work at the cancer institute, she’s been part of research efforts to bring new oncology drugs brought to market.
Working with patients, assisting in their recovery, engaging in research—all of it has its rewards. “I feel lucky to have validating moments nearly every day,” Graff says. “Hugs from survivors fill my day as we celebrate life beyond breast cancer. Some of the most meaningful moments in my life have been goodbyes with patients at end of life when I try to communicate exactly what that person has meant to me.”
And a few patients, she says, truly stand out, because they “taught me personal strength, the power of love, and overcoming adversity through positivity and humor. How can I be frustrated with minor setbacks or problems when spending my time with persons as resilient as my cancer patients?
“I am lucky to have been a part of their life.”
Source: Ingram's Magazine