IAmA 39 year old who was a medical volunteer at Ground Zero of the WTC after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Now I have cancer. AMA
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I was in perfect health in 2001. In the years since 9/11, I have had serious medical events occur. Now, at age 39, I have cancer. Cancer rates are alarmingly high in people who worked or lived around Ground Zero in the days and months following the terrorist attacks. I am the first person in my entire family history to have cancer. I am scared. I am the main earner for my family. I write about my experience with cancer and medicine in general www.ERtopics.com. Despite everything I have experienced, I would help again were a similar disaster to occur again.
To Answer some common questions 1) Motivation to Go & Details I was working in an ER near the New York state border when the attacks occurred. I followed the story as it unfolded through out my shift. With each passing hour, I became more intent on going to help. What sealed it for me was a news anchor from one of the New York channels pleading for people with medical skills to go to St. Vincent's medical center to help. So, after getting a small group of emergency workers and a bunch of supplies, we drove 16 hours to get to St. Vincent's. From there we were shuttled to Stuyvesant High School. My heart felt broken after witnessing the attacks. I felt so disappointed in the human race. However, seeing the resolve of New Yorkers and how they came together to rise above the attacks was one of the most profound experiences in my life. It was such an honor to work alongside so many great citizens all working towards a common goal. Although I was far from home, I felt that I was in the exact place I needed to be at in that moment.
Update June 19th - I start back at work for one shift today after being off for several weeks. I am excited to be getting back to my normal routine. I don't feel 100% yet but I think the time is right. I will continue to reply to comments I have not yet gotten to later and tomorrow.