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Home » Thriving in the Face of Adversity: Stephanie Buxhoeveden at TEDxHerndon (Transcript)

Thriving in the Face of Adversity: Stephanie Buxhoeveden at TEDxHerndon (Transcript)

Stephanie Buxhoeveden

Stephanie Buxhoeveden – Nurse practitioner 

Life is going to challenge you at some point, it’s going to hand you something unfair, it’s going to take something from you, it’s going to interfere with your plans. When this happens, you have a few choices: deny, cope, or thrive.

I’m here today to tell you my story, or at least, my story so far. I was 25 years old, a neurological intensive care nurse and enrolled in an extremely competitive graduate program where I was studying how to be a nurse anesthetist, that’s people who give anesthesia in the operating room. The program accepts fewer than 25 people per year, and I had worked really hard in order to earn my spot. To top it all off, this is what I did in my downtime in order to relax.

One day while I was working out my right foot fell asleep, and it never woke back up. Then, over the next week, the numbness that started in my foot, began to spread up both of my legs. I brushed it off hoping that it was just a sports injury. Maybe I had pinched a nerve while weightlifting. And I knew that if it was anything more serious than that, I was not prepared to face it just yet. The truth was that I saw the devastating effects of neurological disease every day at work, and I refused to see myself as anything but young and invincible so I swept it under the rug, and I kept going at the breakneck pace that I was so accustomed to.

And then, before I knew it, the big day came. I was finally giving anesthesia for the first time as a student. I had spent months cooped up in a classroom, I could not wait to put my new skills to the test. I didn’t know it at the time, but everything would change that day. In the locker room at the hospital I fumbled trying to get my completely numb legs into my surgical scrubs.

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