Michelle's StoryJun 6, 2019
A True Connection - Doctor Who Also Survived Cancer Inspires Young Patient
As a 13-year-old cancer patient at Children's Hospital of Michigan, Michelle remembers connecting on a deep level with pediatric oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Taub.
"Dr. Taub had cancer like me," she said. "We were the same age when we got it. When I heard his story, it was so inspirational. He survived and went on to become a doctor helping kids."
That "testimony" was important to this pious Oakland University freshman, now 19, who serves in the campus gospel choir and as a member of Glory Phi God, a non-denominational ministry.
On her right wrist she wears an orange band that proclaims "Glory Phi God" and she speaks freely about her faith in God and Children's Hospital of Michigan.
"I'm so glad I ended up at that hospital," Michelle said. "It all started with a lump on my neck. It would come and go. My mother would take me to these little clinics in our neighborhood in Detroit and the doctors would say, 'Oh, just wait and see if it gets better.' But my mother wouldn't settle for that. She took me to Children's Hospital of Michigan. They biopsied it and found out I had cancer."
Michelle had chemotherapy for a year and bounced back rapidly from the disease.
In relatively short order, she was back into a routine at Detroit's Murray Wright High School and was such a success in the Army Junior ROTC program that she rose to the rank of regimental commander, leading 300 other cadets. But the petite young woman, who wears a size 4, said she shunned the role of drill sergeant.
"I had other people to do the hollering," she says with a laugh. "I ran the program. It was fun, because I had all my energy back. I'm very much healthy and happy now."
Nor has Michelle forgotten Dr. Taub. In fact, she's patterning her life after his. After she earns her degree in medical laboratory sciences, Michelle plans to attend medical school and become an oncologist.
"I will treat my patients like I was treated at Children's Hospital," Michelle declares. "I will treat everybody like family. I will think of Dr. Taub and people like Debbie, my first nurse. They spread around a lot of happiness. I would call them friends. I hope my patients will confide in me. I want them to know there's a way to get past cancer."