Hello, my name is Nicole Sorrentino. I am from Long Island, New York and I am a freshman at Ithaca College in the Physical Therapy Program. As I was growing up, I always heard complaints from my older family members about their aches and pains. I always assumed that it was because they were aging, but as I began to study science I finally understood what was going on in my family. In my family, it is not uncommon to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many of my family members on my mother’s side have it, and it’s shocking to see how terrible this disease really is.
Every Tuesday morning I would sit at the breakfast table and watch my mom shove a needle into her thigh. It isn’t really a common thing to do at the breakfast table, but at my house, it has become a part of the routine. My mother has RA, and I’ve witnessed her suffer from it since I was very young. Aside from all of the medication, she has found another form of treatment that has helped her significantly. Once she can’t take the pain any longer, she goes straight to the Physical Therapist. When she returns home, there’s a change. She walks in with a smile on her face, and claims that she can “move again.”
Once I saw how therapy changed my mother, I knew I had to become a Physical Therapist. I knew that it would give me the opportunity to change the lives of many people, including my mom. I began working at the side of the same Physical Therapist that treats my mom and I see how the treatments help every patient that walks into the office. The therapists at the clinic were very kind, and taught me anything that they could about the profession. My experience also taught me a lot about the patient-doctor relationship. Working at their side and studying the various treatments really helped validate that this is the career I wanted to pursue after high school.
Knowing that RA has affected my family and knowing that there is a way to help relieve the pain is the driving force behind my decision to become a Physical Therapist. My heart chose this career, and I truly want to be able to relieve patients of their pain, no matter what the cause is.