Challenges and Setbacks—A Life Saved

Challenges and Setbacks—A Life Saved


My name is Roshanda Brown. I’ve always had dreams of becoming a nurse. here is a short story of my life that brought me to where I am today.

My mother gave me up when I was six months old. My paternal grandparents at the age of 53 adopted me and have been in my life ever since. All my mother knew as a child was foster care. She was also separated from her siblings, on and off, while moving from foster home to foster home and picking up different lifestyles. Her father was an alcoholic and abusive to her mother. Her father died from alcohol abuse, and her mother suffered from depression. I’m guessing that’s why my mother’s “motherly instincts” was never developed. She gave birth to five beautiful children. I was the baby among two brothers and one sister. Another brother was born and was taken away immediately. As of today, I have yet to meet my little brother.

I was a victim of drug abuse. My mother was a drug addict while pregnant with me. Exposure to cocaine in the womb can lead to subtle, yet significant deficits later in children. These deficits usually show up in areas such as cognitive performance, information processing, and attention to tasks. These are areas that are vital for success, not just in school, but in life. It took me a while to become a normal baby. I wouldn’t even cry. I just sat there and stared in fear. I always wondered what life was like when in the care of my mother. I questioned my older brother, who was nine years old at the time. He told me life was a living hell. He said he had to learn how to be a father to his four younger siblings. One memory he will never forget was how he had to go to the store to steal milk for me as an infant and food for the other three. We had to watch our steps at our home because there were crack needles and condom rappers everywhere.   My mother gave her life to the streets. She has been in and out of my life for 26 yrs. This life experience is why I’ve become the mother I am today. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy August 13th 2010. I was a freshman in college at the time I gave birth to him. In July of 2011, my life became a living nightmare. I often wondered why my son was always in and out of the emergency room. The doctors couldn’t figure out why he was always sick. I finally came across a doctor who knew exactly what he observed. My son was diagnosed with cancer and battled it for three years. After the diagnosis, I decided to quit school so that I could save his life. My grandfather and I lost all of our income and even our home due to traveling expenses. We traveled back and forth to Philadelphia each month because no hospital in Rochester was able to save him. We then received some bad news: my grandmother had passed. She was all I knew as a mom. We had to make hotel arrangements for our stay in Philadelphia as well as plan funeral arrangements. I felt that life would not get any better, so all hope was lost. In 2012 my son was cancer free, but in just a short time the cancer came back. My son was so strong, and he didn’t let the cancer get the best of him. He eventually kicked cancer in the tail. He is currently in remission.

In 2013 things were getting back to normal, and I decided to go back to school. After another year in school, I found out that I was pregnant. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in April of 2014. I had to adjust to this new life of being a single mother with two children. Once I got the hang of things, I went back to work. I noticed that my mood was changing. I was always exhausted, very forgetful, and I was constantly in unbearable pain. I didn’t let those symptoms get me down because I had two mouths to feed. In May of 2016 I was accepted into the LPN program at REOC. At the time of admission I felt that I was getting closer to my dream. They were very strict on attendance, so I did my best not to miss any class time. Being in the program for a few months was challenging for me. I couldn’t retain any information; I was restless and couldn’t feel my legs at times. I would often drift off during lecture and was always running to the bathroom because of constant, excruciating pain to my stomach.

I hid all these things because I wanted to get through school, and then God showed up and made me realize it wasn’t my time. On the day of the final I was three points shy of the requirements. I had to be terminated from the program. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me because I was worked so hard. But God. A month later my body gave out on me. I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel from the waist down. I was able to drive myself to the hospital. When I got there, the doctors told me that I made it just in time. I was partially paralyzed, and they were amazed how I made it to the emergency room. With back to back testing, I received some bad news. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which is a brain and a spine disease. I was so angry at the time because I couldn’t understand why I had to go through this battle even after what had happened to my son. I thought I was actually getting my life back in order.

After a few months of living with unanswered questions, I decided to give my life back to God. I couldn’t let MS get me down, so I started back working out, eating right, and working back at the nursing home. I always had a passion for nursing. I’ve been a Certified Nursing Assistant for three years now. I won’t stop until I reach my destiny. I gave all my troubles to God and He has been by my side ever since. I am now in stable condition and I feel great. You can’t let your situation define you. Anything you put your mind to you can do! There is always light at the end of each tunnel, so don’t stop until you get there!


Roshanda Brown- A Parent, Friend, Student of Life, and a Survivor!!!!