MISTY BLUE FOSTER – Courage To Shine™ – Role Model of the Month for June 2012
Courage to Shine Editor: Misty Blue Foster has been named the June 2012, Courage To Shine Role Model for the month.
After you take the time to read her inspirational story below, you will totally understand why Courage to Shine is honored to have her as one of our monthly role models.
Then read about her being named the Great Comebacks Program’s – 2009 Ina Brudnick Award Recipient for the US West Region as well as the story about her in the San Mateo County Times in early 2010. Then take the time to watch the four part movie called ‘My Name is Misty Blue” where Misty tells her own story in her own words.
Furthermore, at the bottom of this blog are links to a 5 part blog series by UroMed, as part of the UroMed Hometown Heroes Series, where they featured Misty Blue Foster for 5 days in November 2011.
Sit back and enjoy this most incredible story of Misty Blue Foster from many different writers and points of view, all in one place.
By Janet Paquet
“You can’t always control what you are given in life, but you can control what you do with it” - Misty Blue Foster
Misty was born in 1985 with both spina bifida and cloacal exstrophy, a very rare birth defect affecting approximately one in every 250,000 live births. Sadly, those were not the only challenges Misty had to face in her young life.
The living conditions in Misty’s foster home were horrific. She had a foster mom who could not cope with a child living with special needs. Misty was not allowed to use the washroom to empty her ostomy pouch but was directed to the porch where she was to empty the pouch into Ziploc bags and deposit directly into the garbage. Her foster mom would also ration the absorbent panties that Misty had to wear, with the assumption that Misty caused her own incontinence. The foster mom resented the fact that she would have to take time out of her day to take Misty to the Emergency room or hospital appointments. Years of abuse would continue in her foster home.
In high school, Misty was finally able, on the school’s computer, to research what her health conditions were. She was fortunate to contact Thomas Exler of the Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community (ABC). Tom was able to arrange for Misty to attend the UOA Youth Rally in Boulder, Colorado, so that she would meet other teens her age that had ostomies. Misty was surprised to learn that all these teens at the Rally could have a good time and didn’t care that they had an ostomy. It wasn’t their fault! She then attended the California Bladder Exstrophy Support Team (B.E.S.T.) Campout where for the first time in her life, she experienced a family like atmosphere.
With no independent living skills, Misty faced an uphill battle after graduating from high school. She had no money and nowhere to go. The only marketable skill she had was being a caregiver. (She had cared for some of the younger children in the foster home) With the help of a friend, Misty was able to get a job working in a care home helping a developmentally disabled adult. Although she liked her job, Misty really converted a job as a nurse. She was able to find a job as an unlicensed nursing assistant at a convent retirement residence. During this time Misty continued to have health problems ranging from gallstones, kidney and back problems. At one point Misty’s a scoliosis worsened as her spine continued to grow sideways.
Undeterred by her health. Misty enrolled in a Certified Nursing Assistant program followed by a Licensed vocational Nurse program maintaning a 4.0 grade point average. She is now working on her Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree. She has had to and will continue to attend school full time and work full time to pay for school and work full time to pay for school and living expenses.
Misty has been blessed to find love in her life. She was introduced by a co-worker to her husband Jerome. Although their first meeting was a disaster, their second was much better and a year later they were engaged. Jerome, a man of few words, did state that the only time it has been difficult for him to cope with Misty’s health issues is when she is in pain. He hates to see her uncomfortable. Jerome stays with her when she is in the hospital and said, ”she needs me”. He also joked that when they went on a tandem bike ride, Misty let him do all the work – so she needed him again.
Opportunities have opened for Misty to speak and share her story and be an inspirational to others . She has been a guest speaker at conferences for people with exstrophy, bowel and bladder diversions, neurological problems and spina bifida. Some of these conferences have taken place in Australia, England and Iceland.
It was my pleasure this past summer to spend an afternoon with both Misty and her husband, Jerome. To meet someone who has overcome such tremendous adversities and still be committed to being the best she can be truly an inspiration. With Misty, the word ‘can’t’ does not exist; her perseverance and persistence to overcome her struggles can be an encouragement to anyone who has suffered from any health issue.
Janet Paquet is a member of the Hamilton & District Ostomy Association and Vice President of the United Ostomy Associations of Canada (UOAC)
© Copyright 2012 Janet Paquet & United Ostomy Associations of Canada
Click here to view the original article Meet Misty Blue in Ostomy Canada Winter 2011 Issue http://couragetoshineblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/meet-misty-blue-in-ostomy-canada-winter-2011-issue.pdf
In August 2011, Misty Blue Foster was featured in the ‘Role Model’ section, on the online as well as in the printed issue of “Nursing Times”based in London, UK - ‘A lot of children thought they couldn’t go to college if they have a disability’ http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-specialisms/educators/a-lot-of-children-thought-they-couldnt-go-to-college-if-they-had-a-disability/5033403.article
In Fall of 2009, Misty Blue Foster was named the Great Comebacks Program’s – 2009 Ina Brudnick Award Recipient for the US West Region: http://www.greatcomebacks.com/us/stories/Foster_Misty-Blue.shtml
“Coping with two ostomies would be difficult for any child. Misty Blue Foster had added health challenges from spina bifida and cloacal exstrophy, a birth defect in which inner-abdominal structures are exposed. She managed these conditions with grace and maturity all while growing up in foster care,”
- Great Comebacks 2009
“This is the incredible story of a young lady who has overcome many obstacles in her life with great determination and I believe is a lesson to us all.” by New Zealand Ostomate Magazine Editor- New Zealand Ostomate Magazine – Issue 1 of 2011 – The Misty Blue Foster Story, Page 27
Misty Blue Foster in 2008 won the Tafford Uniform Nursing Scholarship: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Tafford-Announces-Latest-Nursing-Scholarship-Winners-825690.htm
“I hope in the future, I can change the world little by little for those like me who grew up without a loving home, and felt there was no hope,” said Foster. “I want to give love and hope to those not only from the foster care system, but also those sick from cancer, devastating acquired illnesses, terminal illnesses, and congenital disorders. I want to help educate others worldwide that life’s circumstances don’t determine who you are, or what you become. Destiny is determined by ones’ choices, and what they do with the circumstances they face.”
- 2008 Misty Blue Foster
- From 2008 Tafford Uniforms Nursing Scholarship, Awards
Editor’s Note: The race of life is not a 100-yard sprint. Life is a marathon, a long distance run often over treacherous terrain that requires strength, endurance and single-mindedness of purpose. For many, just finishing the course is a major achievement. But others choose to endure the pain and push their bodies and minds to the limits and win. Such is the case of Misty Blue Foster, who at a very-young age set her sights on being a nurse, although physically and financially, she appeared to have no way to reach that goal.
Misty Blue Foster is a strong woman who is passionate about serving others and her nursing career.
Question: Misty, please tell us some of your background.
Foster: Right now I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and I already have a two-year degree that qualifies me as a licensed nurse. I go to school eight hours a day and work eight hours a day as a nurse. Even though the schedule is quite rigorous, I love what I’m doing and learning. I love serving others.
I’ve decided to get a bachelor’s degree instead of just a two-year degree because it will enable me to advance in my job. I want to be anurse practitioner or teach nursing, and both require at least a bachelor’s degree.
These jobs will help me financially. I’ve been in some form of nursing since I graduated from high school. I started off as a caregiver, and then worked as a nursing assistant. In 2009, after completing two years of college, I received my license.
I always wanted to become a nurse, since the nicest people throughout my life had always been nurses and people in the healthcare industry. I grew up without a family and had an extremely difficult early life, but every time I went to the hospital or to see my doctor, someone with a friendly smile was always there and had a genuine concern for me. Because of the friendliness of the nurses I came in contact with, I decided that was the kind of person I wanted to be when I grew up.
To read more about Misty Blue please click here: http://uromed.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/misty-blue-foster-becoming-a-nurse-while-overcoming-spina-bifida/
NOVEMBER 9, 2011
Editor’s Note: The race of life is not a 100-yard sprint. Life is a marathon, a long distance run often over treacherous terrain that requires strength, endurance and single-mindedness of purpose. For many, just finishing the course is a major achievement. But others choose to endure the pain and push their bodies and minds to the limits and win. Such is the case of Misty Blue Foster, who at a very young age set her sights on being a nurse, although physically and financially, she appeared to have no way to reach that goal. Part 2 of a 5-part series.
Question: Misty, on Day 1 you told us about attending nursing school and working at the same time. Can you explain some of your earlier background?
Misty underwent several corrective surgeries as a very small child, but that didn’t stop her from getting into the Christmas spirit!
Foster: I was kind of a “throw-away” child to the state foster care system. Mymom had an alcohol and drug problem and my grandmother also dealt with analcohol problem. The reason I was disabled at birth was because my mom was on drugs when she was pregnant with me. I had a pelvic closure operation and spinal surgery at age two. My mom didn’t have a proper car seat for me because I had a spica cast that went from my chest down to my ankles.
The type of car seat I needed was supposed to be wide at the bottom to allow my legs and hips to be splayed. It would keep my body in traction. My mom and grandmother loved me very much, but both were not fully able to care for me. My mom could not overcome her addictions and my grandmother wasn’t financially stable and had stage four lung and colon cancer.
NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Editor’s Note: The race of life is not a 100-yard sprint. Life is a marathon, a long distance run often over treacherous terrain that requires strength, endurance and single mindedness of purpose. For many, just finishing the course is a major achievement. But others choose to endure the pain and push their bodies and minds to the limits, and therefore win. Such is the case of Misty Blue Foster, who at a very young age set her sights on being a nurse, although physically and financially, she appeared to have no way to reach that goal. Part 3 of a 5-part series.
Foster: When I decided to go back to school to get my two-year degree to become a licensed nurse, I realized I had some big hurdles to overcome. There was an entrance exam that included a math section. Math is not my strong point–although I do pretty well in everything else. Part of the entrance exam included algebra, which I hate. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass my entrance exam due to the dreaded algebra. To solve that problem, I took an algebra review course at the college. I took the entrance exam again, passed it, and got into nursing school!
Misty worked hard to pass her entrance exam and physical so she could get accepted into nursing school.
Another requirement other than the exam was that I had to have a physical. I was concerned that if I had a physical at school, I’d be disqualified. I went to the doctor who had known me most of my life and asked him to give me the physical. He was aurologist who had taken care of me ever since I was a child and knew my condition better than anyone. He told the school, “She has altered urinary and bowel functions. However, she can walk, talk, think, and do everything like the rest of the applicants can. She just may have to go to the bathroom more often than some of your other students.” After the school read the doctor’s report, I qualified for nursing school.
I also faced financial struggles. I tried to get a loan, but I was denied. I researched my options and learned I might qualify for a federal loan through the Sallie Mae student loan program that was affiliated with the nursing school. I got a student loan to help pay for my education and also applied for scholarships. I researched and applied for every scholarship I could find. I was fortunate enough to receive three. I received a $5000 scholarship from the Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, which helps foster children go to college. The money was paid directly to the school and not to me. I looked for uniforms and found a company that offered scholarships for nursing students. I applied and won the scholarship from Tafford Uniform Company for $1000. I also got another $1000 scholarship from the Kidney and Urology Foundation of America.
To read more about Misty Blue please click here: http://uromed.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/spina-bifida-doesnt-stop-misty-blue-foster-in-serving-others/
NOVEMBER 11, 2011
Editor’s Note: The race of life is not a 100-yard sprint. Life is a marathon, a long distance run often over treacherous terrain that requires strength, endurance and single-mindedness of purpose. For many, just finishing the course is a major achievement. But others choose to endure the pain and push their bodies and minds to the limits, and therefore win. Such is the case of Misty Blue Foster, who at a very young age set her sights on being a nurse, although physically and financially, she appeared to have no way to reach that goal. Part 4 of a 5-part series.
Misty hit difficult roadblocks while in school, but she did not give up.
I decided after becoming a practical nurse that my life would be better after a four-year nursing degree and eventually a master’s degree. However, I had a major setback because of my financial needs. I couldn’t afford to go to a a four-year nursing school initally, but I could afford a private two-year school with loans and scholarships. Right now, I’m enrolled at the College of San Mateo, an accredited two-year college. I’m taking the prerequisites to be able to get into theRN program.
Here’s what happened–When I applied for my RN program, the school credit I’d received where I got my two-year nursing degree wasn’t transferable. The courses I’d taken were accredited for me to get a licensed nursing degree but not accredited by colleges and universities to count as the first two years of work for a four-year nursing degree. I had to retake all of the courses that I already had passed as prerequisites. I was somewhat devastated because I paid a lot of money, gone to school to become a licensed nurse, assumed I’d be able to go two more years and get a bachelor’s degree, and then discovered that I couldn’t. Now I’m taking and paying for two more years of classes that I’ve already passed. That’s the reason I am still working and going to school.
However, I still wanted to go back to school. My goal always has been to get a BSN degree, so this hurdle is just one more I needed to overcome. I couldn’t get my BSN degree if I got upset and angry and refused to do what was required. As soon as I got the word that I had to retake all those courses, I started. I’m still strong, and at 26 years old, I’m still young.
I don’t know how my medical condition will progress. If I wait until I’m older, I may not be able to handle working and going to school full-time. I can do it at my current age. I’ve had a lot of difficult roadblocks while growing up, working and going to school, but I always remember what my mother told me when I was a child. Even though she had drug and alcohol problems, she made sure to let me know that I always need to make the right choices. She also helped me learn to keep God in my life because she was not going to live long due to her addictions. I have always remembered this, so I pray to Him and ask for strength and help to make good decisions for my life. It is also beneficial to receive support from friends and role models.
To read more about Misty Blue please click here: http://uromed.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/misty-blue-foster-took-a-giant-step-backwards-to-reach-her-dream-but-stayed-strong/
NOVEMBER 12, 2011
Editor’s Note: The race of life is not a 100-yard sprint. Life is a marathon, a long distance run often over treacherous terrain that requires strength, endurance and single-mindedness of purpose. For many, just finishing the course is a major achievement. But others choose to endure the pain and push their bodies and minds to the limits, and therefore win. Such is the case of Misty Blue Foster, who at a very young age set her sights on being a nurse, although physically and financially, she appeared to have no way to reach that goal. Part 5 of a 5-part series.
I started dating after high school–not really looking for a husband. As a matter of fact, my husband found me.
Misty and Jerome met for the first time at a Mexican restaurant.
We were set up on a blind date. A friend of mine from the care home I used to work for told me a group of my past co-workers were having a mini reunion at a Mexican restaurant. He told me I should at least stop by since the gathering was close to my house. I agreed because I thought it would be fun to see everyone I used to work with. When I entered the restaurant, I didn’t see a lively group of familiar faces. Instead, all I saw was my friend’s cousin, Jerome Panscala. I felt a tad bit uncomfortable since it was a blind date, but I stayed because I didn’t want to be rude. I also didn’t want to pass up free Mexican food!
I love Mexican food since I am actually part Mexican. I ordered the hottest, spiciest food on the menu. Since Jerome had never eaten Mexican food before, he ordered the same thing I did. When the food arrived, I poured hot sauce all over mine–Jerome did the same to his. Since he is Filipino, he never ate hot and spicy food. He drank a lot of beer to try and cool down, but beer just made the food hotter and caused tears to stream down his face. He got drunk! When I talked to my friend that had set me up, I told him to never call me again, and that his cousin was a mess!
To read more about Misty Blue please click here: http://uromed.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/misty-blue-foster-was-honest-and-open-about-her-disability-when-love-came/