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Pivotal moments

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“I just remember my parents both coming to check me out of school. I was really scared because I thought I was in huge trouble—you know—because they never BOTH came to check me out like that. Then, I saw the tears in their eyes and I was told that I had cancer,” said my new-found friend, Delaney, who I met at a cancer camp in Vermont this weekend.

What Delaney experienced is called a pivotal moment.

“You see the word pivot in pivotal. That is because when something is pivotal, it is central, and everything related to the topic turns or depends on it. Pivotal means important, but it has the sense of centrality and turning.”, according to

Pivotal moments are those things that altered or changed the course of our life, for whatever reason God has planned. For some people, these events are very minimal until they later reflect on the past, while for others they are extremely sentimental and important immediately.

Buzzfeed lists 33 moments that are usually more important than you think….or pivotal. Among these are “opening your first paycheck, bearing witness to a turning point in history, driving alone for the first time, reveling in a great book, graduating from school, having an adult conversation with your parents, appreciating an animal, enjoying a great meal, visiting hallowed ground, taking a trip with your friends, experiencing disappointment, doing something by yourself, falling in love, communing with nature, getting engaged, doing something spontaneous, receiving an accolade, getting married, witnessing the birth of your child, accomplishing what you didn’t think you could, going on an ice cream date with your kid, attending the event of your dreams, enjoying a family vacation, going offline, succeeding at work, watching your parents interact with your child, celebrating anniversaries, giving to others, leaving a family home, completing your last day at work, making someone’s dreams come true, bringing family together, and appreciating the moment right now,” writes Mike Spohr.

Sometimes these types of things barely alter our lives and other times they make our plans do a complete 180. Sometimes they are even significant until we look back on them.

Whatever the case may be, pivotal moments alter our lives and are an important process in growing as a person. It’s all about the outlook you receive during or after they happen.

My own pivotal moment is actually, really a pivotal lifetime when you think about it.

When I was five, I was running around my living room and slipped and fell. For the next three days, I experience a bruising, soreness pain around the top of my inner thigh. Being a five year old, my mom had to tell me that it wasn’t okay to limp around holding myself at school from the pain, so she decided to take me to the doctor. The doctors ran X-rays and gave me a routine check-up, everything coming back clear and negative, but the mystery still remained.

I remember the exact room I was in at the Women’s and Children’s ER. Being surrounded by nurses, doctors, my mom, and my Gram, Dr. Boustany opened the door and began to have the conversation with my mom in a panic.

The blood tests from earlier that day came in at lunch, and my white blood cell count was completely shot. They knew it could be one of two things: A-Plastic Anemia, which is incurable, or Leukemia.

I was then rushed in an ambulance that night to Tulane. I wasn’t really aware of the severity of what was going on, though, I was just really mad that I had to go through this long car ride with my dead Video Now. Now I look back at that day as a day that changed my life.

The following day, a bone marrow biopsy confirmed I had cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Over the years, my pivotal moment was drawn out. Doctors’ visits all the time, frequent illness, and medications on medications on medications, which taught me that ultimately sometimes you have to suck it up and just do the things you don’t want to do.

When I turned seven, my mom told me about this camp my now late friend, Darien, went to. It’s called Camp Rap-A-Hope, a non-profit camp for kids ages 7-17 who have been diagnosed with cancer, whether they still be in treatment or have beat the rotten thing.

I wasn’t very outgoing as a smaller child– which has since also pivoted from just years of growing up– so I decided not to go. This began the pivot in my life of when I started to take risks. Once my friend, Darien, passed away I really didn’t have intentions on going. This time also changed my outlook on my own experience with cancer and made me consider how lucky I was and am.

The summer of my ninth year I decided to give it a try. My mom mentioned that two of my other close friends from treatment at Tulane had gone the past two years and it would be cool to reconnect with them.

This summer, I graduated from Camp Rap-A-Hope, but I didn’t say goodbye to it. It was more of a “see you later”.

At camp this summer we, Cabin 5 girls, were sitting around Horseback talking about our futures, dressed in the scrub pants provided to ride the horses. Naomi, one friend, talked about how she was going to be a nurse, like most of the counselors volunteering at the camp. I started to rattle on the same story I’d been telling since 4th grade, “I’m going to go to LSU Law School and become a lawyer.” We were sitting around talking about how comfortable the scrub pants were and how good we looked in them.

That’s when the thoughts hit me. Talking about the scrub pants and how much I like them and wished lawyers could wear them every day, I started to think about how a medical career had always been in the back of my mind, but I continuously told myself I was not smart enough or had other reasons why I couldn’t do that.

I then thought about how far I’ve come and how I could do it if I really set my mind to it. That day re-sparked my pivotal moment of having cancer and began anew.

I want to give back. I love the atmosphere—a weird feeling I get when going to the doctor, a sense of home almost.

I’ve decided my new path. I’m going to LSU in the fall where I will acquire a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and have aspirations to work at one of the four places that helped save my life and continue to still do so: Dr. Boustany’s office at Women’s and Children’s—now known as “Lafayette Pediatrics”—where it all began, the pediatric oncology department at Tulane Medical Research Center/ Tulane-Lakeside Hospital in New Orleans/Metairie, the St. Jude’s clinic in Baton Rouge where I briefly received treatment around the time Hurricane Katrina hit until they could move back to Tulane, or where I currently still receive treatment in addition to Dr. Boustany which is Dr. Morad’s office at Women’s and Children’s Kids’ Specialty Center, the pediatric oncology and hematology office.

One day, this dream will become a reality and I’m sure, at some point, will spark a new pivotal moment. It’s crazy to think how one minute you have such a structured plan for the way your life in going to go, and the next it’s a complete loss of everything that ever was for your true destiny to be figured out.

Bella Labruzzo (’17) described how she came to know God’s true love for her and how perfectly made in His image she was, and it only took one person to show her that. Labruzzo was facing struggles that made her feel as if she wasn’t enough. She was having a hard time finding what made herself happy rather than worrying what made other people happy. She faced a few bigger struggles as well as others and ultimately found herself trying to find something or someone to depend on to help carry her through her struggle.

She found comfort in a new friend, Janie Girouard. Because of her “beautiful, radiant spirit I was reminded of God’s love for me,” said Labruzzo.

Labruzzo said, “Janie loved me for me and not the problems I faced, and so did God. I came to grow stronger in my faith and have a better understanding of the beautiful person God had created me to be and that my sole purpose of being here was to reflect his grace and radiance.”

Labruzzo experienced a pivotal moment that strengthened her relationship with God and also her relationship with herself.

Mrs. Phillips, similarly, was in her senior year at LSU with a degree in Programming while she volunteered at a local church parish. She came to the realization that she couldn’t just sit in a desk all day working.

Her friend, Tim, was leaving his position with a church organization in New Orleans and knew she would be perfect for the job.

She found herself to be miserable, but she had already thrown out her old aspirations. She turned to God, praying He would send a sign to let her know what His plan for her was and what she needed to do and where she needed to be.

“There was a moment where I was just completely miserable and I was in my apartment. I had this stain-glass window that I was looking out of and all of a sudden the light shone through it. It was almost like a déjà vu, like I had seen this before. It was like God was allowing me to see this. This was His sign that I was where I needed to be, and I was finally at peace.”

Whether it be in a career path plan like Mrs. Phillips’ and my pivotal moment, whether it be a resonance with faith like with Bella, or whether it be even the simplest pivotal moment in our lives, they all show some sense of clarity.

With this clarity comes comfort, like Mrs. Phillips said, “It’s like God was allowing me to see this…..and I was finally at peace.”



The Student News Site of St. Thomas More Catholic High School
Pivotal moments