by Jamie Muse Brown, NAHCA Contributor

I didn’t grow up like any other ordinary child. I have been through heartache after heartache and I could go on and list all of them, but there is one story I have to tell. This story shaped who I am as a person and hopefully it can shed some light on a few dark areas in people’s lives. This is my story. 
My life truly began when I turned seventeen. I met the guy. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t exactly agree with me. She denied the approval of my marriage to this guy and in spite of her I married him two days after my eighteenth birthday. Obviously, that was not my best move, I admit, but no one can change the past.
I ignored every red flag because I was blinded by my love for him. I ignored my friends not accepting the relationship, ignored my parents not accepting it, and I ignored his tone of voice anytime I would go out by myself. I ignored everything. 
I like to believe I ignored these signs because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the three amazing children that call me mom. Eventually, I woke up from the life that I was trying so desperately to pretend was okay. I separated from my husband and divorced him in March of 2006. I took my children and made my way back to my parents. 
Although, I love my parents, I didn’t want to live with them forever, so I went out and got my GED. I make it sound like it was easy, but it wasn’t. I worked my ass off everyday to give my children a better support system than I had. After receiving my GED, I realized I wanted more. More specifically, I wanted to be a CNA. I never believed in myself until I saw the words “YOU PASSED” on my test screen. This was just the beginning. 
I still needed some sort of income for my kids and I made my way towards massage therapy. An institution that was forty-five minutes away, but it was perfect because it allowed me to be home just in time to watch my children step off the bus. I spent what time I could with them until I had to make my way towards the actual income. 
I worked overnight at a juvenile facility and going into it I didn’t realize I would love it as much as I did. I still reminisce on those days. While still being employed at the juvenile facility, I completed my schooling for massage therapy and got a job at a chiropractor facility. So, I was balancing two jobs and no sleep, while still making time for my children. It was hard but it was worth it. 
To make a long story short, I moved out of my parents with my two jobs and my kids. I quit working at the juvenile facility and began working at a rehab. Eventually, massage therapy wore my hands out and the rehab just didn’t provide with enough work. I had to move back in with my parents, but this time I had no job. I thought what else could I do except go back to school, right? 
This is where CNA comes in. I got a job a little distance away and it wasn’t what I expected, but after one specific night of confrontation with the boss, I worked every night to provide for my family the best I could. I learned everything from giving showers to removing catheters. I made connections and allowed myself to really go through this process and before I knew it, I had thirteen clients to myself, but it didn’t last long and I was unemployed yet again. 
I nearly gave up trying, but I remembered everything happens for a reason and not even a day later I had gotten another job. This gave me the ability to grow. I learned more and more each day and worked my way up the ranks. I went from a med tech to an enrichment coordinator. I felt like maybe my life was coming together despite the difficulties. I learned and lived through too much to be negative about my whole experience. I tried a few different second jobs, but none of them really felt like me. I ended up getting an offer to be Administrator of a home health company that was going to open, but I was confused because I had never worked in the home healthcare field. I thought they were crazy, but it really was me they wanted. Chelsea Place Senior Care wanted me. A single mom of three with stains on her shirt from residents and a messy bun from having no time to fix it. 
I moved forward with this opportunity and unbeknownst to me I had know idea how hard it would be. I struggled a lot on how to write policies and procedures, Emergency Management Plan and other material I needed to have for the company. But I worked hard everyday on them I reached out to people I new in the business to give me pointers, I watched youtube videos, read books so many books. Each day It got a little easier, I hired employees, gained clients, made mistakes but also fixed them. In the first 6 months we were projecting an annualized revenue of $400k. Now six months later I’m confident about most my knowledge and still learn every day. We’ve got 30 plus employees even more clients, and we are going on our one year anniversary. Being a CNA is a hard job but so rewarding and the best decision I have ever made.