Nurse at VA Palo Alto Salutes Packard Children's Hospital for Being "Like a Second Home to Me"

<0> Care teams throughout hospital help Misty Blue Foster overcome many personal and medical obstacles </0>

Nurse at VA Palo Alto Salutes Packard Children's Hospital for Being "Like a Second Home to Me"

<0> Lucile Packard Children’s HospitalRobert Dicks, 650-497-8364 (Media)orVA Palo Alto Health Care SystemJonathan Friedman, 650-858-3925 (Media) </0>

When you hear the story of Misty Blue Foster, a 27-year-old Licensed Vocational Nurse at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, you start to wonder how she became so successful in her career and life.

She was born to a drug-addicted single mom who died when Misty was five. She entered life with birth defects of and . She has been homeless and has grown up around drugs and gangs. She spent 14 very tough years in foster care. She has endured more than 20 major surgeries.

But through all these personal and medical obstacles, Misty found comfort and family at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where care teams throughout the hospital inspired her, guided her and provided the passion for her career as a nurse.

“Packard Children’s has been so important to help me become who I am,” said Misty, whose rough home life included being forced to use a peanut butter jar to catch fluid from a urinary catheter while also being punished for incontinence. “It really has been like a second home to me.”

Now-retired Petie Cote, CNA, remembers caring for Misty as a baby and throughout childhood. “She was quite a challenge back then, a very tough little girl who was not in a loving environment,” recalled Cote, who, along with her husband, gave Misty away at her 2006 wedding. “Our staff worked hard to not just take care of her many medical issues, but to let her know we cared about her and that she was important to us.”

The seemingly endless operations to treat Misty’s birth defects included abdominal surgeries, orthopedic, urologic and reconstructive surgeries, and many other procedures. Her most recent surgery was a summer 2012 abdominal/urological reconstruction and repair led by William Kennedy, MD. In 2001, she had a double spinal fusion led by orthopedic surgeons Lawrence Rinsky, MD, and James Gamble, MD. Said Kennedy, who was proudly in the audience when Misty gave a motivational and educational speech at an international conference in Pittsburgh, “It’s has been very gratifying to help Misty pursue her dream of being a nurse without her medical condition getting in the way.”

“Dr. Kennedy and all the medical specialties teams have been awesome, and they’ve been supportive of everything I’ve tried to do to in my life,” said Misty, who also saluted the care of Gary Hartman, MD; John Kerner, MD; Peter Lorenz, MD; and many others.

Sheila Brunner, CCLS, recreation therapy and child life specialist, is not surprised that Misty overcame her many challenges and found a way to live independently, have a career, get married and even become a caregiver like her heroes. “We helped provide so many of the things she could not get at home,” said Brunner, who noted that Misty was never known as a complainer. “Now, Misty is there for people in their time of need the way we were for her.”

She doesn’t shy away from a demanding schedule of both school and work, and the 49er fan is now studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing while still working as an LVN at the VA. Did we also mention that she’s traveled to Australia, England, Iceland and Spain to inspire other young people through her story of hope?

In the history of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Misty will always be remembered as a brave little girl who touched everyone with her courageous battle to overcome a desperate start in life. As Misty says on her , “You can’t always control what you are given in life, but you can control what you do with it.”

Now, as a nurse assisting our nation’s veterans, Misty is paying forward the inspirational care she received at Packard Children’s. Hers is a life and career that brings great pride to the entire staff. Retired nurse Sandy Sentivany-Collins, RN, summed these feelings up. “Misty has overcome so many difficulties. She has always been a fighter and is remarkable beyond words. The fact that all of us at the hospital were able to be a family to her, and to touch her and guide her in life, makes us very thrilled.”