Driving the Camel: Adventures of a Child Life Specialist

What happens when a child life specialist becomes the patient? Learn how Deb Vilas’ uses her child life tools to cope with her breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and remission!



I have always thought of life as a spiral. We grow whether we want to or not, but not necessarily in a linear fashion. We encounter our unresolved issues again and again, and yet we develop at each turn, so that our challenges never look exactly the same to us as they did before. Sometimes, we might not even recognize them for what they are, our repeated opportunities to be whole, healed despite all of our woundedness.

My cancer diagnosis in 2013 was one such turn. It caught me unaware, and yet it provided me with opportunities to revisit my life and stretch beyond my comfort zone in ways I never could have imagined.  A writing program for cancer patients provided me with the structure to revisit my career as a child life specialist, mining memories for wonderful stories that serve to inspire and connect. These stories of the…

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