I was invited to a wonderful send off reception for Cynthia Powell M.D. at Orlando Health this week.  She is moving to Vanderbilt Health to develop their population health program. Dr. Powell is one of the most innovative healthcare leaders I know, who not only thinks of fantastic ways to change the delivery of care, but also knows how to bring a team together to make it happen.  She has, and continues to be, an inspirational mentor to me and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next in her new role.

As I left the event, I had so many mixed feelings.  I miss the people and work that I used to do – the successes and the failures, the breakthroughs and the frustrations, and most importantly, the focus on our patients and their families.  I practically grew up at Orlando Health, and to see my friends and colleagues again was incredible.

But due to my debilitating fatigue after breast cancer treatment, that phase of my life is over.  I can no longer run cancer center operations, participate as an executive in a large healthcare organization, stay late to greet the night shift and come in early to strategize with the oncologists.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining.  Although I battle with my energy level (or lack of one), and get frustrated with what I can and can’t accomplish in a day,  I am beginning to accept where I am.  I am free from cancer, and which is truly a blessing and that blessing was given to me by the team I worked beside for years.  And because of this gift,  I have also been given the opportunity to look at my career – and my life – differently. So, forever the innovator, I am in the process of innovating my own career.  I bristle a bit when people say I am  “retired” – I am not ready for that! I want to participate in the field of healthcare delivery, but I know I need to participate in a new and unique way.

A few months ago, the team at Florida Health Innovators gave me the opportunity to try something new. I joined the team as their blogger, which has introduced me to a whole new group of people who are excited about the changes in healthcare.  I am learning to embrace the significant changes that were forced upon me, and my desire is that those in healthcare do the same with the significant changes happening in the industry.  In my new role,  I commit to spotlighting those leaders in healthcare delivery innovation, just as I commit to innovating me!

“How can you know what you are capable of if you don’t embrace the unknown?” – Esmeralda Santiago