Cancer sparks career change for Warner Robins woman

Rise and Shine: From Teacher to Nurse

A former Warner Robins teacher is making a career change after battling cancer.  

Crystal Wisecup was deemed cancer-free last year, but she still did not go back to teaching at the start of the new school year.

She has a pretty good reason, though. We met Wisecup about two years ago: 23-years-old, a first year teacher, and fighting for her life.

“I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had a 13 cm mass in between my heart and chest cavity,” explained Wisecup.

This time last year we brought you the great news she was in remission and back in the classroom at Thomson Middle school.

Now, a lot has changed.

“It's been growing into a mullet!” Crystal laughs talking about her recent hair growth.

She says she does not have a lot of free time these days, as she pulls textbooks and binders out one by one from her backpack.

These books, however, do not belong to her students. They’re for her.

“I decided to leave teaching and become an oncology nurse,” said Wisecup.

The teacher is back to being a student in nursing school.

“There's something that happens to you when you get diagnosed with cancer or a family member gets diagnosed,” said Wisecup. “You can't understand until you go through it.”

She is working at Georgia Bob’s while taking classes to save up for her studies. She says the restaurant played a special part in her treatment, eating their fried pickles after chemo.

Wisecup says since she has been in their place, she will be able to relate to patients on a more personal level.

“They will tell you, you know, the effects of chemo -- like you're going to lose your hair and you may not be able to work-- your physical symptoms. They don't tell you about the emotional trials that you go through,” said Wisecup.

With her new job, she will still be educating others, just in a different way. Her color-coded note cards and categorized binders still indicative of her teaching past.  

Wisecup believes all of her experiences have been preparing her for this, and maybe what she went through was for a reason.

“Things change in your life that causes you to go down different journeys,” she says. “This is just my new journey, so why not use my story to help others?”

Wisecup is working on some basic credits now and hopes to get into the Central Georgia Technical College nursing program in January.

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