SAN DIEGO — The path for Josue Ramos started out on a straight line.
After graduating from Carlsbad High School 10 years ago, the then 18-year-old had plans to join the military. Graduating and then serving were things he was really looking forward to.
“It was a something that I really wanted to do,” Ramos said to FOX 5. “It was a big deal. My family comes from Mexico, we have this drive.”
Everything was set up for the move, until his life took an unexpected turn senior year: he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“I kind of knew something was going on,” Ramos recalled. “I was vomiting once a month and then it got progressively worse.”
The brain tumor was discovered after Ramos’ mom took him to the emergency room. Dr. Sanjay Ghosh, his surgeon, said they caught it just in time to save his life. Ramos was able to undergo an emergency surgery to remove the tumor.
“If this was not treated in a timely manner, he could have conceivably passed away in a couple of weeks,” Ghosh explained to FOX 5.
The surgery and subsequent treatment kept him bed-bound for months. He even had to learn how to walk again.
While he was in recovery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, his classmates were able to graduate. Ramos would have missed out from the ceremony, until family, friends and the care team at Scripps stepped in.
Ramos ended up receiving his diploma from his hospital bed, with family all in attendance as well as his high school principal dressed in the ceremonial robe.
“They did a lot of work in the backend to like get people here to do a graduation for me,” Ramos said. ” I felt really loved it was awesome.”
That moment left a lasting impression on Ramos: not only was he determined to make a full recovery, but he wanted to use his experience to help others.
“At that point I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare. It seemed like it was just right for me,” he said. “This was what I want to do I want to help people through this traumatic time.”
Now, he’s back at Scripps La Jolla working as a respiratory therapist. As he helps patients, he knows exactly how many of them are feeling in the very hospital where he fought for his life 10 years ago.
“It took a while for me to get over the fact that this is where something traumatic happened to me, but it was something that I wanted to do,” said Ramos.
Dr. Ghosh and Ramos recently reunited for the first time since he was a patient about a decade ago. While Ramos’ path started on a straight line, his unforeseen condition ultimately brought him right where he needed to be.
“Life is very precious,” he said, “don’t take anything for granted.”