Over the years, I have had family members with cancer and the closest being my dad- a kind, gentle, giant, who passed at a young age of 69 from lung cancer. I have been active in the American Cancer in many different positions including volunteer, board member, Nurse of Hope, and back to full circle. I was on a cancer committee years ago before I even had breast cancer and I remain active in many aspects of cancer services including working with patients now and doing education and even a few years back, working with Hospice.
I always get the same questions when they learn I am a nurse and what I do. They always ask,isn't that depressing, and how can you do that kind of work? My answer through all those experiences and years is the same, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had. It is about quality and care and one on one time and family and directly impacting the life of that family and patient and giving them the best they can have.
I won't say that there aren't challenges as I have cried with a family and listened to anger, denial, bargaining, and acceptance. Heck, I went through some of those stages myself! I have also lived with the fear of recurrence that pops in once in awhile just to make sure I am still paying attention. I see someone that is going through a second recurrence or metastasis to another area and thank God for each day I can smile and go on living my life to the fullest. Each ache and pain takes on new meaning and you do sit and wonder when to jump on a symptom or when to just let it slide for awhile and see what happens. My medical team has been awesome on that one and very patient and caring. As a medical team member, I have to validate those patients concerns too.
I want as a nurse to make each visit that you have to be here, as thorough and caring as I can. I want you to see I do care and am willing to help in anyway you might need. So many of our patients ask for so little and just a small sit down, hold a hand, and listen may be the most therapeutic thing I can do. We celebrate birthdays and silly days with our patients and also hug and hold on the tough days. I go home fulfilled that in some small way I may have impacted your day in a positive way. I treat you as I would a family member. You will be treated as I would my mother or sister or father or brother. You are here for help and I plan to provide that help in any way I can. I share my office space with a social worker and between the two of us, we identify those people that may need a little extra help right now and work as a team to get it. There are alot of people that pass this threshold and whether you are a patient, friend or family member, we will be here smiling, accepting and with open arms to help you