I can think of countless times that my oncology nurses have been there for me. One year the oncology floor provided an amazing Christmas for my entire family. I spent multiple holidays in 2014 in a bed on the oncology floor, celebrating with the amazing men and women of St. Vincent Oncology. I have a set of paper flowers still in my bedroom which I received when my blood counts were to have live flowers.
However, there is one nurse in particular I would like to talk about. Lindsey is not just a nurse in the chemotherapy room, she is also a friend. We have a bond, you see, we met not in a nurse patient setting but as two young women going through cervical cancer treatment. To set the stage a bit, I was going through Carbo/Taxol/Avastin during my first reoccurrence and at my second treatment one of the nurses approached me and told me that one of their own nursing staff had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. They asked if I would "mentor" her a bit since I had been through a diagnosis before and was in active treatment. It just so happened that many of our treatments overlapped and we were able to spend what could have been an isolated time together in our treatments. We were both going through aggressive treatments with opposite plans. I had aggressive chemotherapy treatment first and radiation/chemotherapy second and she had the reverse treatment plan. I use the term mentor loosely, Lindsey had a plethora of knowledge of her own due to the fact that she was an oncology nurse. I have spoke of Lindsey often and how difficult I think it must be for her, especially during treatment, knowing what cancer can do due to her job and having to receive treatment firsthand. It was very nice to have her there and to be able to have each other. Today we got to compare pictures of our hair growth compared to last year this time, so many little things that others don't understand.
We share not only a diagnosis but an oncologist, the amazing Dr. Callahan. We have mirroring stories in some ways and in other ways I hope our stories are never mirrored. I hope her cancer story is finished here. I hope she never has to cope with a recurrence. It is great to see her now every couple of weeks when I go in for treatment and to see her back to work and loving life.
As May is wrapping up, have you celebrated your oncology nurse yet this month? I challenge you, take the time and send a quick note of gratitude.