In a previous column I wrote about how important it is to find an empathetic healthcare staff and oncologist. Healthcare staff members who go unnoticed too many times are the amazing nurses. My nurses, whether in clinic, during chemo, or in the hospitals, were a major part of my healing and recovery. This is National Nurses Week 2017, so I thought it would be fitting to pay homage to all the reasons nurses who mean so much to me, and the role they played during my journey to recovery and even after.
Dear nurses who were present during my cancer treatment,
Thank you for holding all the pieces together. You often work long hours, but still find a way to wear funky socks and rock nurse clogs like no other. Thank you for playing an extremely crucial part in my recovery, and caring about me from the moment we met.
Reassuring me that I was not a cancer patient when I left the hospital parking lot made a world a difference in how I viewed myself. Thank you for not just being my nurse, but for being my lifelong friend. You helped make my appointments a little less stressful and scary. Knowing that I’ll be seeing a “friend” gives me something to look forward to. When it comes to “scanxiety” and the nerves I rack up with all my labs, this source of comfort is amazing. You have an extremely special gift in getting to know patients one on one. I’m so incredibly grateful for the amazing team of nurses I have, whether it was my regular biweekly team, or the ones I saw occasionally. You always know how to make my visit just a little bit brighter.
I am very grateful you spent the time to get to know me. I am so thankful for your attentiveness and your ability to piece together everything. Thank you for knowing when to make my oncologist aware of any odd things you catch during our time together.
Thank you for advocating for me when I didn’t know advocating needed to be done. The insurance referrals, the pharmacy fills and even the recommendation letters. I watched you fill out those forms and wait on hold for more minutes than any nurse should have to listen to that classical music. I watched you stand there, after you had been standing on your feet all day, to make sure I would be covered to get the care that I needed.
I was very moved when you surprised me with the biggest sunflower balloon you could find, and was touched that you took the time to decorate my “chemo throne” on the last day of my treatment. I also will never forget the fact that you remembered I was allergic to Tegaderm, and always making a makeshift tape cover for my port so we could still keep it sanitary. Thank you to the hospital nurses who understood this and didn’t make me feel silly for needing to use tape.
Thank you to the nurses who weren’t “assigned” to my case, but still cared and put effort into helping me with what I needed in that moment. Especially those of you who were my nurses while I was hospitalized. I know those shifts are long, and you were watching over an entire floor of patients. I apologize for being cranky when you had to wake me up at 3 a.m. for blood draws. I also appreciate the silliness and willingness to laugh with me. Those moments in the hospital during my emboli were some of the scariest, and I’ll never forget blowing up the gloves and playing the pranks. (Actually, I might forget (chemo brain), but I have it all on film!)
Lastly, thank you for your all-around care. You made my treatment so much less painful and scary and frankly, I’m not sure how the healthcare system would function without you.
I’m sorry that sometimes your role as a nurse is diminished, or looked down upon in our society. That’s why I hope to emphasize and reassure you that without you, my experience would have been much scarier and filled with less smiles. I needed you, and I appreciate your ability and willingness to be there for me more than you can ever know.
Thank you for being you.
Everything’s gunna be okay.
Love and light,
Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.