Our little blue eyes
Elijah showing his enthusiasm about the idea of going up very high.
Isaac contemplating the ferris wheel.
Our little blue eyes
This is a post by a young woman I taught for a year in St. Charles, Minnesota. She has asked that I not use her name or photo. She grew up in St. Charles, went to nursing school in LaCrosse, moved to Davenport, IA for my first and current oncology nursing job. She will be moving back to the Rochester area to work at Mayo as an oncology nurse in July. She also went to school, St. Charles, with Veronica's big sister English.
The dictionary can define the words “oncology” and “nurse.” But what it cannot define is the term oncology nurse. No one can, unless you are an oncology nurse yourself, which in fact, is exactly what I am.
Everyone always asks me why:
My answer to those people is simply: it is my dream, it is my passion. They still don’t understand. They still don’t understand that someone has to do the job, someone has to be the nurse taking care of their loved ones from the time they are diagnosed with such a cruel disease, from the day when they wake up crying because all their hair fell out overnight, from the time they can’t stop throwing up because of the “miracle” medicine doctors and nurses call chemotherapy, from the time they hear the words, “you are in remission” and “I am sorry, but we have exhausted all our options. There is nothing else we can do for you.”
Caring for those people affected by cancer is my dream and my passion. I am perfectly okay with death and with a new life. I would be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that it was hard. That I find myself tearing up sitting at the desk charting, sitting in my patients room listen to them talk about their faith in God, their hatred toward God, and while I am hugging their loved ones as they just took their last breath.
It is hard. Cancer sucks. Cancer is not fair. No one should have to go through what cancer patients go through. No one should have to be told they have cancer. Unfortunately, we have not come to find a cure for every type of cancer. No “miracle” pill that will rid the body of cancer. Don’t get me wrong, there are many success stories and many cancer survivors. Many people have fought this disease and have won. I praise and admire those individuals. They are strong, determined, faithful, stubborn, and appreciative. And I can only hope that each day, there are more and more survivors.
Because cancer is every evolving and changing, it makes it so much harder to find a cure for EVERY type of cancer possible. Which in turns makes it even harder to find a cure, which makes it even harder for people to continue to try to find hope in light of their diagnosis.
Despite the hardships of caring for those affected by cancer, there is an uncountable number of positive things which remind me every day why I chose this career, this profession, this specialty.
My dream and my passion to be in oncology nurse stems from the fact that I learn more from my cancer patients every day than I can from any other person I know. They teach me to literally live life to the fullest, do not take anything for granted, accomplish your dreams, push yourself to be a better person, and do not live with regret. They show me that even when things are bad and they are on their last few days, they still smile, they still cry, they still laugh, they still rejoice with their loved ones, and they still have a sense of humor.
I gain a sense of comfort knowing that I am that person that makes the patient comfortable during their last few days, to allow them to be anxiety and pain free. I gain a sense of comfort knowing that I am that person that makes sure the family gets their rest, gets their nourishment, and gets to be at the patient’s bedside during the final moments in order to embrace the memories of the patient.
I was once told by a patient’s family that I was an angel sent from God to care for their father. I have not yet come to agree with that statement, however, I do agree with the fact that it does take a special person to care for oncology patients….and despite the frequent “why” question I get from many people, I am that person.