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Thursday, May 28, 2015

I stumbled across this quote a couple of weeks ago as I was reading about Oncology Nursing Month, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since:

“When you’re a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life, or a life will touch yours.” (Author unknown)

The author says that every day, a nurse will touch a life—that’s 365 lives a year. Frankly though, I think the author was being modest.

All this month as part of our #ThankANurse campaign, we asked our followers for stories, moments and instances where they were thankful for the nurses in their lives, and we were touched at reading the heartfelt words of gratitude and admiration that patients had to say about their nurses. More than that, we were astounded by the number of people who remarked on the powerful effect that their nurses had upon them and their treatment.

We decided to take a few of these stories, and share them with all of you; because whether you’re a nurse or a patient it’s always important to see how much a person’s actions can touch someone else’s life:

“There wasn’t a visit that went by without a kind word, smile, pillow or two and a warm blanket to let me know they were here to help me all the way. Even when at home, the calls would come to find out how I was doing—words like, ‘Just call to see if you need anything, how you’re doing.’” – Joan M.

"My sister, a nurse, has been my unwavering support this past year in treatments and healing during my second breast cancer diagnosis.” – Terri C.

“There was one nurse that stands out the most, the one who took the time to talk with me despite her own painful circumstances. Unbeknownst to me her own sister was dealing with cancer too. This nurse took the time to give me moral support and encouragement, offering her assistance, her time while walking daily on their own battle. Even after her own sisters death, I received yet another card of encouragement and loving words telling me she was available if I needed to talk, and also offered her prayers and thoughts. My heart was changed that day and to this day my cancer is not a personal journey any more, but a journey to use to reach out and touch others’ lives; to encourage and support others as they walk roads of unknowness. This is medicine to us all, giving and receiving wrapped up in one.”

“My nurses, Tammy and Susan, were so supportive in seeing me through my chemo treatments for breast cancer. They helped me every step of the way, from explaining exactly what would happen to prepare me (even though Tammy was embarrassed to realize after the fact that she forgot to warn me that “Red Devil” chemo could color my urine – we laughed about that at my second treatment), to being there during treatments, to checking up on me between treatments and still following me in my survivorship. Nobody wants to spend hours having chemo in an infusion room, but our motto was that as long as you had to be there, you might as well have some laughs – and we did.” – Marie C.

“We never know where our lives will take us, or who we will be talking with, but the one thing we can know is that we can leave this world a richer place by remembering we were never alone; when we share ourselves, a hug, a kind word or two, our time and our lives with another! Thank you to all my wonderful nurses!”

“Huntington Hospital Cancer Center of Pasadena, CA Nurse Navigator Saskia De Koomen showed up while I was drugged in the hospital following my radical hysterectomy for Stage 4 uterine cancer. She kept showing up and calling me until I figured out that she was stalking me to help me get through the worst times of my life. Not only was she there at every stage and critical time, she assembled a team of specialists: “appearance”, diet/nutrition, symptoms management, mindfulness, yoga. Even input as to choosing a Radiation Oncologist. Although I am currently NED, I continue to provide Saskia with copies of all of my medical updates from every imaginable medical discipline (who knew I would have so many specialists!). She continues to be a trusted and valuable member of my “survival team” as I continue this journey.” – Denise D.

To all the angels out there working in hospitals, CSC and your patients offer you our sincerest thanks during this Oncology Nursing Month. Thank you for making sure that no one experiences cancer alone.