Personal Reflections of a Former Patient
I was asked to write about what it is like to work with children with cancer.
I thought this was going to be an easy task, but instead it has turned out to be most difficult.
How can I put into words the way kids make me feel and how can I explain the challenges they place before my path.
The children and the families that I work with are very special to me.
Every day they teach me about life and how to live it.
They come in with smiles and jokes and offer a park of themselves.
Some nurses find this difficult because we are taught in nursing school not to get too close to the patients.
In theory this may work, but in reality it is just not possible.
These kids become my buddies and their parents become my friends.
I am there when there is good news to share as well as the bad.
I have learned quickly when to give a hug or to just lend my ear.
These parents come to me anxious and stressed and I have to reassure them that they have the strength to get through this, and, that one day this will just become part of their daily routine.
People always ask me how I work with these children every day.
I always hesitate to answer because my response is not simple.
It is because of my own experience with cancer when I was 16.
But most of all it is because of the care that I received while I was undergoing treatment from Dr. Jayabose and Ginny.
They were there for me during my treatment and always knew when to laugh or to just give a hug.
I now feel it is my turn to give back the same kind of care that I received.
I have been doing this now for over a year.
My desire and drive comes from the kids themselves, as well as from my own experience.
Their smiles keep me going, their hugs keep me warm, and their laughter can be heard a mile away.
I can always count on them, because somehow they manage to find the strength to ride the bike around the hospital floor, the energy to go to basketball practice after 8 hours of chemo, and the happiness to give us a smile.
One little girl recently made it clear to me about why I do this and how it makes me feel, when she looked at me with a big smile and said, "But who is my friend...you."
CCRF Pediatric Oncology Nurse and Former Patient