I did not realize how much I depended on my medical team until my second ovarian cancer diagnosis. During summer 2014, I spent a total of 70 days in the hospital. I spent 58 of them at MD Anderson.
I can honestly say that those days might have been some of the toughest days of my life. I have always been a happy person even in spite of my ovarian cancer journey, but that summer was physically and emotionally exhausting. I had a nasogastric (or NG) tube to help me breathe, underwent two surgeries and started chemotherapy again. I did not know when I would be going home, and every day I prayed it was that day. But I made it through that tough time, thanks to a lot of help from my family, friends -- and my nurses.
Coping with my second ovarian cancer diagnosis with help from nurses
Your nurses are with you 24/7 during a hospital stay. They are the ones you email if you have questions, and they are your lifeline to your doctor. They are constantly writing notes in your chart to update your doctors and are by your bedside at the press of the button.
I not only looked at my nurses as my caregivers, but I also felt as if they were some of my best friends. As I learned, having a great relationship with your nurses helps them know the best way to help take care of you. If it was time for one of my dreaded shots, I had certain nurses give them to me. If I was having a bad day, they made sure to get me out of the room. They were kind when I needed someone besides my family and friends to talk to, and they were stern when they needed to be.
I became a baby in the hospital, and I hate to admit but "I can't" became one of my go-to sayings. I had one nurse who sat beside me as I cried about everything I had been through and how I hated going through all of this again. She put her arm around me and shared a motivational story about her at church. It was all about "I can's" and not the "I cant's." Another nurse kindly brought me snacks from Chinatown that I had mentioned one day. One nurse gave me a sheet of inspirational Bible verses the day I finally got to go home.
They always listened to me. They always went above and beyond to help me and my family. I have never felt more loved and cared for than I did during those long days in the hospital.
Keeping in touch
Those nurses are still some of my best friends. We keep in touch through social media and text messages. On Christmas, they were some of the first ones to wish me a Merry Christmas!
Every month when I return to MD Anderson for my follow-up appointments, I stop by the floor to say hey and give them an update on my treatment. I don't always get to see every nurse when I visit because of their schedules, but when I do see them, we always take a picture together. A few words that come to mind when I look at my pictures with my nurses -- kind, loving, strong, honest and incredible. They are one of the reasons I am able to look back at such a hard time and smile.
I cannot say it enough, but thank you to the nurses who took care of me and became some of my best friends. Thank you to all the other nurses out there providing care for others when they are unable to care for themselves. Your job does not go unnoticed.