http://www.curetoday.com/publications/extraordinary-healer/2019/extraordinary-healer-vol-13/hope-personified-my-tour-guide-on-my-path-to-being-a-cancer-survivor
Hope Personified: My Tour Guide on My Path to Being a Cancer Survivor

Lori Jaffe

“Ann Puglisi, RN, OCN, an oncology nurse at Kellogg Cancer Center in Evanston, Illinois, is a wonderful, compassionate person who changes my life every day by her very presence,” wrote Lori Jaffee.

Ann Puglisi, RN, OCN, oncology nurse for Dr. Gustavo Rodriguez at Kellogg Cancer Center in Evanston, Illinois, is a wonderful, compassionate person who changes my life every day by her very presence. When I met her — the first day I met Dr. Rodriguez to discuss my prognosis, surgery and the course ahead — she hugged me and told me we were going to be together for the next five years. I was flabbergasted and hated what she said to me. I hated what it represented: five years dealing with horrible, hateful, demonic, destructive cancer! I didn’t want any part of that!

I soon came to understand the very positive warmth and hope that those words carried. Ann personifies hope! I’ve known her for three years, and she is my path to being a survivor, every bit as much as my doctors are. She gives me a pep talk when I desperately need it, never lets me feel that I am bothering her (even if I am) and, even with my very quick-turnaround recurrence (less than a year), presents a positive path for me. Now, we’re looking at seven years together, and I aim to keep that promise!

Her kindness, understanding and compassion know no bounds. Her cheerful smile, along with a genuine concern, patience and two ears that really listen are heroic. Her knowledge, coupled with dedication to excellence, makes her the bright light in a scary building, even with its lovely plant-filled atrium. Ann’s understanding of and concern for my needs and feelings mean so much — every single time.

She has gotten me through chemo (every single week for months and months); heparin port flushes; Lovenox shots (I was terrible at doing them, even after two bouts!); very low blood cells and numbers; and my iffy prognoses. She makes it seem “normal” and acts as if my fears and worries are all fresh and deserving of her full attention, rather than old hat, even though she deals with so very many patients. Her knowledge of uterine cancer is vast, but equally important for me is her comprehension of my fears and feelings. I always feel validated, and her smile and hug make it all just a little bit better for that day — she gets it, she cares and she demonstrates it!

Cancer is a journey — many use that expression. Well, I do not like this “journey,” but I adore my tour guide, Ann. She is truly extraordinary, remarkable, uniquely special and deserves all the recognition she can get for all she contributes to so many, but especially to this one person: me! Ann was and continues to be my gift during cancer, always representing and offering hope. I adore her!

I will add that she leads a group of truly amazing, unique, hard-working chemo nurses who helped me immensely. Some were wonderful, and I asked to have them again and again; others were friendly, helpful, concerned and the “norm” that excels at NorthShore Kellogg in Evanston.

Teaching Moment:
Her kindness, understanding and compassion know no bounds. Her cheerful smile, along with a genuine concern, patience and two ears that really listen are heroic.

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