Finding a New Friend Through Cancer
October 08, 2016 – Mack and Lacinda Frazier
Helping Me "Take Charge" After Cancer
October 01, 2016 – Jim Berrey
My Incomparable Oncology Nurse, Lilia
October 02, 2016 – Luke G. Conley III
Compassionate Cancer Care That Began With a Hug
September 19, 2016 – John G. Moisan
A Mother's Lifeline: An Amazing Oncology Nurse
September 17, 2016 – Lindsay Querin
A Lighthouse in the Storm of Cancer
September 11, 2016 – Myra Katsuki
My Extraordinary Healer Before and After Cancer Treatment
September 10, 2016 – Larinda Conrad
Finding an Unexpected Friend Through Breast Cancer
September 05, 2016 – Diane Makrinos
Good Karma From My Oncology Nurse, a Kindred Spirit
September 04, 2016 – Mary Ann Kurpinski (patient) and Linda Nabozny (sister)
My Letter to Nancy, an Extraordinary Oncology Nurse
September 03, 2016 – Shelli Greenland
The Oncology Nurse With the Pale Pink Booklet
August 28, 2016 – Tammy Wilsford
With Cancer, It's Either Laugh or Cry
August 28, 2016 – Melissa (Missy) Grace
Ray's Oncology Nurse: His Sunshine and Guardian Angel
August 20, 2016 – Raymond Dziolowski
Our Pediatric Oncology Superhero
August 21, 2016 – Glen Jusczyk on behalf of Malia Jusczyk
Our Extraordinary Home Link to the Oncologist
August 14, 2016 – Susan B. Whigham
Abby's Oncology Nurse: A Gift of Love to Our Family
August 14, 2016 – Steven Oliver
More Than Just a Cancer Nurse: Mel's Angel on Earth
August 08, 2016 – Aggie Higginbotham
A Grateful Daughter: How One Oncology Nurse Made All the Difference
August 06, 2016 – Darlene C. Terroni
Mom's Oncology Nurse: A True Lifesaver
July 31, 2016 – Cassidy Poske, daughter of Christi Poske
A Loyal Friendship Conquers Cancer's Boundaries
July 30, 2016 – Donna Clark, RN, BSN, OCN
One of the Quiet Oncology Heroes
July 24, 2016 – Lisa Barnes
My Personal Cancer Warrior
July 24, 2016 – Rosemary E. Manbachi, CRNP
A Loving and Compassionate Oncology Nurse
July 18, 2016 – Revathi Suppiah, MD
Behind the Scenes: Quietly Making Oncology Patients' Hopes a Reality
July 16, 2016 – David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH
Holding Our Mission -- and Her Oncology Patients -- in Her Heart
July 10, 2016 – Melissa Andres, BSN, RN, OCN
On the Frontlines, Advocating for Every Child With Cancer
July 04, 2016 – Daniel W. Lee, MD
My Oncology Nurse: A Shining Star of Hope
July 03, 2016 – Jessie M. Turner
An Oncology Nurse's Perseverance to Dig Deeper
July 02, 2016 – Catherine Hugues
Just an Oncology Nurse? Not At All
June 25, 2016 – Nina Garkavi
My Oncology Nurse and Lifesaver
June 26, 2016 – Mallory Turchi
A Healer for the Heart and Soul Throughout My Cancer Journey
June 12, 2016 – Jessica Bembry, RN, BSN, OCN and Sissy Smith
An Oncology Nurse With a Million Dollar Smile and Priceless Heart
June 11, 2016 – Brandi Brethour
Making a Long-Term Commitment to Pediatric Patients: An Interview With Diana Gordon
May 29, 2016 – DIANA GORDON, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON
A Tireless Advocate for Children With Cancer and a Beacon of Hope
May 28, 2016 – Julie Blatt, MD
Advocating for Patients With Cancer, Near and Far
May 31, 2016 – Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA
An Extraordinary Healer and So Much More
May 16, 2016 – Lisa Chapman
The Joy of Caring: An Interview With Extraordinary Healer Winner Lynne Malestic
May 22, 2016 – Lynne Malestic, RN
Blending the Art and Skill of Oncology Nursing With Boundless Compassion
May 21, 2016 – Cera Stanford, BSN, RN, PHN, NE-BC, HACP
Finding a New Friend Through Cancer
October 08, 2016 – Mack and Lacinda Frazier
Helping Me "Take Charge" After Cancer
October 01, 2016 – Jim Berrey
My Incomparable Oncology Nurse, Lilia
October 02, 2016 – Luke G. Conley III
Compassionate Cancer Care That Began With a Hug
September 19, 2016 – John G. Moisan
A Mother's Lifeline: An Amazing Oncology Nurse
September 17, 2016 – Lindsay Querin
A Lighthouse in the Storm of Cancer
September 11, 2016 – Myra Katsuki
My Extraordinary Healer Before and After Cancer Treatment
September 10, 2016 – Larinda Conrad
Finding an Unexpected Friend Through Breast Cancer
September 05, 2016 – Diane Makrinos
Good Karma From My Oncology Nurse, a Kindred Spirit
September 04, 2016 – Mary Ann Kurpinski (patient) and Linda Nabozny (sister)
My Letter to Nancy, an Extraordinary Oncology Nurse
September 03, 2016 – Shelli Greenland
Currently Viewing
The Oncology Nurse With the Pale Pink Booklet
August 28, 2016 – Tammy Wilsford
Ray's Oncology Nurse: His Sunshine and Guardian Angel
August 20, 2016 – Raymond Dziolowski
Our Pediatric Oncology Superhero
August 21, 2016 – Glen Jusczyk on behalf of Malia Jusczyk
Our Extraordinary Home Link to the Oncologist
August 14, 2016 – Susan B. Whigham
Abby's Oncology Nurse: A Gift of Love to Our Family
August 14, 2016 – Steven Oliver
More Than Just a Cancer Nurse: Mel's Angel on Earth
August 08, 2016 – Aggie Higginbotham
A Grateful Daughter: How One Oncology Nurse Made All the Difference
August 06, 2016 – Darlene C. Terroni
Mom's Oncology Nurse: A True Lifesaver
July 31, 2016 – Cassidy Poske, daughter of Christi Poske
A Loyal Friendship Conquers Cancer's Boundaries
July 30, 2016 – Donna Clark, RN, BSN, OCN
One of the Quiet Oncology Heroes
July 24, 2016 – Lisa Barnes
My Personal Cancer Warrior
July 24, 2016 – Rosemary E. Manbachi, CRNP
A Loving and Compassionate Oncology Nurse
July 18, 2016 – Revathi Suppiah, MD
Behind the Scenes: Quietly Making Oncology Patients' Hopes a Reality
July 16, 2016 – David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH
Holding Our Mission -- and Her Oncology Patients -- in Her Heart
July 10, 2016 – Melissa Andres, BSN, RN, OCN
On the Frontlines, Advocating for Every Child With Cancer
July 04, 2016 – Daniel W. Lee, MD
My Oncology Nurse: A Shining Star of Hope
July 03, 2016 – Jessie M. Turner
An Oncology Nurse's Perseverance to Dig Deeper
July 02, 2016 – Catherine Hugues
Just an Oncology Nurse? Not At All
June 25, 2016 – Nina Garkavi
My Oncology Nurse and Lifesaver
June 26, 2016 – Mallory Turchi
A Healer for the Heart and Soul Throughout My Cancer Journey
June 12, 2016 – Jessica Bembry, RN, BSN, OCN and Sissy Smith
An Oncology Nurse With a Million Dollar Smile and Priceless Heart
June 11, 2016 – Brandi Brethour
Making a Long-Term Commitment to Pediatric Patients: An Interview With Diana Gordon
May 29, 2016 – DIANA GORDON, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON
A Tireless Advocate for Children With Cancer and a Beacon of Hope
May 28, 2016 – Julie Blatt, MD
Advocating for Patients With Cancer, Near and Far
May 31, 2016 – Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA
An Extraordinary Healer and So Much More
May 16, 2016 – Lisa Chapman
The Joy of Caring: An Interview With Extraordinary Healer Winner Lynne Malestic
May 22, 2016 – Lynne Malestic, RN
Blending the Art and Skill of Oncology Nursing With Boundless Compassion
May 21, 2016 – Cera Stanford, BSN, RN, PHN, NE-BC, HACP

The Oncology Nurse With the Pale Pink Booklet

An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring Lisa Craven, RN [ Carolina Center of Gynecologic Oncology in Charleston, South Carolina ]
BY Tammy Wilsford
PUBLISHED August 28, 2016
Tammy Wilsford and Lisa Craven, RN PHOTO BY JULIE G. ROWE
Tammy Wilsford and Lisa Craven, RN PHOTO BY JULIE G. ROWE
I remember the very first time that I met Lisa. I was starting my journey on the cancer rollercoaster and was attending my “orientation” appointment … the appointment where one receives the “how to,” “what to expect” and “next steps” that surround the start of the journey of chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation after a cancer diagnosis.

Lisa walked into the room with a pale pink booklet and sat down at the desk with my husband and me to map out what was coming next ... my first chemo appointment, the laundry list of medications to mitigate the chemo side effects, etc. I distinctly remember how calm and patient and thorough she was at that appointment, as I sat in disbelief at how my life was dramatically changing right before my eyes. It was evident that she was a professional and was fully equipped to handle any emotions, questions or concerns that I might have. She wrote everything down, talked slowly and made sure that I understood everything (as best I could at that point). I left that appointment overwhelmed but armed with the information and tools necessary to take the first steps down the road to my cancer treatment.

Shortly after that first appointment, I was hospitalized … several times. Over a period of about five months, I was admitted to the hospital four or five different times from complications of both the chemotherapy and the cancer itself. It was a period of time that has burned memories into my psyche: memories of pain, fear, sorrow, helplessness and hopelessness. It was during one of those stays that, after being moved to the cancer ward from the cardiac tower, the door to my room overlooking an interior courtyard of grey concrete and dark skies opened, and in walked sunshine; it was Lisa. She was working a shift at the hospital that weekend. I couldn’t have been happier to see someone. The mere presence of her, knowing that she was there if I needed her and that she knew me and my circumstances specifically, made me feel safe, cared for and comforted in a way that no other person could at that moment in time.

With the help of modern medicine and my wonderful oncologist, my days of hospitalization are behind me, for now. Despite that, my visits to my doctor’s office have remained a constant in my life. Every five or six weeks there is lab work and then a subsequent trip to the office to touch base with my doctor, and then it’s down the hall for treatment and a visit with Lisa. It’s during these treatment sessions, as I sit in the recliner and receive my life-sustaining medication, that Lisa and I have gotten to know each other and have developed a close nurse–patient relationship. Over the approximately hour-long appointment, which starts with her expertly placing an IV in my one remaining “good vein” arm, we talk about what’s happened in each of our lives since the last time we spoke, about how I am feeling, about my dogs. We talk about anything and about everything. She finds the time to talk even while receiving phone calls regarding other patients, starting treatment for a woman who just sat down in the room next to me and answering questions from the doctors and medical assistants as they pass by. She is a true professional, and I am in awe of her ability to simultaneously educate, annotate, articulate and medicate.

Fast-forward nearly three years. A lot has occurred since that first introduction to both my “new normal” as a person living with stage IV cancer and to the woman with the pale pink booklet. I have had countless checkups, chest x-rays, blood draws, CT scans and PET scans as we attempt to manage the cancer that is now a fundamental part of my life.

Throughout all of this, Lisa has always been there. Her presence in that little treatment room every six weeks brings a smile to my face and lifts my spirits. Living with cancer is a never-ending adventure, filled with unknowns and nearly constant “what ifs.” All that being said, knowing that Lisa will be there to greet me at each step of the way and at each turn in the road allows me to travel with a level of comfort and security. She is not just my nurse but rather a beloved part of my family, and someone who has cemented her place within my heart.
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