Dispelling the Cloud of Cancer
October 01, 2017 – James G. Coe, Ph.D.
An Inspired Healer, Leader and Guide
September 30, 2017 – D.S.
Going the Extra Mile for Patients With Cancer
September 24, 2017 – Elaine Suva-Bongiovi
My Oncology Nurse, the Sunshine in My Life
September 23, 2017 – Arlene McGrotty
Learning a New Level of Gratitude as a Patient With Cancer
September 17, 2017 – Emerald Cromwell
More Than Just a Patient With Cancer
September 16, 2017 – Steve Messiter
An Extraordinary Nurse Gave My Husband an 11-Year Lifeline
September 03, 2017 – Mona Amundson
Come With Me on My Cancer Journey With Trish
September 02, 2017 – Stuart Kremer, D.O.
My Oncology Nurse Gave Me a Birthday to Remember
August 26, 2017 – Lydia Conroy
My Oncology Nurse Is a Soul Healer
August 28, 2017 – Kelley Kramer
A Saving Grace in Cancer Care
August 20, 2017 – Julie Cox
The Heart, Soul and Laughter of Healing
August 19, 2017 – Bobbie Chew Bigby
The Oncology Nurse Who Goes There
August 13, 2017 – Danielle Burgess
I Thought My Oncology Nurse Was an Angel
August 12, 2017 – Connie J. Trotter
Appreciating the Hardest-Working Oncology Nurse I Know
August 06, 2017 – Kevin Dimit
Restoring My Faith in Medicine — and Humanity
August 05, 2017 – Kalia Douglas-Micallef
Joy: An Oncology Nurse Who Fits Her Name
July 30, 2017 – Susan Edgington
Dealing With the Pride and Toughness of a Soldier With Cancer
July 29, 2017 – Carol Kelly
Sharing a Special Bond With a Remarkable Oncology Nurse
July 23, 2017 – Blake Peterson
Bringing Hogwarts to the Oncology Unit
July 22, 2017 – Debra Jacobs
Who Will Reduce Barriers to Cancer Care?
July 20, 2017 – Jill Vondrasek, MBA Marketing and Communications Director, Michigan State University College of Nursing
A Positive Guiding Light for Oncology Patients
July 14, 2017 – Mollie Maggied, M.H.A., B.S.N., RN, CPN, ATC Assistant Nurse Manager, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital
Oncology Nurse Is in Tune With the Patient's Spirit
July 16, 2017 – Sherry Johnson, M.S.N., CPON, NE-BC Fundamentals of Magnet® Certificate Holder Director of Nursing Excellence St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Oncology Nurse Inspires Patients, Health Care Team
July 15, 2017 – Abbey Brockman, RN, B.S.N., OCN Nurse Manager, Westwood Exam/Radiation Oncology, University of Kansas Cancer Center
Putting Our Hearts Into Cancer Care
July 08, 2017 – Eileen Dwyer, RN
An Extraordinary Oncology Nurse: I Wish We Could Clone Her
July 01, 2017 – Jeffrey M. Farma, M.D. Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
The Magic Fit of Oncology Nursing
June 25, 2017 – Fred Hardwicke, M.D. Hematology/Medical Oncology Fellowship Program Director, Texas Tech Medical Center — Department of Internal Medicine
My Charge Nurse, Teacher, Mentor, Co-Worker and Friend
June 24, 2017 – Geovanny Gomez, CNA Providence St. John’s Health Center, Santa Monica, California
Moving Mountains to Help Patients - and Staff
June 18, 2017 – Marci Dahl Office Manager, HMS Oncology
A Tireless Patient Advocate
June 16, 2017 – Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Extraordinary Healer of the Soul and Body
June 08, 2017 – Gwendolyn Brack
Oncology Nursing Is Not Just a Job, It's a Calling
June 02, 2017 – Ellijah Legaspi
A Lifetime of Impact for Patients With Cancer
May 26, 2017 – Andy Seibert
Caring for Patients Always, Always, Always with a Smile
May 26, 2017 – Jennifer Littke
A Life Devoted to Patients With Cancer
May 26, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH JANET SCHADEE, M.S.N.
The Front Line of Urologic Cancer
May 23, 2017 – George J.S. Kallingal, M.D., M.P.H. Major, MC, USA Staff Surgeon, Urologic Oncology, Brooke Army Medical Center
When Children Are Her Job
May 21, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA KOBS, RN
The Hero I Needed During Cancer
May 20, 2017 – Jackson Pagel
Oncology Found Her
May 19, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH SARA SARGENTE, RN, OCN
Helping Patients Fight Cancer With All Her Heart and Soul
May 13, 2017 – Jayne O’Malley, RN, B.S.N., OCN Lung Cancer Patient Navigator and Manager of Navigation Services, Orange Regional Medical Center
Dispelling the Cloud of Cancer
October 01, 2017 – James G. Coe, Ph.D.
Currently Viewing
An Inspired Healer, Leader and Guide
September 30, 2017 – D.S.
My Oncology Nurse, the Sunshine in My Life
September 23, 2017 – Arlene McGrotty
Learning a New Level of Gratitude as a Patient With Cancer
September 17, 2017 – Emerald Cromwell
More Than Just a Patient With Cancer
September 16, 2017 – Steve Messiter
An Extraordinary Nurse Gave My Husband an 11-Year Lifeline
September 03, 2017 – Mona Amundson
Come With Me on My Cancer Journey With Trish
September 02, 2017 – Stuart Kremer, D.O.
My Oncology Nurse Gave Me a Birthday to Remember
August 26, 2017 – Lydia Conroy
My Oncology Nurse Is a Soul Healer
August 28, 2017 – Kelley Kramer
A Saving Grace in Cancer Care
August 20, 2017 – Julie Cox
The Heart, Soul and Laughter of Healing
August 19, 2017 – Bobbie Chew Bigby
The Oncology Nurse Who Goes There
August 13, 2017 – Danielle Burgess
I Thought My Oncology Nurse Was an Angel
August 12, 2017 – Connie J. Trotter
Appreciating the Hardest-Working Oncology Nurse I Know
August 06, 2017 – Kevin Dimit
Restoring My Faith in Medicine — and Humanity
August 05, 2017 – Kalia Douglas-Micallef
Joy: An Oncology Nurse Who Fits Her Name
July 30, 2017 – Susan Edgington
Dealing With the Pride and Toughness of a Soldier With Cancer
July 29, 2017 – Carol Kelly
Sharing a Special Bond With a Remarkable Oncology Nurse
July 23, 2017 – Blake Peterson
Bringing Hogwarts to the Oncology Unit
July 22, 2017 – Debra Jacobs
Who Will Reduce Barriers to Cancer Care?
July 20, 2017 – Jill Vondrasek, MBA Marketing and Communications Director, Michigan State University College of Nursing
A Positive Guiding Light for Oncology Patients
July 14, 2017 – Mollie Maggied, M.H.A., B.S.N., RN, CPN, ATC Assistant Nurse Manager, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital
Oncology Nurse Is in Tune With the Patient's Spirit
July 16, 2017 – Sherry Johnson, M.S.N., CPON, NE-BC Fundamentals of Magnet® Certificate Holder Director of Nursing Excellence St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Oncology Nurse Inspires Patients, Health Care Team
July 15, 2017 – Abbey Brockman, RN, B.S.N., OCN Nurse Manager, Westwood Exam/Radiation Oncology, University of Kansas Cancer Center
Putting Our Hearts Into Cancer Care
July 08, 2017 – Eileen Dwyer, RN
An Extraordinary Oncology Nurse: I Wish We Could Clone Her
July 01, 2017 – Jeffrey M. Farma, M.D. Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
The Magic Fit of Oncology Nursing
June 25, 2017 – Fred Hardwicke, M.D. Hematology/Medical Oncology Fellowship Program Director, Texas Tech Medical Center — Department of Internal Medicine
My Charge Nurse, Teacher, Mentor, Co-Worker and Friend
June 24, 2017 – Geovanny Gomez, CNA Providence St. John’s Health Center, Santa Monica, California
Moving Mountains to Help Patients - and Staff
June 18, 2017 – Marci Dahl Office Manager, HMS Oncology
A Tireless Patient Advocate
June 16, 2017 – Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Extraordinary Healer of the Soul and Body
June 08, 2017 – Gwendolyn Brack
Oncology Nursing Is Not Just a Job, It's a Calling
June 02, 2017 – Ellijah Legaspi
A Lifetime of Impact for Patients With Cancer
May 26, 2017 – Andy Seibert
Caring for Patients Always, Always, Always with a Smile
May 26, 2017 – Jennifer Littke
A Life Devoted to Patients With Cancer
May 26, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH JANET SCHADEE, M.S.N.
The Front Line of Urologic Cancer
May 23, 2017 – George J.S. Kallingal, M.D., M.P.H. Major, MC, USA Staff Surgeon, Urologic Oncology, Brooke Army Medical Center
When Children Are Her Job
May 21, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA KOBS, RN
The Hero I Needed During Cancer
May 20, 2017 – Jackson Pagel
Oncology Found Her
May 19, 2017 – AN INTERVIEW WITH SARA SARGENTE, RN, OCN
Helping Patients Fight Cancer With All Her Heart and Soul
May 13, 2017 – Jayne O’Malley, RN, B.S.N., OCN Lung Cancer Patient Navigator and Manager of Navigation Services, Orange Regional Medical Center
Implementing Standards of Care in Radiation Dermatitis Prevention
July 02, 2017 – Mario Lacouture, M.D. Director, Oncodermatology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

An Inspired Healer, Leader and Guide

An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring SANDRA TERRAZZINO, APRN, M.S.N., FNP-BC, AOCNP [HEMATOLOGY ONCOLOGY CLINIC, BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS]
BY D.S.
PUBLISHED September 30, 2017
D.S. and Sandra Terrazzino, APRN, M.S.N., FNP-BC, AOCNP
PHOTOS BY SADA LEWIS
D.S. and Sandra Terrazzino, APRN, M.S.N., FNP-BC, AOCNP PHOTOS BY SADA LEWIS
I first met Sandy Terrazzino as a newly diagnosed patient with breast cancer — in shock from the news of my diagnosis, practically immobile from fear, experiencing spontaneous bouts of deep-throated crying, and feeling a childlike helplessness in facing “The Big C.” I was, as they say, A Mess.

This was significantly different from the professional military me, a friendly, self-reliant, resourceful pioneer. As the first woman allowed to take on several of the jobs I’d held in my military career, I had faced many challenges and had accomplished many tough goals. I was successful enough to rise to become a lieutenant colonel. I had also served in some tropical third-world countries, under situations that required a degree of toughness and sense of adventure. That was when the only contact with home were weekly letters and rare phone calls made through amateur HAM radio operators around the world. But at that moment, my normally optimistic, adventurous self was gone.

At my first appointment with Sandy, she gently introduced herself and gave me a smile that at once conveyed a message of welcome, understanding and optimism that “we’re going to get through this together.” She said she was there to help me through the process I was entering. I wasn’t so sure that anyone could help, but Sandy drew me in and kept me close throughout the ordeals of chemotherapy, radiation and beyond. When she talked with me, it was as though I was the only patient on her schedule that day. She treated our conversations, and even my silliest questions, as worthy of her best attention and efforts. She knew how to convey compassion just by looking into peoples’ eyes.

Over the next five years, I grew to know and appreciate what a bright star Sandy is to not only me, but to over 40 other “sister patients,” and to many wonderful care providers at BAMC. So, my nomination of Sandy for this award is enthusiastic and heartfelt.

I have not only relied on Sandy for assistance and guidance during my health journey, I have looked to Sandy’s leadership, inspiration and extensive counsel as I assisted other “sister patients.” Sandy was continually a beacon of hope and a source of gentle reassurance as they solved problems, changed remedies and vented. She has consistently been well informed and versatile, yet a firm ally in the weekly battles we face. Sandy has also been a comfort, a guide and an inspiration to her patients. She tirelessly developed a training program for patients facing chemo, and taught me to manage the different stages my body goes through after each chemo session. I’m certain that helped save my life when my body reacted unexpectedly to my first chemotherapy session. Because of Sandy’s training, I knew what to do, rather than fearfully stay home “waiting things out.” I quickly learned to trust and rely on her extensive knowledge about chemo drugs, my body’s reactions and how best to care for myself during the trying times.

Her open-minded pursuit of better ways of doing things also helped when, through her personal research of the medical literature, she found studies on eliminating germs from fresh produce. I am still struck by her work and her finding a simple solution to my challenge of home preparation of the fresh fruits and vegetables I really wanted. As a result, I could have the diet I preferred, and my risk of infection or other complications, and fear of what might happen to me, were significantly reduced.

Her professional knowledge and willingness to share doesn’t stop there. Sandy opened a “Cancer Library for Patients,” and keeps it stocked with very useful cancer-related literature. She also founded and now co-hosts monthly cancer support and education meetings, in which she expertly fields a wide variety of questions we bring. Questions have ranged from various reactions to medications, plastic surgery options, dressing options and the stories behind the latest research in the news.

It is hard to bring up an oncology-related topic in the hematology/oncology field that is new to Sandy. She seems to pay close attention to what’s happening, including what’s on the horizon. On the rare occasion we bring her something new, Sandy has shown to be a tireless researcher. Frequently, she brings us answers at later meetings, along with relevant information on which we can ponder. Sandy has proven to be not only a fine resource for information, she is also an important ally in problem solving, whether it be getting access to a provider or advising the “sister patients” on assembling a surprise package for one of our doctors during his deployment to Afghanistan.

Sandy is also highly regarded among other health care providers. One example is my doctor’s response to my concerns about possibly losing Sandy for a while. At that time, Congress was unable to complete a Department of Defense budget, so there was much discussion about mandatory time off without pay for civilian employees. My doctor, who was also the chief of the clinic, quickly responded, saying, in effect, “I know, she’s really good. We are going to do our best to not lose Sandy … she’s too valuable.”

What a blessing Sandy is to all who have the good fortune of coming under her wings. My words are paltry compared with the inspiration she provides, and the lift she gives patient and professional alike. Sandy is the master of the well-timed hug, and of the soulful look into your eyes. Respected and appreciated by fellow health care professionals and the many patients lucky to know her touch, Sandy Terrazzino is a superb nominee for this award.
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