Transcending the Chaos of Cancer
May 21, 2018 – Deborah A. Boyle, M.S.N., RN, AOCNS, FAAN, Advanced Oncology Nursing Resources, Huntington Beach, California
Oncology: The Only Choice
May 22, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
Nursing Through the Prism of Childhood
May 27, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
Nurturing Patients and Nurses
June 02, 2018 – Amita Patel, NP-C, AOCNP, Regional Cancer Care Associates
An Oncology Pioneer
June 03, 2018 – Fred Hardwicke, M.D., Childress Regional Medical Center Cancer Clinic, Childress, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock
Camping for Health
June 02, 2018 – Kathy LaTour
Improving Care Against All Odds
June 09, 2018 – Sr. Rosemary Donley, Ph.D., APRN, FAAN, Duquesne University
In the Hands of an Angel
June 10, 2018 – Jitsuda Sitthi-Amorn, M.D., St. Jude Children
The Day That Snow Brought Sunshine
June 17, 2018 – Patricia Jakel, M.N., RN, AOCN, Solid Tumor Program, UCLA, Santa Monica
Monday Morning Musings
June 20, 2018 – Justin Baker, M.D., St. Jude Children
Kathy Youngblood, Private Investigator
June 30, 2018 – Patricia Cathey, M.S.N., RN, NE-BC, St. Jude Children
Something Told Her to Become a Nurse
July 01, 2018 – Marilyn K. Stade
This Oncology Nurse Gives Back What She Receives
July 07, 2018 – Debbie Talley
The Oncology Nurse Is an Inspiration and an Example
July 08, 2018 – Marilyn K. Stade
Extraordinary Empathy in the World of Oncology
July 16, 2018 – Andrea Valera, RN, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
How One Oncology Nurse Exhibits the Best of Humanity
July 22, 2018 – Jacquelyn Pryor, Ph.D.
Pairing Diligence With Compassion in Cancer Care
July 21, 2018 – Margot Goodman
A Shining Star in Oncology Nursing
July 22, 2018 – Charles Turano
Compassion and Kind Ways in Oncology Nursing
July 26, 2018 – Edith Holder
Currently Viewing
Giving Is in Her DNA
July 29, 2018 – Deborah Dion
The Oncology Nurse Who Radiates Pink
July 28, 2018 – Eleanor K. Waldrup
Always a Step Ahead as an Oncology Nurse
August 04, 2018 – James G. Coe, Ph.D.
This Oncology Nurse Is Not Just Any Superhero
August 05, 2018 – Keitha V. Johnson
When Compassionate Cancer Care Meets Imagination
August 11, 2018 – Daniela Maniscalchi
An Anchor in a Time of Tumult
August 12, 2018 – Lillian Arleque, Ed.D.
From Devastation to Inspiration
August 18, 2018 – Wendy Tucker
Master of the Medical Matrix
August 19, 2018 – Linda McCarthy

Giving Is in Her DNA

BY Deborah Dion
PUBLISHED July 29, 2018
From left: Carol J. Stalzer, B.S.N., RN, CBCN, and Deborah Dion
From left: Carol J. Stalzer, B.S.N., RN, CBCN, and Deborah Dion PHOTOS BY TARA FLANNERY
After dealing with breast cancer originally in 2004-05, and again with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer since 2013, I have experienced many nursing professionals in the industry and, specifically, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The oncology nurse is the first face I see in a profession that supports the fight of my life. She or he sets the tone for the course of the appointment and establishes the rapport for a positive or negative attitude, no matter the results of my tests.

My nominee, Carol Stalzer, of MD Anderson Breast Center, is that perfect combination of love, welcoming, nurturing, steadiness, knowledge and confidence that greets me each time I go for my every-three-months follow-up after my bone scan. She calls me to the door with a beautiful smile on her face and eyes that light up when she sees me. Carol hugs me with such love and affection that I feel completely at home and safe in her care. She is totally interested in me, what I have been doing since my last visit and what I have planned in my life. When I have a concern, she answers me with extreme confidence and readily has an answer to support my needs.

What I admire most about her character is that she is willing to make difficult changes in her life to improve her health, too. She didn’t complain about being overweight and out of shape at one time — she just did something about it. I watched her over time practicing what she preached about good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle in order to support my cancer journey, so she has proved she is willing to do the hard stuff, too. That makes me feel like I have not only a nursing professional attending to my needs but also a partner who is willing to do what it takes to help me become the healthiest version of myself — and that we can do it together.

Being an oncology nurse is a great weight to bear. Carol doesn’t just leave it all behind at the end of a shift, because cancer can be a long-term disease. She sees numerous patients over many years and watches many of us succumb to its effects on the human body. That is so much pressure to withstand and hold up to, but Carol does so with such grace. Her total focus is me, the patient in front of her, and I never know the dynamics of what she has dealt with that day or week. I never know those difficult days that bring her down, because she does not complain or show a long face in front of me. Like all of us, Carol does not have a personal life that is always perfect, and yet she puts all that aside to give me her best, takes care of me and leaves me better than when I came in.

I often wonder who and what lifts her up and out of the fear and pain she must see behind those doors every day. I can only hope to give her back at least a portion of what she gives to me.

What she gives cannot be measured by any standardized measurement system. It is beyond any corporate objective and any words I am attempting to use to describe Carol. It is simply an innate piece of her DNA. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is living out a prewired sense of her destiny, and I’m blessed enough to be in her pathway of life.

In talking with the oncologist that Carol supports and the staff that works with her, I learned that she is always willing to help others in their endeavors. It is said that she is the first to come to the needs of others and offers to run errands throughout the facility if needed.

Although most people cringe at the thought of test-result appointments, I look forward to my visits, because I know who is waiting for me on the other side of that door — a nursing professional who does practice what she preaches, and her name is Carol Stalzer. That is a true gift from her being and like no other. Thank you, Carol!
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles


Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In