‘A Force of Nature’ as an Oncology Nurse

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 15, Volume 15,

From physical therapy for pain to an emergency room visit ending up in a cancer diagnosis, a patient describes her experience with an oncology nurse with whom she attributes a positive recovery experience.

In 2015, I had developed a pain that was so harsh I went to endless doctors, none of whom could find the cause. I was then referred for physical therapy in a nursing home because I was told it would cure my pain. Meanwhile, I got very depressed and realized I had to give up my career as a psychotherapist because I could no longer be at my best for my clients. Finally, after five weeks, I was discharged from the nursing home for noncompliance with the physical therapy regime, but I was in too much pain to do any physical therapy at all.

Three days after the discharge from the nursing home, I went to Tucson Medical Center in Arizona around midnight because I almost passed out from pain. My friends and son were called by the hospital because I was not expected to survive, but I did survive and received a diagnosis of cancer.

JonLyn McGettigan, M.S.N., RN, NP-C, and Dr. DiSimone then took over my treatment at Arizona Oncology in Tucson. I had a great time recovering from then on. I loved every minute of my treatment and soon got over my depression from having to retire from my career. I was also motivated to take charge of my own health and had good lab reports, which I had never had before in my life. Today, four years later, I am much better still and still getting good lab reports.I also volunteer wherever I can find a need for what I can do.

I attribute my enormously positive experience in my recovery mostly to JonLyn's very positive personality and her interest in me. Going to visit her for my three-month screening has been a special experience and still is. I guess the best way to explain why I feel JonLyn is an extraordinary healer is to say she has a healing personality and she uses it well. She is a force of nature who happens to have been assigned to me. It is as though my recovery, which was filled with PICC lines, biopsies and many other unpleasant processes, was always fun and exciting because JonLyn's glowing energy prevailed.

I honestly don't know if this healing quality of hers — or should I say talent — is learned or innate, but I can say it is incandescent. I wish it could be experienced by all patients with cancer because it was so effective with me.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Audrey Ricker for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.

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