Reflections of sharing our story over this past year
Nearly a year ago, I was given the opportunity to write for CURE by chance. An essay I’d written was submitted, unbeknownst to me, by a friend and nursing mentor. When I was asked to be a contributor and share my story, it wasn’t the easiest of decisions to make. Honestly, my first thought was that it was not my story to share because my sister had been the one with cancer. When I began to ask friends their opinion, they didn’t understand my hesitation. To them, it wasn’t her story, it was our story.
In some ways, I had always shared our story. I had begun sending emails in the fall of 2014 to update close friends that could not be present during her treatments. As time has passed, the list of people I email has grown exponentially. So many nurses, doctors, strangers, co-workers and new friends have become just as invested in the outcome as her family.
When I am at a loss as to what to write, I think back to when my sister was at her sickest and to the advice that I so badly craved but didn‘t know who to ask. Or I think of the information that I spent countless hours seeking but never could find. I think about the answers that I wanted to find and the questions that went left unanswered because while cancer is a very personal experience, there are many commonalities amongst all the varying stories that I feel are often lost or forgotten.
In writing for CURE, I have been given a forum and platform that I did not ever realize. People have contacted me to tell me that my experience helped them through a difficult moment when they did not know what to do. That what worked for my sister aided their loved one when nobody else had an answer for a complication to treatments. Or that I was a resource when they did not know where else to seek answers. That my words helped them to feel less alone during an isolating time in their lives.
Although I never expected this opportunity in my life, I am incredibly grateful for it. As much as I am humbled to have helped those reading my articles, writing this past year has done so much for me. It has given me an outlet to share a story that I didn't think would ever be told. It has provided a place to share events and thoughts that fill my brain and to express my innermost emotions when I do not always know how best to do that.
As a nursing student, I want nothing more than to help people during their times of need and to be able to reach people like me, who are caring for somebody we love has been an eye-opening experience. I am so deeply honored to have been a contributor to such a vital and groundbreaking news organization. While I never thought that I would be a writer and be doing this, it has been and continues to be an incredible experience.
I am beyond blessed to say that when this began, my sister was struggling post-transplant and today she is more than one year in remission. Though in remission, cancer will always play some role in our lives. Her story, our story continues. As it plays on, I will continue to write so that others may read it and learn from our journey.