Expert Caring, Easing My Fears: How My Nurse Helped Me Through Cancer

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healers Vol. 9, Volume 9, Issue 1

An essay honoring Shannon Moore, RN [Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina]

Michele Singerline (left) with Shannon Moore, RN PHOTO BY JENIFER FENNELL

I was never sick my whole life, so cancer was new and frightening to me. I had my surgery in November 2013 and started chemo a month later. I met my oncologist and physician assistants (PAs) — and then I met Shannon, my chemo nurse, who seemed to make me feel calm and soothed my anxiety immediately.

Shannon was very caring. I was nervous more about the port since I did not know what to expect. Shannon explained it clearly and walked me through it step by step, so that the first time she accessed my port I knew exactly what to expect. I was so glad that she was my nurse.

Three weeks later when I went back, I felt so comfortable — as if I had been receiving chemo for years. Shannon is a very easy-going and caring person, and will meet any need that she has the capability to. She explained each medicine and told me why I was getting it and what the side effects might be. She told me that I might feel a burning in my nose, and to let her know so that she could slow the drip. This happened during the second chemo treatment, right around the time she said it might, the last 15 minutes. She knows her stuff.

My husband came with me, and Shannon made sure there was a chair ready for him each time. I also had a specific chemo chair that I liked to sit in because I have to see what’s going on around me and don’t want to feel closed in. She made sure I got that chair every time. If someone requested a pillow, blanket or anything else they had it within seconds. She catered to all of her patients.

I completed my first set of chemo treatments, four of them every three weeks. When I started my next set, I made sure that my PA knew that I wanted Shannon with me and to be able to sit in the same chair for the next set of chemo once a week for 12 weeks. I never felt her accessing my port, and all that was needed was the numbing cream. I got used to the treatments, and it was very comforting to have a nurse who stayed with the same routine.

Everyone at the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center makes you feel like you are a part of their family. I even sat across from a lady who I became friends with during the course of my treatments. If I had not had Shannon with me, I don’t know whether I would have felt as relaxed as I did. There is no person who is perfect and does not make mistakes, but Shannon Moore is the closest to perfect that I have ever known.

During the sixth and seventh week of treatment, I began to feel the side effects and had a bloody nose. Shannon made sure that I was okay, and that the PA knew about all of the side effects I was having. One week, I couldn’t tolerate both of the medicines, so I waited until the next week. Shannon explained a shot that I needed to boost my immune system. She told me that a lot of people have to get it, and clearly explained it and just made it a part of the routine.

I know that Shannon does her job as a nurse, but with her, you do not feel like just another cancer patient. You feel like a part of her family.