I Wasn’t ‘Just a Patient’ to My Oncology Nurse

Extraordinary Healer®, CURE® Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 16, Volume 16,

My oncology nurse has been making connections with her patients for more than 20 years. I’m forever grateful I was lucky to be her patient.

Treatment for cancer is tough, but treatment for cancer during COVID-19 times is even tougher. The infusion unit waiting room was full of vacuous eyes and silence. No support partners were allowed.

Enter my nurse nominee, Jyl Dedier, B.S.N., RN. She was light in darkness. Jyl looked at me with kind eyes, which were the only part of her face I could see.

She wasn’t allowed to hug me, but her voice and eyes made a connection. She was genuinely interested in my life, my family and my career. She went out of her way to ensure I was comfortable, and she connected me with support services. She remembered my details from week to week, a connection that helped to soften isolation during long infusions. We were both women, working moms, humans — not just a patient and her nurse.

One day is particularly memorable for me. I was struggling with loneliness. I had just had my port placed. I was not only mentally exhausted but physically hurting. My mother-in-law, the one relative who was retired and able to visit us to help, had come down with COVID-19, so she cancelled her trip.

My relatives were a thousand miles away, friends couldn’t visit, and we were isolated at home 24/7. Jyl sat with me and listened. She squeezed my shoulder. She made me feel like I was her only patient when I knew she had many more to serve that shift. It was that connection again, the one I needed, that Jyl provided.

I’m forever grateful that Jyl was my chemotherapy nurse. She has been making these connections with patients for more than 20 years. I’m grateful I was one of the lucky ones to connect with her.

Jyl Dedier was nominated by Tiffany Hogan for CURE®’s 2022 Extraordinary Healer in oncology nursing award.

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