My Cancer Nurse Took Me From My 'Crisis Year' to My 'Cure Year'

Jonlyn McGettigan, RN, FNP, is, once again, an extraordinary healer.

I nominated Jonlyn McGettigan, RN, FNP, for the Extraordinary Healer® Award last year and I’m doing it again for this reason: I have new things to say. Last year was my crisis year for my cancer, the year it was discovered and treated. This year has been my cure year, I guess you could call it. My visits to Arizona Oncology, where I would see Jonlyn, went from every three months to every five months. In May 2022, if I am still said to be free of cancer, I will be discharged.

Jonlyn has been wonderful during this time because she has shown an interest in me, the person, rather than me, the medical patient. How she knew to take this attitude, I don’t know, but I do know it makes me feel so positive about myself psychologically that it must be helping me physically. I think the positive feeling raises my endorphins and that may be conducive to physical health. Feeling positive about myself also makes me want to take care of my health and do what’s important to fight cancer.Maybe that’s why I’ve had such good laboratory reports.

How does Jonlyn show interest in me? By wanting to know things about me that are interesting to her. For instance: How is my volunteer job with NAMI going? (She recalls the name of the job.) Have I heard from my son? (Yes, she knows about my son.) After our discussion of these topics, she asks about symptoms and the visit becomes medical. She looks at my chart and exults over items showing perfection and progress. Finally, she will ask if I have any questions. I sometimes do. My big question at my last visit was, “How can I not be discharged? I like it here.” Jonlyn laughed and said I would be fine. I left feeling as though I were going to be abandoned but also that I might get over it and move on happily in my life.

I’ve had medical providers in my life who weren’t positive, who liked to scold and be negative about things I thought were going well. I’m so glad my cancer nurse was not like that and made me feel interesting. Her ability to do that makes her an extraordinary healer indeed.

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