We are all healers of the world no matter who we are. We are here because we can make a difference.
WHEN I THINK OF HEALING, I think of good health and well-being even in the presence of disease. Healing is the recovery of the heart and soul. We are all healers of the world no matter who we are. We are here because we can make a difference.
WHEN WE LIVE from the heart and therefore bless another person, this moment of blessing becomes a moment of expansion and helps us to discover ourselves. When someone sees our potential, we have an experience of self-worth. When we experience self-worth, we can find meaning and purpose, and through meaning, we can transform our life experiences, even with cancer. In Kitchen Table Wisdom, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “When we are blessed, we are led through a one-way door and there is no looking back.”
When I think of extraordinary people in my life with the power to heal and to bless, I think of Nurse Katina Wilson. I met Katina when I, the doctor, became a cancer patient. Five years ago, after finding a mass on my own chest X-ray, my chest was cracked open and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
On my first day of chemotherapy, I sat in a brown La-Z-Boy chair in a common room with other patients ready to be hooked up to their cancer-fighting cocktails. I was strong and confident, yet bewildered and scared at the same time. Katina was handpicked to be my nurse. She walked over to me, smiled at me, put my small, cool hand in her big, warm hand and simply said, “I’m Katina. I am going to be your nurse. Leave everything to me.”
As she reached over to access my port for the first time and my first drip was ready to roll, I lost all control as reality slapped me in the face—I have cancer! I am about to receive chemo. This can’t be happening! Katina took this emotional outburst in stride, hugged me, held me and reassured me that I was OK. This was the moment she first healed me.
There are so many ways we heal others. We can heal each other through the simple words we say, the smile we share, the eye contact we make and the prayers we pray. Katina is naturally quietly awesome at these simple things. She is a healer through her service and heart for her patients. She is gentle with her touch, skilled in the way she gives care and would do anything to make a cancer patient’s experience a better one.
When one of my chemo posse couldn’t afford her medications, Katina applied for and was granted money for this patient to receive the care she needed.
When my chemo posse made her a birthday cake, she was the one who sliced it up and passed out the plates. When I brought a family member or friend with me for support, she made sure they had a chair and a hug too. She performed wonders with her words to comfort my husband and family and friends who accompanied me to my treatments.
Katina heals not only through her heart, but also through her feet, on her own time. In 2010, she raised $2,800 for Susan G. Komen and walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 60-mile trek to benefit
breast cancer research and awareness.
Nurse Wilson is striving to her continuing education. Katina is so committed to being her best—to give her best to others– that she became a nursing student for the second time in her life and is now enrolled in the Dual Oncology & Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program at the University of South Florida. Due to her commitment to excellence and patient care in 2013, she was awarded the American Cancer Society’s graduate nursing scholarship. She expects to graduate in spring 2016. Her ultimate goal is to obtain her doctorate in nursing, which I have no doubt she will accomplish with a huge smile on her face and a few of her biggest fans–her survivors–in the audience.
Katina saw the potential and life force in my special chemo posse and called all of us her VIPs. She understands that to help and care for humans in the tender way we need to be, she must first be human. As our bodies betrayed us, she helped each of us to try to find meaning and purpose in our diagnosis. She met each of us exactly where we were at with our own limitations and understanding of what was happening to us.
One of my last memories I have of Katina being my nurse was at my last infusion. I walked into the chemo room bedecked in my cowgirl hat, comfy khaki pants and loose shirt so she could easily access my port. As I came around the corner to my chair, I heard sounds of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Katina and the other nurses lined up, grabbed my arm and we all started line dancing in celebration of the big finish and being cancer free! Other patients clapped along, and again Katina healed me. Thanks to my extraordinary healer, I walked through a blessed survivor’s one-way door, and since then, there has been no looking back.