A patient with cancer discusses how the compassionate and encouraging presence of oncology nurses makes a difference in their cancer journey.
I have been a patient at the University of Mississippi’s oncology department since 2011, diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. I love my team there, and if I could acknowledge everyone I came in contact with, I would do it. The saying states that it takes a village…and it does!
Dr. Barbara Craft is my oncologist, and there aren’t enough words to express how much I respect and love her. Wyndelon “Nikki” Simmons, B.S.N., RN, OCN, is her nurse, and if angels could walk on earth, she’d be one of them. She’s helped me deal with my disease, which is now metastatic, as it has attached itself to my bones. After spending five years and reaching the clear mark, it’s very scary to find out you have the disease again but in a different area of your body.
It was 2016 when the cancer attached itself to my 10th thoracic vertebra. Nikki explained the metastatic process and the procedure we would do to try to eliminate the cancer. When your doctor sits with you and tells you something like this, your mind tends to go in many different directions. I have found that the oncology nurse is your lifeline. She can answer most of your questions. The comfort I get from Nikki’s responses and the concern she shows help me to be calmer and to understand and focus on what my doctor has explained to me.
I know that there are many women with the same feelings as they face uncomfortable and scary treatments and tests, and this is why it’s so important to have a compassionate and encouraging nurse. I would not know what to do without her guidance and support; in fact, I feel that I couldn’t function on a daily basis without it.
My most recent scans showed cancer in my ninth and 10th thoracic vertebrae and right hip. Nikki helped me to get the information I needed about treatment, and that plus her positive energy gave me the strength to move forward. There are people who go beyond the responsibilities of their jobs because they are compassionate, and this describes Nikki! The journey of a cancer patient is not always a pretty one, but it can be a smooth one with the right person by your side.
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