Ray's Oncology Nurse: His Sunshine and Guardian Angel

Extraordinary Healer®Extraordinary Healers Vol. 10
Volume 10
Issue 1

An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring Kimberly Duke, RN [ Webber Cancer Center at St. John-Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan ]

Kimberly Duke, RN and Raymond Dziolowski PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYMOND DZIOLOWSKI

Kimberly Duke, RN and Raymond Dziolowski PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYMOND DZIOLOWSKI

Kimberly Duke, RN and Raymond Dziolowski PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYMOND DZIOLOWSKI

I am a prostate cancer survivor for eight-and-a-half years now, and I feel great. It all started back in 2007. I was told by my urologist that he suspected that I might have prostate cancer. I had some tests, and he said that I should have a biopsy done to be sure. I had three, and the third one showed that I had cancer. At this point, I would have to meet with the team that was going to treat me, Dr. Paul Chuba and nurse Kimberly Duke, at St. John’s Hospital in Warren, Michigan.

When I went to the hospital to meet with the team that was going to take good care of me, I must tell you, I was very scared. I didn’t know what to expect. This was all new to me. I had just recently retired and bought me a new Harley motorcycle. I wanted to start enjoying my retirement. I didn’t need this.

One of the team members was Kimberly Duke, a nurse navigator at St. John’s Hospital. When I first met with Kim, she told me that men my age (57) usually have their prostate removed. Since I was diagnosed early (stage T2), I told Kim that I was not going to have it removed. I asked her if she had a small cavity in her tooth, would she have it removed? She thought that was funny, and said no, she wouldn’t.

Then Kim mentioned something about external radiation beam therapy. I told her no again. I told her that if something goes wrong and they miss my prostate, I would be having more problems than prostate cancer. Also I ride a motorcycle, and it wouldn’t look cool if I had to mount one of those bags on the side of my bike. The last suggestion was brachytherapy treatment. I said, "Sure. That sounds better." I’m glad I chose this treatment.

On July 20, 2007, I had the surgery performed. The surgery went great. I was there at 7 a.m. and home by eleven that morning. I had no side effects. After the surgery, I had to meet with Kim. She wanted to make sure that everything went well. I told her that I was very pleased with the surgery and that I was very pleased with her. I told her that when I first heard that I had prostate cancer, I was very scared. She turned that all around and made me excited to go after this cancer. I couldn’t wait to have the surgery.

That day I called her my “Guardian Angel.” I bought her a sun catcher for her window. It says: “Prayer Changes Everything.” on it and gave it to her. She cried and said that nobody does anything like this for the nurses. I told her that she helped me so much that I needed to do something nice for her. This was eight-and-a-half years ago, and I still see her. I go to the hospital and get her flowers for Nurse’s Week. I know that this is her job taking care of her patients. And she does it so well. Kim loves being a nurse and taking care of her patients. Kim is one of the sweetest and kindest people that anyone could meet. Kim is more than just a nurse — she’s an angel in my eyes. When I was going through my most difficult and frightening time, Kim was there to comfort me and to make it easier. I’m sure that there are a lot of other good nurses out there but Kimberly is mine.