My Sister's Cancer Diagnosis Led Me to Love My Job Even More
If you were to ask me in 2009 when I graduated nursing school why I wanted so badly to be an oncology nurse, I would have told you because I simply enjoyed my senior practicum in the oncology unit. Little did I know that 6 years later my oldest sister would be diagnosed with stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer when she was 32 weeks and pregnant with her second child.
Being a nurse
Being a nurse, it’s bittersweet knowing what I know with a sister who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. I am able to pick apart MRI and CT scans and explain them in the simplest terms. I am able to be that second set of eyes and ears at doctor’s appointments. I understand what it means to have scanxiety because, in a way, I have it too. I urge her to call her oncologist when she is having abnormal symptoms. However, the most important role I play in my sister’s life is being her sister.
There are four of us in our family. Three girls and a boy (I agree with what you’re thinking… poor brother!!). The four of us are very close! It’s funny how when you’re younger you can’t stand your siblings. We laugh now and question how we made it out alive in our teenage years when we made each other’s lives a legit living ball of awfulness. Now, we are best friends.
Sarah will be coming up on her 5-year anniversary of being cancer-free. These 5 years have been a roller coaster-like all walks of life. She’s had some scares that have lead to Xrays, brain MRIs, bloodwork and unexpected doctor visits. On the flip side, she had a third baby when she was told that the likelihood of her having more children was VERY slim due to chemotherapy. She and I have started a business together where we empower other women to own their beauty no matter what kind of trauma they may be experiencing. She has fought and is still fighting like the ultimate warrior she is.
A new perspective
Being an oncology nurse is way more special to me now than it was before Sarah’s diagnosis. Reasons, why people want to be a nurse, is to simply, help other people. Sarah’s diagnosis changed my whole family’s perspective on life. Enjoy the big things, but make sure you celebrate the little things.
So, next time you question how your nurse does what he/she does, it may be because it was something they were meant to do. We, as your nurse, know more than you think we know about your life and THEN we get to know even more about you as you sit for hours in the treatment room. We help you survive, thrive and heal and in a very roundabout way, YOU do the same for us.
Being a nurse is not just my “job.” It’s a passion oncology nurses have and it’s what we enjoy and love doing.
Thank YOU for allowing us to be part of your unexpected journey.
Internal radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation used to treat breast cancer.