In October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness I will post a daily blog with a reflection about breast cancer. The reflections will stem from something in the play. (All quoted lines are text from the play.)
Day 12: Oncology nurses are special breed of people. Actually, all nurses are. The post-surgery experience of Susan after the extensive double mastectomy was made tolerable by the gracious and loving care provided by each and every nurse on the 7th floor – the cancer floor – of Inova Fairfax Hospital in 2000. The fact is you see a doctor in the hospital once or twice a day during rounds, or again if there is an emergency. You see a nurse once an HOUR or more often. And these nurses tended not just to Susan but to me – because I camped out in the room with Susan. “My cot sat near the floor on the right side as you face the bed. In the opposite corner on the same side of the room I set up the table and a chair as a desk for my computer. I had one of the few wireless modems on the market in 2000 so I could work and be (in the room) at the same time.” Nurses took care of me as well as Susan. They encouraged me, checked in on me and reassured me. They trained me how to empty “the two plastic bulbs handing off of each side of Susan’s chest filled with a red liquid.” It was not easy – Susan struggled during her recovery because “she did not react well to the anesthesia.” The nurses honored us with a caring attitude and orientation, not just competent care.
Stat of the Day: The American Society of Clinical Oncology predicts that by 2020, there will be an 81 percent increase in people living with or surviving cancer.
Task of the Day: If you or someone you know is facing breast cancer search out a “breast care navigator.” They exist in many places in many forms. Most hospitals now employ one and many independent cancer support groups offer the same type of help. INOVA Cancer Center is an example of such a program.
Resource of the Day: Want to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing you or a loved one is going through? Check out the Cancer Hope Network. They match cancer patients and family members with someone else who has gone through the same illness.