Oncology Nursing Month

When I was diagnosed with FBC last year, I found myself in the unique position of being on the other side of the hospital bed.  Having been a nurse for over a decade, I was now in an  unexpected position of being on the receiving (rather than giving) end of nursing care.

As a person who likes to be, ahem, in charge, it was really f-bomb hard to be thrust into this position, checking control at the door of the cancer center when I went for my chemo treatments.

The major Silver Lining was that I received the most extraordinary care. Two of the greatest gifts that I received from my nurses were the feelings of safety and security, especially when I was in the bottomless pit of chemo despair.

Replacing my nurse-turned-patient fear with calm confidence was an absolutely amazing and wonderfully surprising outcome of my care. There were no greater feelings in the world that I could have had at that time.

In my early nursing days, a mentor told me, “A patient may not remember your name, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Well, I’m here to say that this philosophy is spot on. As a patient, it was all about how my nurses made me feel.

So, to all of you to all you tired, overworked, under-appreciated nurses out there—know that you do indeed make all the difference in the world, which is the ultimate Silver Lining to a patient (and her HOTY!)!

Thank you…so very much.

Have you had a Silver Lined experience with a nurse? If so, I sure would love to hear about it!


Leave a comment


  1. E.B. says

    My Mom had some truly amazing nurses during her illness and you are right, I do not remember their names, but I will always, always, always remember their kindness towards my Mom when she was at her most vulnerable. They cheered her, treated her oh, so gently and always kept an upbeat attitude, through the very end. They were truly our angels. When my Dad became ill, he was also blessed with some very special nursing angels. The night he transitioned one nurse kept watch with me and my aunt. She would come in, stand at the foot of his bed, praying quietly all the while. She had this air of calm about her, I never saw her again but I will always, always remember her. A few weeks after his passing, I received a sympathy card from another of his nurses. His home care nurse, a lovely lady, actually came to our home and refused to take payment when we were going through a very bumpy financial time, his home care benefits had run out, I was at my wit's end, could not stop working to take care of him, and there was this wonderful woman saying not to worry, she would still take care of him. Who does that? When he went into the hospital the last time, she would go visit him and call me at work if she thought something was "off." Out of the kindness of her heart. I cannot describe what those acts of kindness meant to me and mine. Someone once described nurses as angels in white, I do believe that is true.

    I am so thankful for your blog, it is a MAJOR Silver Lining, I've got all my friends finding Silver Linings now and when we are together and something nice happens, we'll go "Silver Lining! Silver Lining!" The other night having a dinner with a very dear friend, she told me our friendship was one of her favorite Silver Linings, that just gave me the "warm fuzzies." Love, love, love your blog.

  2. Barbara says

    What a great idea- I have had so many nurses care for me, my husband and my son. (We hit the trifecta, 3 f bomb cancer diagnosis within 4 years- 1 (son) 100% cured, 1 (husband) deceased due to complications from radiation therapy) and me- metastatic breast cancer, currently stable but will never be cured @ to doc)
    so my experiences ran from the ped nurses at one hospital who, before they entered the room, knew my son's nickname, his favorite games and always wanted him to tell them a joke before they then took the time to describe exactly what treatment was going to be done and why it was necessary- to the nurse in the second hospital who crashed into the room at 3 AM. flipped on the light and and yelled his name at him. I was so disgusted that I just layed there and let her yell, until finally I said, you might want to use his nickname, since no one has ever, in h is 7 years, used his formal name. She still wouldnt use his name-
    my husband was blessed with mostly wonderful nurses. except for 1, who ended up resigning after I complained about her- apparently the problem was more than she was just having a bad day- so I was glad that I had said something (it went something like this, "do not ever step foot in this room again")
    My oncology nurses however were and are hands down the best, most compassionate and caring group of men and women I have ever met. the OPC is more of a family living room for me than a hospital ward- which is good since I am spending about 4-6 hours there every other week. They know what I like, they know my kids, they ask about my trips, they know that I like to get out as quick as I can and that if the doc is running late, I wont stay for him- (my time is short, I am not going to waste it sitting in waiting rooms!)
    I can call them anytime with questions or email if I need anything. They are my "hospital family" .

    • says

      Thank you for your note, Barbara. 3 cancer f-bombs in your family?!? Wowsy. That's amazing! I love the image of a "hospital family." Beautiful. I also don't wait for doctors (well, I give them 10 minutes). Our lives are indeed too short!!! Thank you again for your note. All my best wishes to you!

  3. says

    I had a massive heart attack 8 1/2 years ago and I died. I met a very "Special" nurse then. I knew the minute I laid eyes on her in my Cardiologists office that she was special. I have seen her 3 0r 4 times a year ever since and I bring her flowers. I told her when we first met that I would bring her flowers until I die. There are indeed "Angels" walking amongst us. Have a Blessed day…..

    • says

      Wow, Maggie. What a story. Thank you for sharing! I'm so happy to hear that you are doing well after such a phenomenal experience. All my best wishes to you!

  4. betty lindstrom says

    After receiving my breast cancer diagnosis our 23 year old daughter transfered to the oncology floor at her hospital in Milwaukee WI. I feel her experience with me can only help make her a better nurse with both the patient and family. She is two years into her nurse practitioner/ masters in nursing grad degree at Marquette University. She is often told at work that certain patients can only be given to her and even had a letter written to the president of the hospital about her gentle care to a patient on the oncology floor. We do love our nurses. 🙂

  5. Kim C says

    I don't think I could have made it through my cancer year without the care and compassion of my nurses. Starting with the head nurse on the surgery ward, who went to bat for me to stay out of ICU with my infection. It meant the nurses on the surgery ward had to take the extra time with me and they did. I had extraordinary care and this kept me from the long drawn out process of ICU. I still cry sometimes when I think about how I connected to my nurses in a way I never could with most of my specialists.

    My homecare nurses came daily for 3 months while I was so sick with infection and then the six months of chemo. My nurses sat with me while I cried and understood my pain. They talked to me about healthy boundaries with too many visitors and how my children would surely cope and become better people for what I was going through. This might sound crazy, but I sometimes would repeat what they said to me (like a little mantra) to keep me going during the worst of it. I was told later that the homecare nurses often took the time to talk to my family and extended family and eased their emotional pain as well.

    During chemo one of my homecare nurses gave me her wig as she had been a breast cancer survivor herself! Feeling their kindess and compassion was an incredible experience and one I will carry with me forever. I feel a lump in my throat just writing to you. Thank you for this gentle reminder of all the care and security they gave to me – above and beyond my physical care – They got me.