My doctor. She is a scientist, a healer, and a compassionate, caring soul. There is supposed to be a professional detachment between doctors and patients. I don’t believe that is possible if a doctor really cares about their profession. No, I don’t go to her house during the holidays and we don’t exchange birthday presents. But through it all I watched as she cared for me and others. She laughed at my jokes and answered our questions. She is personable and knows about my life outside of the doctor’s office. She works hard for her patients and is researching ways to prevent breast cancer recurrence. I am impressed by her willingness to share this part of her life with me.
Lauren. Lauren is a nurse practitioner. I met Lauren while she was still working on her Master’s Degree. I asked her why oncology? She said that she is specifically concerned for women with breast cancer and wanted to focus her career on breast health. She has no personal connection with breast cancer, yet feels called to care for us. She spends her time asking medical history questions, answering concerns that arise, and reassuring the scared and anxious that together, we will get through this.
Elaine. Elaine is a volunteer. She wanders the oncology ward stopping to ask patients if they need anything. She brings crackers, and ginger ale, and ice cream. Over the weeks and my subsequent visits she shares her story with me. She is also a breast cancer survivor. She had all of her treatments right there at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Now she spends every Wednesday as a volunteer; giving back to the hospital that helped save her life. I nicknamed her the Ice Cream Angel.
Myrielle. Myrielle is an oncology nurse. She was the nurse assigned to me. There is very strict protocol when it comes to the handling and administration of chemotherapy drugs so the nurses work in pairs. But Myrielle was the one to prep. me and watch over me to make sure everything was going well. She is also very happy. I asked her once why she was so happy all the time; especially working in oncology. Her response, “Because I am happy and I want to share that happiness with you and the other patients. You need happiness and hope. And at the end of the day I get to go home and count my blessings.” Myrielle is still there and she is still happy.
These are my Angels in oncology. And I am thankful they were sent to me in my time of need.