Thirteen years after coming to Reston Hospital and I still can’t believe my luck. To be the Chief Nursing Officer of a hospital of this caliber is a privilege. Not only is my professional life a gift, but in my personal life I am even luckier. I even bought a necklace last summer when I was out with my sister that says, “I AM LUCKY.”
Ironically enough I found out I had breast cancer the very next day. Now, let me say I have two sisters and a grandmother who also had breast cancer, so I felt pretty sure it would come at some point. But you are still not ready – even as a nurse, you go blank on a lot of medical things that you are certain you should remember. You picture yourself bald, getting fat on steroids, and throwing up. (You don’t throw up, the drugs are great.)
Here is where you get the news you hoped you would never get…and where you are saved . . . right where you work.
It all starts at the Women’s Imaging Center. Laurie Rudolph and Maria Fleury are quite the team. They navigate you through the system, answer every question you have and offer up more support than you can imagine. They pat your back while you are in some uncomfortable positions, and on top of it they’re pretty hilarious.
After multiple MRIs, biopsies, and a surgery, you then head for the Infusion Center for the dreaded chemo. I have never seen a truer form of the art of nursing practiced. By this I mean the Infusion Center nurses are fortunate to not be burdened with the staffing grinds experienced on other nursing units, along with the often frantic pace associated with it. These nurses are able to teach and heal the way they envisioned when they went into this profession. Their compassion, along with their expertise, is unbelievable. Irene is my primary nurse and her quiet, gentle, and super smart ways are wonderful. Pete and Catherine have also been there every time I go, and I have watched them treat patients in the same compassionate manner. These nurses see a lot of sadness in this area, but always have a smile on their faces. Under the direction of Sue Foy, the Infusion Center is a gift to Reston Hospital.
As I go into my last treatment next week, I still do feel lucky, but more so for the privilege I have had in meeting all of these people under these circumstances. Unfortunately, many of our employees experience illness themselves or with a family member and have to be hospitalized here at Reston. Anyone have an experience they would like to share? (By the way, have a wonderful holiday, you all deserve it!)