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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Every Step of the Way: A Nurse's Cancer Diary - Entry 8

Published March 27, 2012 2:24 PM by Guest Blogger

Nancy Cohen, BSN, RN, has graciously shared her personal journal, in which she writes about doing battle with cancer for the second time in her life. This is the eighth installment of a weekly blog that will enable readers to join her on the journey.

Entry 8: A Sixth Sense

November 7, 2011

Mood swings. Up and down. Up and down. Trying to maintain some balance and composure. Very hard to do right now when you think you’ve been “cured” from a life-threatening illness and then it’s back.

The monster with no conscience, the devil himself in the form of a cluster of malignant cells. And what to do, what to think when my physicians are all scratching their heads in a clueless state of wonderment and shock because they tell you that they’ve never seen this before.

I’ve been taking long walks with my dog, Myla, a rescue dog, part black lab, part border collie. I’ve spoken to neighbors, friends, other parents and sorrowfully described my tale of woe to whomever was willing to listen.

Even I get tired of repeating the same story ad nauseum. Cancer, jobless, finances, bills, health benefits. My head is going to explode with worry. Did I know, did I somehow know it would happen like this, after all the conversations with Tim over the years at the dining room table?

Perhaps I had a sixth sense about the same scenario repeating itself. Hopeless, helpless.

Could have happened to anyone but … it happened to me. It happened to be me while everyone else is going along happily in their own lives oblivious to their own personal fortunes. Damn, I have to face this thing again, again, again.

I have to force myself to trudge along, carried by prayers, supported by my devoted family, close friends, caring co-workers and inspired by my 10-year-old whom I’ve promised to wear a hat over my wig when I drop him off and pick him up at school so the wig won’t fly off my head from a strong breeze. (The least of my problems but I agreed to oblige). I get it. I totally get it.

When I’m wearing a scarf and a hat, I’m well aware of the pity stares. I’m certain that those who view me process the mystery disease immediately. Maybe they’re thinking, “What a shame, she seems too young.” Maybe they’re thinking, “Thank God it’s not me,” or “So-and-so is also being treated for cancer.” Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form.

Until next time. Chemotherapy starts on Friday. Though some things are unavoidable like alopecia, Tim is hoping I can be spared the nausea and mouth sores.

Click here to read Entry 7: Worthwhile Adjustments.


Nancy Cohen, BSN, RN, has graciously shared her personal journal, in which she writes about doing battle

April 3, 2012 2:37 PM

Thinking of you Nancy. Keep plugging. Our old friend Gordon always said that breast cancer is not something you died from, it's something you live with. Keep living!!

Joanne, Surgery - RN,CNOR, Virtua March 29, 2012 10:10 PM
Marlton NJ

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