“It’s not good news, it’s cancer.” Words I will remember for the rest of my life. My initial reaction – shock, stunned silence, disbelief. It was like a video recorder in my head playing a million different things at once - blocking out whatever else the doctor was saying at that time. This was all so unreal and as I sit here a year later, it still feels like a bad dream.
As I sit here and think about all the people involved in my care during my treatment and how they are all an integral part of my treatment and recovery, my thoughts go especially to Sharon, my patient navigator. The first time I met Sharon I was in the genetic counselor’s office. She came in right after I had just had another emotional breakdown and I couldn’t even look at her. I didn’t care who was walking in the door at that moment and couldn’t concentrate on anything except the fact that I was in that office and it was all too much. By the end of that office visit Sharon, along with the genetic counselor, had me making jokes about things and almost feeling a little better.
From that moment on Sharon became my angel, so to speak. She called me often to check up on me and we chatted on email. Whatever question I had she would make it a point to get me an answer. She also connected me with another patient who was around my age and going through the same thing. That patient and I could communicate often about our symptoms and what we were feeling and somehow that made things much better. During my infusions, Sharon would come sit with me and whether she realized it or not, for that time she was there she completely took my mind off of the chemo. We would talk about a lot of things. I remember one office visit, I’m not sure how far in to my treatments I was, she was sitting with me and I asked her if the chemo affected your brain. She replied, “Yes, it’s called chemo brain.” I laughed and told her that was a good one, until I realized she was serious. Then she cracked up at the look on my face when I realized she was indeed serious. It’s the little memories like that which helped make this a bearable journey.
Although my treatments are technically over and I am just going in for check ups now, I still contact Sharon with questions and she still gets back to me. She is reliable, hard working, amazing and an excellent care provider. I know my journey would have been much more stressful if Sharon was not around to guide me through. I am so thankful I was blessed with her as my patient navigator and I know that anyone she is assigned to in the future will be a very lucky patient.
Survivor Since ‘09