I am a pediatric oncology nurse. I take care of kids with cancer. Words are not my specialty. I don’t have the flair to take all those thoughts swirling around in my head and put them nicely on paper. When I am driving in the car my thoughts can be very eloquent. When I get a piece of paper (or a computer screen) in front of me my sentences are slow and choppy. I want to share my thoughts with you so forgive my lack of eloquence.
I like to think that I will leave a legacy of hope. When people ask me what I do and I tell them I work with kids with cancer, they tell me “I could never do that! I am too_____________.” Take you pick of words: sensitive, caring, emotional. I know the truth. They cannot do what I do because they don’t have enough hope. I have hope because I believe. I believe I make a difference. I believe better things will come. I believe that there is goodness in the world. Maybe that makes it all seem too simple, but I do believe that hope is the key. I believe that in pediatric oncology you will find more optimists than in other areas.
I share my hope with the patients and families. I have an endless supply. My hopes are not always the same. I have hope that they will defeat their cancer. I have hope that they will go home, go to school, grow up, have children of their own, and come back to visit me in the future. I have other hopes too. I hope to give them support and strength. I hope families know how much we cherish their child. I hope they feel loved and cared for by all of the wonderful people who take care of them at the hospital. I hope that the hospital can be a safe place for them when they cannot be home. I hope for a good quality to their life. I hope for an end to their pain. I hope for wonderful warm memories to sustain their family if they are not able to defeat the cancer. I hope for their memory to be carried by many people. I hope for the memory of those we cured and those we helped but could not cure to sustain us in the future.
I am lucky because I have touched people’s lives. Many people are not as lucky as I am. I am entrusted to be part of the team that cares for a child and their family. I might have helped to save a life. On the other hand, not all of my patients have survived their disease. Yet I have touched all of their families. I hope that I was a positive influence. But it is not just the families or patients who need my hope. I share it with the other members of the healthcare team. All of us run low on hope sometime. I too must admit that on occasion I hope for a quiet day. Sometimes I just hope that I will remember all the things I have to do. But usually I hope that things will go well for the patients.
I hope that we intrude as little as possible on their lives of our patients and families. But I also hope that when they need us we are here. I hope when they need to talk with someone they can pick up their phone and call me or open the door to their hospital room and find a friendly face. I hope that we can listen when they need to talk. I hope that we can help them carry their burden when it is too heavy. I hope they never feel alone on their journey. I hope we see the child and the family rather than the disease. I hope that parents know how blessed they are to have their child. Each child is a blessing and I hope everyone who is touched by a child knows how lucky they are. Oh, the hopes I have for you…………
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