.....You know, 'the post that is an update that really isn't an update post.....!'
OK! So I have been a bit slack the last little bit...but that doesn't mean that I haven't been doing anything. (edit - this post started as an update post but ended up a little different - sorry!)
I have, as most of you would know, resigned from my position as an oncology nurse. It was a big decision to make and definately not made in haste (but one has to know when it is time to move on) and it WAS time for me to move on! I would like to say that it was sad to say goodbye, but I didn't really say goodbye - I just up and left.
In leaving, I am taking away many years of very fond memories and saying goodbye to many wonderful collegues. I am also walking away from some of the most inspiring people I know - my patients. To be a part of so many wonderful peoples lives and to have had some impact on them is something that I will treasure forever. Many people have said to me over the years "It must be a sad job" or "You must be an angel, how do you do it?" To them I say it can be sad. There are times where you know that even if you give everything you have, the end result will not be what anyone wants.
There are times where you come home and just want to cry....when the 40 year old woman with breast cancer, with the 1 and 3 year old children dies; when the husband or wife of someone married for 40, 50 and even 60 years dies; when the 50 year old with teenage children dies; when the 21 year old with sarcoma is told they wont see another year; when someone looses a Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Best friend or anyone they love or worse someone they never told they loved; when a young woman or man is told they will never have children of their own - Yes it is sad!
BUT ....... it can be amazing too!
We often see people as they REALLY are.....we see into their very hearts and souls. If we are lucky enough to be allowed in, we get to know their hopes and dreams, their fears, their regrets, their achievements. We really get to see the love that they have for their families and the love that their families have for them. We get to hold their hand and give them a hug when it seems all hope is lost, sometimes that is all we can do!
Cancer patients have a different way of looking at life, they have taught me to literally not sweat the small stuff. When someone complains about grey hairs I think they are lucky to have hair. When someone is complaining about getting another year older I think it is better than not getting another year older. When my kids are annoying the bejesus out of me, I try to remember I am lucky to be here to witness them growing up.
Another thing to remember is not all cancer patients die! Some actually walk out and never ever have to see us again. To be told by a patient "Thank you - I hope I never see you again" are words that maybe only a oncology nurse/doctor etc. could appreciate! To walk down the street and be greeted by someone with a huge hug and 'Hello Anthea (and you have no idea who I am because I have hair, colour, weight, energy, etc.)' is a wonderful feeling. And when a patient does die - the honour of being by their bedside; often with their family and knowing that you have done everything you can do to make them as comfortable as possible is a feeling that I can not even begin to explain.
To my collegues - most of you are people I will continue to call a friend and I look forward to our future get togethers. To my patients; no - I did not say goodbye, for that I am truly sorry! Please remember though, I will never ever forget you all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the lessons, laughs and love that you have given me over the past ten years.
May the "Chemo Angel" we made keep watching over you all! ;)