It happened yesterday. I was happily charting away on a patient and a nurse said "Sara", I looked up and she said to me "You are such an inspiration to me. I am just back to work after a year long battle with breast cancer." We talked about her surgeries, chemotherapy and eventual reconstruction. She asked me about how I was doing on tamoxifen and I was honest with her. I've had minimal side effects and that as long as I keep running/moving that I in general feel ok. I told her in the past 1.5 years my hot flashes have been non-existent. Her face lit up with that nugget. We talked about how her dogs thought she was crazy as she walked them 3 times a day during chemotherapy and that she admits to feeling better with movement. I congratulated her on getting back to work and let her know that the fatigue would improve. We chatted about how the recommendation for tamoxifen is now 10 years and how adjusting to new medications go.
I now will look for her in the hallway and share our survivor stories.
She also asked me my favorite question "How long has it been?" "4 years in February". The mix of "wow" and the distant look in her eyes as she tried to process that she will be able to put that distance between herself and cancer treatment was all to familiar. It made me grateful for all of those who shared their stories with me, even when I couldn't imagine putting 4 years between myself and treatment.
Happy Holidays.....................to you