The Actual Dance is a play that presents the events of the year 2000 from the point of view of the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. From diagnosis to her life as a survivor, Susan Simon, my wife has endured. An unlikely survivor. The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. This the 4th year of my October daily blogs, my focus is a bit more on myself
Day 14: ONCOLOGY NURSES: “It’s 7 in the morning and Dr. Happy [The nickname I have given the breast surgeon.] is making his rounds. Susan has slowly and steadily recovered her strength and stability in this very short period-of-time. We are enjoying walking around the 7th floor, the cancer floor, with IV stand in tow…” The Actual Dance
This is the start of the post-surgery, post double mastectomy journey. I talked about being in the room and how hard it was for me. I want to spend a moment on often under acknowledged players in this journey. Now, the doctor comes to visit patients in the hospital once or twice a day or if there is an emergency. You see a nurse once and hour or more often. In our case, the nurses tended not just to Susan but also to me – because I camped out in the room with Susan for the first few days of her post-mastectomy recovery. They encouraged me, checked in on me and reassured me. They trained me how to empty “the two plastic bulbs hanging off each side of Susan’s chest filled with a red liquid.” The nurses honored us with a caring attitude and orientation, not just competent care.
Stat of the Day: A National Cancer Institute (NCI) study predicts that the number of cancer patients in the United States will increase by 55 percent between 2005 and 2020, and that oncology visits will increase from 38 million in 2005 to 57 million in 2020 The result is a predicted significant shortage of Oncology workers including nurses.
Task of the Day: Find a local cancer support organization in your community and find out how you can help. Many hospitals and have major support programs, often with oncology nurses leading the programs. They can all use help. Check out the one in our community, INOVA Life with Cancer and find one like it near you.
Resource of the Day: If you are “the other person in the room” and need some help, call a 4th Angel This is an organization in Cleveland that will connect people who need support in their journey with someone who has already been there. I am proud to be a certified 4th Angel. There are similar organizations in other communities and the National Cancer Institute maintains a help line.
The Actual Dance: Performances. Donate