As a perfectly healthy 36-year-old Mom of 4, getting breast cancer was the worst thing that could have happened to me. I didn't know anyone who had it, so I had no idea what to expect. I started chemo right away and met Barbara just a week after getting my diagnosis. My husband was with me and we were both so scared.
Barbara came into our room and immediately put us both at ease. She had a take-charge attitude that made us feel like she knew what she was doing and that we could sit back and relax as much as possible. My husband and I had so many questions about what we should expect with my treatments and Barbara took her time answering each one. She even joked that since we had so many kids, we should use this chemo time as a date. We hadn't laughed since we got my diagnosis, but she kept making jokes and lightening the mood. I remember sitting on the train with my husband after my first treatment and both of us saying we felt so lucky to be working with Barbara.
Sometimes during cancer treatments, how someone can make you feel is more important than what they do for you. I worked with Barbara for all of my treatments for over a year. I called my Mom to tell her I didn't mind going in because Barbara was my nurse. It put her at ease to know I felt confident about my care.
During one of my treatments, I had a strange reaction to the steroids; I was nervous and the first person I thought to call was Barbara. She took my call right away and treated my concerns seriously. She tracked down my care team and helped me get to the bottom of my problem.
While having cancer, I often felt alone, but having Barbara supporting me, advocating for me, and answering my questions, made it all so much more doable. I began to look forward to seeing Barbara each week both because she is a fine person to be around and also because she had clearly been through all this before with other patients and did a really good job of preparing me each time my treatments changed. She would tell me what to expect and how to make the side effects more manageable.
Barbara needs to be recognized for consistently going above and beyond for her patients, all while keeping it real, being positive, and using all of her knowledge to support and prepare her patients.