On Tuesday, we had a 70-year-old patient just diagnosed with a neuroblastoma that day which happened to be her 70th birthday. Her spirits were very low and she elected to not go forward with chemo or radiation. Her three daughters were bedside and so devastated because they knew that decision meant this would be her last earthly birthday with them. Cristy Mann, our Oncology APRN, came to my office asking me if I could help decorate. She wanted to throw a party for this patient so at least her last birthday would be special for both her and her daughters. Cristy and I began decorating but realized all we really had was construction paper. I sent a message out to the ER, float pool, case management, and administration to see if they had decorations. Before we knew it, the lobby was filled with people bringing us every decoration you could think of!
The patient said she really just wanted chocolate cupcakes from Sam’s. I don’t have a Sam’s membership but knew we had to get her those cupcakes. I drove to Sam’s and explained the situation to their manager who escorted me in and let me buy the cupcakes for our patient. Suddenly, we had a beautiful party for this lovely family to celebrate their momma one last time on earth.
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to NLR on this family before they left. The daughter tearfully told me, “I can’t believe they did that. I can’t believe they canceled meetings, dropped everything to throw a party for her. We will never, ever forget that and will treasure that memory forever.”
After the party, the patient’s spirits were lifted and she again had hope. She reached out to Cristy and decided to move forward with chemo and radiation. What was originally her last birthday party on earth turned out to be the day she instead chose to fight.