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Topics About 'Leukemia'.

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Found 4 results

  1. NurseSamm

    My Nurse Hero

    I had just started my first RN job on the blood and marrow unit. Early on I realized this unit was tough and many of the patients die, but I knew it was where I was meant to be. This story is about a nurse who is a nurse hero- and the person who inspired me to pursue my doctorate in nursing practice. I met this nurse less than a month after working on the BMT unit. By then I had learned the privilege of administering a stem cell transplant- that meant a new chance at life, and the privilege of helping someone die peacefully. This nurse was fighting acute leukemia At first when I walked into her room for day shift she intimidated me. She was nauseated and asking for Ativan, she was strong and demanding and she instantly recognized me as a new graduate nurse. After the first shift with her I relaxed, and she started to teach me lessons. She taught me how to “properly” get the bubbles out of IV lines, and tricks like having her raise her arm to get blood to draw from her central line I would bring her coffee with meds and she would jokingly scold me saying prioritizing my time didn’t include bringing her coffee! I knew she was a nurse from the day I met her, first because she was brilliant and second because as my patient, she was teaching me how to do my job. The other dead giveaway was her love for coffee and how she would teach a class from her mac during chemo. Some days she was weak On those weak days her sarcastic wit never diminished, but it was clear she was fighting. She still got up every day and walked laps in the hall. When she found out her cells were not responding to chemo and she relapsed, her first sentence was “okay, what trial can I do?”. She was a fierce fighter and ended up in a trial of CAR-T cells (something brand new at the time). While being her nurse we had conversations of my future and how I had considered going to nurse practitioner school but was not sure this was the right move for me. When the day came for transplant ... I was assigned another patient but she requested I be her nurse. The transplant went well, and I was excited what this could mean for her survival. The next day the night nurse told me she was having a reaction- Cytokine release syndrome. This causes a massive inflammatory response and for her-cardiogenic shock, DIC, and multiorgan failure. She looked absolutely miserable and unrecognizable when I went in her room. Over the next 2 days I watched her suffer and tried to keep her pain, fever, and confusion repressed as she transitioned to comfort cares. By the end of my third 12-hour shift she was almost unresponsive, her words meek whispers. I felt helpless. I couldn’t believe how fast this brilliant, witty, spit-fire woman had become too weak to sit up in bed. Then she whispered ... At the end of my shift, I held her hand, thanking her for teaching me. Asking her if there was anything I could do to help, she whispered ... ... go get that doctorate because you’ll make a damn good NP one day I felt the tears well up and told her I would. I applied to the program later that night. I am halfway through my doctorate now and think of her often. She was one of the greatest hero’s nursing will ever know. 
  2. EMTP2RN2007

    Be A Nurse

    Before I ever thought about going to nursing school, I was a paramedic. Paramedics are taught suppress their emotions at all costs. Emotions take time and time is a luxury when one has a maximum of 15 minutes on scene time to stabilize a patient and rush them to the hospital. The "golden hour" is the absolute gold standard of care. Emotions become easier and easier to suppress when there is no time to bond to the patient; there is always another...and another...and another. And never, ever enough time. Just once, as a paramedic, I cried for a patient. I waited until the doctor called time of death and then cried for the 15 year old drowning victim that I couldn't save. My preceptor told me if he ever saw me cry again, I was finished in EMS. Fast forward 10 years. I graduated from nursing school and found myself working on the oncology unit of a major children's hospital. Nursing is the very essence of caring. On our unit, nursing meant administering medications and holding hands. Hugging parents when their child's blood count is bad--and when it is good. Caring for a child with brain cancer night after night, knowing that their chance of survival is less than 5 percent--and holding that child while the parents take a much needed break. But, first and foremost I was a paramedic. I could perform the functions of a good nurse, but I hadn't yet learned to feel. I hadn't learned to be a nurse. I was a new graduate when I met the baby who would teach me. He was two days old, diagnosed with infantile ALL (leukemia he was born with). He would never go home. For seven months we cared for him. The unit adopted him. On Halloween we dressed him in his pumpkin costume. He learned to smile when we came into his room. He tried to roll over. He gained weight and grew. But still we could not get him into remission. On Christmas we dressed him in his Santa suit. He was chubby and able to sit up and grin when we came in the room. More often than not a nurse would be holding him at the desk, or pulling him around the unit in his cart. He learned to babble and wave. He got sicker and was intubated and sent to the PICU. His parents wanted us to do everything for him, so we went to the PICU to give him his chemotherapy. Still we couldn't get him into remission. I completed my preceptorship and became independent with patients of my own. The more experienced nurses took care of him, but I visited him every day I worked. I became attached. Just after Christmas, his parents decided to take him off of life support. They bundled him up in blankets and took him up to our unit to wait for him to die. He was gone before they got off of the elevator, but they sat in the palliative care suite on our unit for hours while we went in to say good-bye, to give his parents a hug and to cry. To cry for a baby whose entire life was needles and medicine, vomiting and fevers, and still he learned to smile. His funeral was on a Saturday. I couldn't go because I had to work. I had to be a nurse.
  3. greenergrass

    Lives Forever Changed - I am Glad!

    Tom was 35 years old when he got sick. A strong police officer, Tom never expected to be diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. One day he was on the SWAT Team, breaking down doors, gun in hand, fighting the bad guys. That afternoon, he went to his regular blood donation appointment. By evening, he was admitted to the hospital. In 2 days he was told his career was over & maybe his life. With his version of AML, Tom chances of surviving 2 years were 19%. His entire life was changed. Thin, active, married with a young stepson, Tom had a plan. Cancer was NOT in the plan. Tom's wife was a nurse, his doctor was her friend. Together, they broke the news. No more police work, chemotherapy would start immediately & continue over the next year. Major life changes would occur. Plans would have to be made. Tom did not react, he was incredibly stoic. His friends rallied. Two shaved their heads. The biggest blood drive in Central Florida was organized, bone marrow was collected. Tom got sicker. His wife began her research. The doctor worried. One day, Tom's wife decided she could no longer tolerate the idea of 19% survival rates. Her research revealed that a stem cell transplant had the potential to improve Tom's survival odds to 50%. The fight began. Without the doctor's knowledge, she submitted Tom for transplant at the best center for AML in the country. Blood was secretly sent. The wife waited with bated breath. She prayed. The doctor found out. An angry confrontation ensued. "Why did you do this behind my back?" the doctor accused. "Why didn't you offer us all the options?" the wife pleaded! "I couldn't stand for you to be disappointed when there were no matches," the doctor admitted. Everyone waited. September 11th, 2001 brought the news. The very day and the very moment of the attacks on the World Trade Center - I got a call saying that my husband & his sister were a 100%, 6 allele match for a stem cell transplant! I couldn't stop crying! Tom, my husband, might live! Frantically, we began making arrangements. Immediate action was needed if we were to stop this disease and reclaim our lives. Somehow, we were able to board a plane on September 13th and fly to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for Tom's intake assessment. We made every connection - while all planes were grounded, we traveled with flight crews being repositioned throughout the country. Tom is now 7 years cancer free. My husband is the patient who changed my life & my nursing practice. I now know what it is like to be afraid at the bedside of a patient. I now know what it is like to wait, uncertain, desperate for information. I know what it feels like when someone you love has life hanging by the very thread. I know what it is like to have options withheld. I know the pain of having to leave & go to work, not knowing if my loved one is being cared for. Now, I know. I will never be the same nurse. I am glad.
  4. goldens

    Remember the Days Before My Death

    When I approached him by calling his name, he smiled and said "Hi, I am fine. Are you here to play with me? I smiled back and replied. I was so pleased to see that little wonder until I remembered his diagnosis. I asked myself, Is this the one who is battling Leukemia? At the same time, I asked God about the little one's fault to be cursed that way. I got no answer and feel like crying. But soon I maintained my composure and involved in the routine work. Later that night I could not talk to him because he was sound asleep. In the morning, when I went for the routine assessment he asked me what his vitals are and I told him the findings. I was surprised when a 4-year-old kid behaved that way. I was shocked again when he asked me about his treatment plans and his role. He also took my breath away when he asked me not to be surprised by his actions because he knows that he has Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (he even know the type) and wants to be involved in the treatment process. I was completely speechless to see a 4-year-old child speaking like that. After a while, my shift was over and I had to leave. It was also my last night that week so I was kind of excited for the day off. That day at home I tried to get rest but couldn't. I was thinking about that smart kid and his nice smile. It was not the first time I saw a kid in that situation, but surely it was the very first time I saw a kid acting like an adult. I tried to distract myself from thinking of him and started to watch a movie. It helped me a lot when my friend asked me to go shopping. We went to a beautiful shopping mall and bought some fancy dresses. The other day passed the same way. Again, it was time for my day duty. Once I entered the ward, I was looking forward to seeing that wonderful child. After the nursing reporting, I came to know that he is on Induction therapy of treatment. My co-worker also mentioned that he helped to select the vein for IV insertion. I could not be more stunned. Later when I went to see him, he screamed, "Oh you were the night nurse the other day, I recognized you, did you take enough rest?" My heart melted after hearing that. I knew I was being emotional and weak too. I could not resist and cry in the bathroom. At that day, I got a chance to talk with his parents. I was so cheerless to know that he is their only kid. The father seemed to be brave but the mother could not hold her tears. I actively listened to them, whatever they had to say and also answered some queries they had. They were so proud of him. Days passed watching his magical ways of handling his problem. Each day with him was a learning day for me. His braveness, courage, hope taught me a lot. After 14 days of hospitalization, he was discharged. He was so happy to go home and had a plan about things he wanted to do. We were also glad to send him home with improved condition. After some time we heard that he is receiving further treatment at a nearby hospital from his home. His father used to call us at times. After a year and a half, when I was visiting one of my relatives in the same city, I ran into his parents. I saw a newborn baby with them, but I did not see him. I was so terrified so ask about him, but I did. His father replied, "He is with us". I was so relieved until I found out the truth. When we further talked, I came to know that he did not survive from the Consolidation therapy. It was so hard for me to hear that during his last moments he asked a promise from his parents that they will have another baby soon. I still remember when he said this "If I die, you all should remember my days before I die, not the day I die". He was brave, courageous, hopeful, hilarious, funny, amusing, adorable, charming and so on. I could not be more inspired by anybody else.
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