I first met Nurse Cheryl during my induction chemotherapy stay at Methodist Hospital. Determined to do everything I could to overcome my leukemia, each day I would go across the 3rd floor to the CAGT to use the exercise equipment for an hour or so. While riding the exercise bike one day, a nurse walking by, smiled, and stopped to say hello - it was Nurse Cheryl.
Our initial conversation was in regards to the Chicago Cubs button she wears. Turns out we are both from Chicago and were both excited that the Cubs were doing so well that season (this was late summer, 2016). As my induction stay continued, Nurse Cheryl and I would have these short visits every couple of days. I recall that she was always smiling, positive, and genuinely interested in how I was doing (despite me not being her patient or even part of her unit).
A couple of months later, when I officially entered the CAGT inpatient unit for my consolidation chemotherapy and the stem-cell transplant, Nurse Cheryl would come over from outpatient every couple of days to say hello, check-in on me, and talk about the Cubs' progress. These visits and Nurse Cheryl's genuine kindness and caring truly brightened my day. As we got to know each other, she shared her personal story of her husband's transplant with my wife and me and took a genuine interest in our story.
Her compassion and interest truly helped motivate me during some of the rough times during that late fall. Likewise, she was so very reassuring and calming to my wife who would get understandably anxious and feel like she needed to be doing more than she already was. An example of her caring and motivation was when she brought me a Chicago Cubs "W" (win) flag from one of the playoff games that she and her husband traveled for. She said that just like the Cubs, I would "win" against Leukemia!
Once I transitioned from inpatient to outpatient CAGT, Cheryl kindly and patiently walked my wife through all of the homecare procedures (port flushes, etc.). On my outpatient visits, we were always so pleased when she was assigned as our nurse. I noticed that she was always completely thorough and focused on me during my blood draws, transfusions, etc. When she was not my nurse for an outpatient visit, she would still make it a point to check in on me to make sure I was okay and had everything I needed (pillow, drink, snack, warm blanket, etc.).
One fond example was for one of my bone marrow biopsies - my wife was unable to be there, and so Nurse Cheryl was there to make sure I was comfortable and even held my hand during the painful procedure. There are countless other examples of her kindness and caring (sharing her personal cell phone with my wife in case we had questions regarding my home care, giving us some special Valentine's Day cookies for our boys, checking in with my wife after Hurricane Harvey to make sure we were okay and had our meds, and the list goes on and on). My wife calls her one of our angels, and we both feel she is a true blessing not only to us but to other patients we have seen her kindly caring for during our journey.
She has the very special gift of being able to truly empathize and support her patients and their loved ones while being a phenomenal nurse as well. She is always very thorough, careful, and gentle. Thank you, Cheryl, for your genuine kindness, compassion, friendliness, and inspiration. You are a true gift to your patients!