I recently was diagnosed with grade 2 invasive breast cancer. It doesn't run in my family so I was blindsided by the news. As a nurse, you deal with medical issues everyday but when it is YOU who has to struggle with the issue, it is another story. My brain was immediately flooded by thoughts about how I was going to take care of my ailing husband, continue to work, and get through surgery/radiation/chemotherapy, and what healthcare professionals I could trust. I have no family in Florida, except my children, and I thought, “How was I going to break the news to them?”
I went back to work the next day to see Christine in the parking lot. I decided to approach her, knowing she managed the Oncology Department. Once I opened my mouth and started to share my struggle, she immediately went into action. She connected me with those who would help me in my journey to recovery. She provided me a book to answer many of my questions. She stopped by to give me a hug, a smile... encouragement as I continued to go through diagnostic tests and labs and waiting, for what seemed like forever, the never-ending results.
At one of my lowest points, when I was really having difficulty dealing with the gravity of my situation, she arrived with a gift of a bracelet that said 'be brave' which came with a Winnie-the-Pooh quote that really hit home for me (my children grew up with Pooh). She couldn't have known how much I needed to receive that message at that moment in time.
Chris talked with me, with genuine concern. She asked me how I was going to make it to my follow up appointments after surgery, since I would not be able to drive, and my husband can't drive because of his heart condition, and I have no family. I hadn't even thought about that. Again, Chris jumped right into action and took PTO days to take me to my follow up appointments. She drove me to Tampa three times. She made sure my surgical area was protected. Her truck even took a rock to the windshield on the way back from my doctor's appointment and she just laughed, taking it in her stride. How amazing is that?
Chris helped me with my wounds and gave me the emotional support I needed to face the drastic changes that were happening to my body and in my life.
When I met with Dr. C to talk about my treatment options following surgery, she was there to rejoice with me when I received the news that I would only need to take hormonal therapy since there was only a 4% marginal difference between that and combined hormonal/chemotherapy.
Please know that Chris did not know me personally until the day I approached her, yet she compassionately took on my struggle with me, selflessly, and with a kind caring heart, as if I was a friend she had known all along.
I know why she is the Nurse Manager of Oncology/Infusion Center/Dialysis; it is very, very clear to me. She is an extraordinary nurse that deserves the recognition of the DAISY Award. I can never repay her for her loving-kindness, but I can share it with everyone within our organization that Christine Boyette made a huge difference in my life.