I have been an RN at PeaceHealth for 4 years, but for the last 2 years, I have also been a parent of a child with cancer. My son was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer in February of 2016. He was 4 years old. Since then his countless doctors' visits, imaging appointments, surgeries and chemotherapy treatments have all taken place in Portland. This means that for the past 2 years we have had to displace school, work, and our entire lives, in order to commute to Portland on a weekly basis and treat our son.
On multiple occasions, he was admitted to the Pediatric unit at Riverbend for days at a time due to fevers and neutropenia. During one exceptionally long admission, we had Devon as our nurse. She radiated care and compassion with every interaction. I shared our story and told her about the extensive time we spent traveling to Portland and being away from home. She asked why my son's chemotherapy could not be administered locally and I told her that despite having both oncology and pediatric unit at Riverbend, nobody wanted to take on the responsibility of treating children with cancer. She sat and listened, then told me she would try and find a way. After our conversation, she approached the Pediatric manager and asked to be chemo-trained and certified. She was also able to get 2 other nurses trained. We now have my son's pediatrician, pharmacy and an oncology nurse on board and he is scheduled to receive his next chemotherapy at Riverbend. There is no precedent for this at our hospital. Devon went above and beyond to make this happen for our family and my son. Being able to have chemotherapy administered locally will go such a long way towards improving our lives and reducing the amount of exhaustion we feel on a daily basis. There are no words to describe the devastation that cancer has had on our family. Our highest priority is to make sure our son's quality of life is the best it can be because the future is not promised. This nurse's compassion, initiative, and determination have made this possible, and to us, that is invaluable.