Elizabeth and Maria are our Patient Navigators. A Patient Navigator's role at The Rose is to offer support and guidance to women after diagnosis as they walk through treatment. Here is a story from Elizabeth and one of her patient's Nancy from last week:
"A patient of mine came in to get a wig. As we went through the selection, I asked Nancy how she was doing. She began telling me that everything was going well until her 4th chemo treatment when she started losing her hair. She then had her brother finish the job that the chemo had started. She went on to say that later she worried how her children would react to her new "look". She decided to tell her 9 year old daughter that she had lost her hair due to a reaction when she colored her hair. Her daughter was dismayed but told her to please be careful next time.
Nancy thought for a while about her "little white lie" and remembered the day when she came in for her consult at The Rose. She was so distraught after being told of her diagnosis that she didn't know how to give the news to her children. She had brought her 9 year daughter and 4 year old son with her and they were waiting in the reception area. I offered to help inform them of the news as well as explain what to expect in the coming months. Nancy agreed. Downstairs in the consult room, Elizabeth and I began educating the children of breast cancer and how it would be affecting their mother. We went through the side effects and how they could "help" their mother through some of these tough times. Elizabeth then told the children," when your mom starts to lose her hair don't get scared. No, instead say "YES", " She stated with an accompanying fist pump. " That means that the medicine is working and killing the cancer so your mom can get better." After our little teaching session, the children smiled as they left and hugs were shared all around.
Nancy stated that she had followed our advice and maintained open communication with her children up until then. This white lie had her worried and wondered how this would impact the trust she shared with her children. She decided to clarify things with her daughter. She later explained to her daughter that she was mistaken and that it was not the hair coloring that made her hair fall out but that it was the chemotherapy. She waited for her daughter's response.
A smile grew from ear to ear. " Are you sure Mommy? It was the chemo?"
"Yes, It was the chemo." Nancy replied.
" YES!" she screamed as she jumped and completed a fist pump. " That means the chemo is working. You're getting better!" She then ran to wake up her brother and gave him the news. They had the proof that their mother was getting better. They both jumped for joy and showered their mother with hugs and kisses.
Nancy thanked us at The Rose for taking care of her and helping her children adjust to the new changes to their family's life. She stated that we were her angels that were placed in her path to help her and her family. Nancy left with her beautiful new wig and a swing in her step ready for anything."
|Elizabeth and Maria with books we use to help guide families through the journey of treatment together.|