Honoring Caregivers

When a Nurse is the Grateful Patient

Joyce Favreau of the Short Stay Unit donated to the Foundation of CVPH’s Honor A Caregiver program after being treated for breast cancer here.  “I want honor these caregivers. Please accept this donation on behalf the Women’s Imaging Center, Ambulatory Care Center and Radiology Oncology. The diagnosis was life changing but the care you provided has made a positive as an experience as it could be. I appreciate all of you and the care you have provided. Not only for my care but for the care you have provided and will provide in the future. You are unsung heroes of this organization, working behind the scenes and making a difference in patients’ lives.   She shared her story with the Foundation:

It with gratitude and appreciation for the work that people do that I honor the caregivers that make a difference in patients’ lives. Many of you will just consider this as part of your job, but having experienced the work you do is worth my sharing my story to say thank you for the care you provide to every patient, every day. Earlier this year I had a routine mammogram at WIC. Sometimes, after the screening, women are called back to WIC for a repeat mammogram and I was called back. I didn’t think much about this. I would just go, get it repeated and be on my way. I knew that many times the repeat mammogram is nothing significant, just done to be certain that there were no changes from the last one. At this second WIC appointment I waited for the technician to tell me all was well and I could go home. Instead, she asked me to go speak to the radiologist.  I listened to Dr. Snyder and he was showing me an image and explaining the abnormality. I heard “clumps of calcium that usually is suspicious for cancer.”  I was feeling as if I didn’t really have cancer because I don’t have a family history of the disease and didn’t’ feel anything (during breast self exam). I continued to take the news “lightly” even as a biopsy was scheduled.  I thought of the biopsy in a matter of fact way – something to get done but still - did not entertain the notion that I really did have cancer. The WIC technicians were very informative and explained everything before and during the biopsy procedure. It wasn’t until I looked at the large bore needle used in the biopsy did reality hit me.  I got a call a few days later from Dr. Buran who shared that my diagnosis was ductal carcinoma in-situ. He said, “if you were going to get cancer; this was the cancer to get.” My surgical appointment was already made for later in the week and as I hung up the phone, I had a mix of emotions. I was not sure what to expect next or who to turn to for more information. As a nurse, my nursing experience was not in oncology. And, I am used to caring for patients but I was the patient. I knew very little about cancer and its treatment.

My surgery took place in the Ambulatory Surgery Center was comforting because I had worked with many of the staff members. I knew I would be in good hands.  The plan post surgery was to have radiation but the following weeks were filled with physician appointments and tests. I was not in control of what needed to be done. I was on a need to know basis. When I needed to be told then I could find out the next step. Early on in this journey, I shared with others only a need to know basis but as time marched on, I became more comfortable in talking about it. 

I’m truly the lucky one to have had may cancer found very early.  I want to thank everyone who cared for me: from receptionists, technicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons and all who have talked and supported me through this journey. I knew I would be just fine. After all I had a great team taking care of me. Everyone was wonderful. They were all very professional, kind, courteous, and compassionate. I would like to add a special recognition to the radiology teams from WIC and radiation oncology. You care for women at a very vulnerable time in their lives. When we get the diagnosis of cancer, it’s a life changing event. Your compassion and support is comforting.