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How a Nurse Helped Me Feel Less Alone During Treatment


After contracting aseptic meningitis from my treatment, I laid in bed hurting and aching with an intense feeling of isolation. I wondered if I would ever be able to reach my goals. This didn’t feel fair, and I was angry at the world. I didn’t understand why I was seemingly the only person to have to go through this.

As my treatments were changed, I was assigned a nurse advocate, Louella. As she called weekly regarding my treatments, she was able to answer my questions and help me understand my condition on my own terms. Living with a primary immunodeficiency disease as well, she was able to to offer me the feeling of companionship, support and encouragement. Feeling lonely on this journey, she continues to be a positive role model of not letting my disease define me.

Even though my weekly treatments can be very physically and emotionally difficult, I am able to rely on her for support and understanding through our monthly phone conversations. Although Louella has helped me escape the feelings of isolation and demonstrated to me how to not let this disease consume me, she has had the biggest impact in the last year where she has shown me the powers of tenacity and being positive.

Though she was diagnosed with bone cancer last year, she continues to work and spread her positive attitude to all those around her. When she is asked how she is doing, she will respond: “I’m alive and I’m able to help others, so I’m doing great!”

Throughout the years, Louella has impacted many lives. I am grateful she has impacted mine. I hope to carry on her positive attitude and tenacity to others through my future careers and interactions and have the same ripple effect of a positive impact that Louella has had on me and many others.

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Thinkstock photo via Jochen Sands.