Whether you’re a survivor, currently are battling it, or are watching a friend or family member fight it, cancer likely has impacted your life in some way. That’s why Scrubs is proud to be linking up with Warriors in Pink, Ford’s campaign to fight breast cancer with stories of hope. In that spirit of hope, we asked our nurses for the stories of the warriors in their lives–read on for their tearjerker responses and share your own with us below.
1. My warrior is me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 33 years old. At a time when I should have been building my career, having a family and enjoying adulthood, I was sitting in an infusion suite and talking to oncologists. Getting a cancer diagnosis can be a destructive thing, but I was determined to turn my sudden life detour into a positive “road less traveled.” I examined my life, got rid of the unhealthy elements and embraced things that fed by soul. This led to a total career change. I quit my cushy, salaried office job, went to nursing school and emerged an RN. I gave up the corporate expense account, private office and entertaining clients in favor of butt wiping, IV starting and the occasional heart-felt thank you. Many of my coworkers think I am a candidate for psychiatric care, but I have never been happier. I truly feel that my experiences as a surgery, ER, ICU, radiation, chemotherapy patient have made me the compassionate, caring nurse I am today–and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
—Alexandra P., winner of our Code Pink/Warriors in Pink Giveaway
2. The warrior in my life was my mother. Although she didn’t have breast cancer, she left this world at only 47 due to lung cancer. My mother inspired me to become the nurse I am today. My mother was not a nurse, but had every intention to finish school and become a nurse. My mother had me at the age of 15. Down the road I ended up with three sisters. My mother raised all of us on her own. She never had assistance from the government and sometimes worked three jobs. My mother became the first female firefighter in our county in the 1980s. She had to prove herself in order to get there. She was invited to training and she beat all the males on the course. Mind you, she was only 5′ 2″ and about 120 pounds. She became a paramedic shortly after. My mother was a leader. She became lieutenant of the rescue squads in our county. She fought for our area to receive rescue trucks. My mother worked at a small town hospital for over 20 years in the cardiopulmonary department. My mom was one of the best warriors I know.
—Mishanda G., runner-up in our Code Pink/Warriors in Pink Giveaway
3. No one can say my 84-year-old grandmother is not a survivor! In February of 2007, after being diagnosed with breast cancer the previous month, my grandmother, then 78 years of age, underwent a modified radical mastectomy, where the whole breast is removed, along with the lymph nodes under the arm. At the time my grandmother was fighting this disease, she had lost two of her three children and her husband had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She forged on, and has survived the deaths of all three of her children, her husband, and two heart attacks and numerous other health issues. She is now battling more disease, as she in the hospital while doctors are trying to figure out why and where from she is bleeding, and how to treat her heart while her kidneys are failing. She is my hero; my inspiration. She has held together through so much tragedy and loss, where many would understandably fall. She is the modicum of true strength and my life is and has been enriched and blessed with her as my grandmother and as my best friend!
4. My friend Amber was diagnosed in spring of 2011. We were midway through the LPN program when she found out she had breast cancer. She scheduled her chemo and radiation around our hectic school schedule. She was a trooper. During second semester she had a double mastectomy. Once again, she scheduled it around class and clinical. She had the surgery on a Thursday, and was back in school Monday, drains and all. Not once did she miss a day of school. She never complained or even cried. During our pinning ceremony, one of our instructors mentioned her, and broke down in tears saying how much she admired her, and how no one had a good excuse to miss class anymore. She has been so amazing through her journey. She is 2 years cancer-free! I am honored to call this warrior my friend.
5. I am a breast cancer survivor. My sister is the warrior in my life. When I was diagnosed, I lived in Illinois, and she lived in Nebraska. She came to be with my kids when I had my mastectomy, and stayed to care for me when I came home. Two weeks later, my husband and I moved with our children to Nebraska to be closer to my family while I underwent treatment. At that point, my sister traveled two hours each way every two weeks for my chemo treatments. She owned her own business, and left that, and her husband, without a word of complaint ever, to be my companion. She even stayed with me on her birthday so I didn’t have to go to a treatment alone. I am not the first woman that my amazing sister has accompanied to treatments, and unfortunately, I was not the last. Even though my sister has not had cancer treatments herself, she has had the most difficult job of them all…watching those she loves go through treatments.
6. My 15-year-old son is my warrior. He was diagnosed with leukemia at just 21 months old. He has been through so much with chemotherapy, hospital visits, treatments and procedures. He has also gone through me and his father’s divorce. Three years ago he was bullied at school and became so depressed he couldn’t even get out of bed. Two years ago he was diagnosed with anxiety and put on medication. I am happy to say he is doing a lot better and he is so much happier. He struggles with learning disabilities caused by the intrathecal chemo he had to receive; however, he has courageously has faced these situations with the help of supportive people and those who love him very much. He has taught me patience, kindness, love and gentleness. He is truly my warrior.
7. My warrior is my husband. He always thinks of himself last. He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq four times as a bomb tech. He said the IEDs killed so many of his brothers he felt that’s where he was led to serve. A couple months after his last deployment, his dad was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma of the brain. My husband asked for a humanitarian transfer home, ending any chance of continuing his military career, to care for his dad. He was the primary caregiver for his dad, never complaining once, even to me, during the last four months of his dad’s life. I have never, ever seen more compassion and love. He is a true warrior and our hero!
8. I work in an emergency room with a nurse who was diagnosed with breast cancer while 22 weeks pregnant. She had immediate surgery and chemo. Throughout this journey she carried the child to 36 weeks and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy. She has never given up, and she was working up to her delivery date. She never had a pity party, and came to work with a wig when she lost her hair. She is a phenomenal nurse and inspiration who is fighting cancer but never lets it define her. I am blessed to know her and work alongside her. Nurses like her are an extreme credit to our profession.
Who’s the warrior in your life?