Jean's Letter

Dear Mark and All The River Listeners,

My name is Nettie and I’m a nurse navigator with the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center.  I am writing to share with you the story of a grieving woman who struggled for months deciding if she should even do surgery and treatment after her breast cancer diagnosis.

Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year.  After a suspicious self-exam, Jean went in for a mammogram and received the news that she had breast cancer.  Jean felt very much alone and considered not doing any treatment.  She lost a young adult son a few years ago and her grief has weighed her down so much that she hasn’t felt much joy from life.  The decision to follow up with her cancer treatment didn’t come easily.  She has been fighting her grief alone and has very little family support.  Taking on breast cancer and treatment for it wasn’t easy.  When I talked with her, she expresses gratitude for the encouragement, love and support from our team.  After canceling and rescheduling her surgery three times, she finally decided to go to church and “leave it at the alter”.  She gave it to God, scheduled her surgery, and is now doing chemo and radiation. Jean overcame tremendous obstacles in her life to follow through with these life-altering, major decisions.

Jean has had a tumultuous adult life losing a young adult son and a sister, she got lost in her grief.  When the news of her diagnosis came, she felt despair. Her resources are so limited she had to move in with a friend but she hopes to eventually move in with her elderly parents and assist them by providing some home care. We wanted her to have some extra attention this holiday season.  She has eight grandchildren who haven’t been able to afford to be spoiled. She would love to treat them with holiday gifts and a family meal. For herself, she truly wants peace.  Peace about going through with her treatment, peace from her grief, and joy in her everyday life.  Jean doesn’t need or ask for much for herself. It would be so nice if your listeners could give her a luxury of a new outfit for church or some nice meals with her parents or grandchildren.

She is doing her best to get the emotional support she needs by making sure she doesn’t cancel any more important medical appointments.  I am really proud of her efforts!  When it was time to consider patients for Christmas Wish, she quickly came to mind. She deserves positive experiences this holiday season and joy to surround her.

It is my hope your listeners find a way to help her with holiday happiness.  Thank you so much for sharing her story.

Wishing you a joyous season,
Nettie Giuseffi
Nurse Navigator
Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute
at Memorial University Medical Center

Photo: Getty Images

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