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from an oncology nurse

bestmom
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2010

I have been an oncology nurse for the past 3 years at a major medical center in northern california. I became a nurse because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She went into remission, relapsed, went into remission again, and relapsed for the final time. I lost her October 31st 2009. We were very close and I miss her so much. I designed my career around helping and caring for her and now I dont know what to do with myself. I cant be an oncology nurse anymore - it's too painful. I feel guilty for letting her die. Why didnt I suggest city of hope? Or seek out a second opinion when the oncologist said there was nothing left to be done? I knew better and I had all the tools and knowledge to prevent this from happening. I was just in a state of shock and not thinking clearly. I just want her back.

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grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

I know others will or have told you this, but guilt really is a wasted emotion. I am sure that you did the best you could do at the time. We can all second guess ourselves, but we will never know what the outcomes of our would ofs, could ofs might have been. I can tell you are hurting. Grief and the grieving process take time and work. Please don't beat yourself up. You are not responsible for your mother's death, cancer is. Direct your anger at that. Maybe some day you will be able to go back to your work as an oncology nurse. Don't rush it, but you could bring so much comfort to those going through the same battle you have. You will always miss your mom. She had a special place in your heart and life as you did in hers. Keep those memories alive while trying to find a way forward. Get whatever help you need from a grief counselor, grief group, or this board. Know that you are not alone. I lost my husband of 42years to colon cancer in Oct., 09. Sometimes the grief is so strong it overwhelms me. I try to accept that he is gone and live with my new normal, but it can be really tough at times. Thankfully, I am blessed with good friends and a supportive family. Take care of yourself. Fay

livestrong_fighter's picture
livestrong_fighter
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2009

Don't blame yourself. You've done an extraordinary job already. In my eyes, my oncology nurses are real angels. They can't be more caring. I guess you are just one of them. Battle with cancer is tough and there is no guarantee it will win. I hope you continue being an angel and bring smiles to other patients like me.

Your mom will be in my prayer!

Cindy Bear
Posts: 560
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello. I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. I lost my mom to uterine cancer last year. I can tell you that I have spent alot of time kicking myself in the a**. I wished we had pushed harder to make her go for a second opinion. I regret not going to the chemo orientation with her. My sister took her. Because they glossed over the side effects and I do not feel they were truthful with us. It's not your fault your mother got cancer. We'll never know why our mom got it. She lived a very healthy lifestyle. In addition to being angry at myself and God and fate and her medical team, and angry at her for getting sick, for leaving us for not being more assertive with her dcotors. I've been doing alot of why her? why cancer? why stage Iv. We'll never know why things happen the way they do. Since my mother was diagnosed I find myself saying, It is what it is and what happens happens. It's become a sort of mantra. Please don't beat yourself up and please consider staying with nursing. If not oncology, a different nursing field. Most of my mother's nurses were wonderful. They really did make a difference. Good luck to you.

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