Kansas mother of two Lindsay Norris has worked as oncology nurse her entire adult life.
It’s her passion.
She started off just scheduling patients, but worked her way to nursing assistant soon after.
When she finally became a full-blown nurse, she couldn’t be happier.
It gave her the chance to guide cancer patients through challenging times.
But in September, she received a shocking diagnosis.
Norris, 33, had cancer herself.
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Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I’m sorry. I didn’t get. https://herecomesthesun927.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/dear-every-cancer-patient-i-ever-took-care-of-im-sorry-i-didnt-get-it/ #herecomesthesun #cancersucks #fightCRC #colorectalcancer #nurse #oncologynurse #kucancercenter #igotthis #dearpatient #cancersucks
The mother was diagnosed with stage III colorectal adenocarcinoma and had to undergo months of radiation and chemotherapy, reports People.
Now a sufferer of the devastating disease, she understands what her patients go through on a daily basis.
So she decided to write them all in an open letter:
“Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.”
She described what it was like being on the other side of the diagnosis:
“I didn’t get what it felt like to actually hear the words.”
“I’ve been in on countless diagnoses conversations and even had to give the news myself on plenty of occasions, but being the person the doctor is talking about is surreal.”
In the letter, she lists out many of the heartbreaking misconceptions she held about being a cancer patient:
“I didn’t get how hard the waiting is…I didn’t get how much you hung on to every word I said to you…I didn’t get what it felt like to get the sad looks all the time…I didn’t get how weird it felt to be called ‘brave’.”
But the mom, who has a 3-year-old and 7-month-old, says she regrets most not understanding the impact cancer had on parents with cancer:
“I didn’t get how much you worried about your kids…You worried about how this was going to affect them.
You worried about not being able to keep up with them or care for them properly on your bad days.”
Norris told the Daily Mail she wanted to write the letter after gaining a new understanding of cancer:
“I just feel like I could relate in a different way and I was inspired to write about my new perspective.”
She is currently receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatment daily, and will need to undergo surgery in January.
She continues to work in oncology, and says that helping others is a great distraction.
She told the Daily Mail that her coworkers have started asking her for advice:
“I’ve already noticed my friends at work asking for advice on how to guide a patient through a particular experience.”
She is thankful that her letter is helping those in health care gain a better understanding of what their patients are going through.