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Every path is unique

I can help bridge gaps between patients and caregivers because I am both. Lindsay Norris, RN

Oncology nurse and colorectal cancer survivor

Lindsay Norris: Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I'm sorry I didn't get it.

Lindsay Norris: When I first walked through the doors of the Cancer Center as a patient instead of a nurse, it was very surreal. I'm pretty nervous. Definitely a big day to see if there's any cancer left behind. Yeah, we're definitely hoping for some clean scans. No, I've always said the waiting is the worst part of cancer. I've worked in Oncology nearly my entire adult life. I really thought I got it. I thought I knew what it felt like to go through this journey. I didn't.

Speaker 2: Also, I have this, so congratulations.

Lindsay Norris: Oh, thank you. That's so sweet. I was definitely shocked to find out that I had the diagnosis of Stage 3C colorectal cancer. Two years out is a great accomplishment, but I still feel very close to it. I don't feel like I've beaten anything yet and I just kind of wanted to write that open letter to say, Hey, I didn't get it, and then it's okay that people around you don't get it.

Lindsay Norris: I didn't get how strange it was to see your body changing so quickly. You stood there and looked at yourself in disbelief in the mirror. I didn't get how much you worried about your kids. For this, I'm the most regretful. I should have talked to you more about them. I didn't get the guilt you felt, especially to those who are married. You understood that everyone promises in sickness and in health, but you still felt like they didn't deserve this.

Lindsay Norris: I'd be lying if I said I didn't act a little differently now with my patients. I think I'm also not afraid to ask the hard questions. Before, I wasn't sure what the hard questions would be. You know, how are you really handling this? How are you coping? Are you sleeping at night? What are you the most afraid of? Those are things that are really scary to get into. But sometimes that cancer patient really does need to kind of talk through that.

Lindsay Norris: I didn't get that it never ends. Never. I used to tell you that cancer will be just a phase in your life. I'm sorry if this made you feel marginalized. It is not a face. What does being a cancer survivor mean? How do I just go back and act like none of this happened? So the answer is you can't and you don't. You're a cancer patient forever. It's very comforting to know that I'm in good hands forever. I'm Lindsay Norris, Oncology nurse and Stage 3 colorectal cancer survivor.

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