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Heart of Oncology Nursing

Gaining Strength and Focus From Hardship

Darcy Alimenti
CJON 2012, 16(3), E123-E124 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.E123-E124

Three members of my family have been diagnosed with cancer in the past five years. During the fall of my freshman year of high school, my older brother was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. His health began to deteriorate in August 2006. My mother would take him to the hospital weekly, insisting that the doctors run every test on her ill-ridden son. Chris's diagnosis in November 2006 accounted for his rapidly failing health and provided treatment options that would hopefully restore his once lively appearance and attitude. Now, five years after his diagnosis and less than a year from completion of treatment, I am able to call Chris's cancer a blessing. During his intensive and long protocol, my focus was on how unfair this diagnosis was. It was as if my eyes were shielded from anything positive and all I could see was darkness. Why my family? Why my brother? Why me? Is he going to die? These thoughts constantly pounded my brain, drawing me deeper into self-wallowing and pity. And, with each obstacle, whether it was a grand mal seizure, a near-deadly rash, or some other allergic reaction, I would dive deeper into this darker state. It took me a year to finally be able to say my brother has cancer without bursting into tears. And, within two years, I was beginning to feel alive again as I watched my brother gain strength with each new day.

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