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Heart of Oncology Nursing

My Mother's Daughter

Sarah A. Banks
CJON 2012, 16(6), 641-642 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.641-642

When I first began creating worksheets to organize my mother's chemotherapy treatment, people would ask me how I found time to focus on all the details of her care. The question surprised me because the answer was simple—how could I not? I am my mother's daughter. An RN for about four decades, my mom set an example of what it meant to put others first. Whether she was treating patients in a hospital or teaching them about chronic conditions in a classroom, she didn't give up. I watched firsthand as a child how she transformed from mom to an RN at a moment's notice. She took classes with me for childhood asthma, gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation to my little sister, Carmelle, after a seizure, and she would stop by the side of the road if there had been an accident. Still, I was too young to develop a true appreciation for what she did day in and day out. To me, she was simply "mom." She knew what to do and when to do it. Whether I needed a bandage or a hand to squeeze before a flu shot, she's the one I trusted. My mom had an exceptional ability to make things better, and that is exactly what she did. When she became a caregiver to my grandparents and several beloved family members later in life, I finally began to see how much she gave of herself to others. So, in 2006, when she told my sister and I that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we instinctively followed in her footsteps. My sister and I became caregivers for the most important person in our lives, our mom. She would come first, and all the lessons she'd taught us about integrity, dedication, and unconditional love would come to fruition.

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