My guardian angel

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My guardian angel

I caveat this journal entry with the fact that I am not normally a sappy or touchy/feely person, but I feel it is warranted in this particular case. I debated even sharing it but sometimes awesomeness is just too good to keep to yourself.

I have always believed in the idea of a guardian angel. Everyone gets one, and apparently if you are lucky you may get more than one. I was fortunate enough to meet my real live guardian angel, even though it was under the not so fortunate circumstances. Obviously I am not using the term in the traditional sense, there are no actual angel wings or descending from the heavens to push me out of harms way, but I'd have to say it's pretty damn close. I even know my guardian angel's name, Missy. I won't use her last name because I know she is already going to be embarrassed that I am posting this on Caring Bridge.

Missy is my nurse navigator. I will never forget where I was and how I was feeling the day I first talked to her. It was Friday, April 18th. I had been to the surgeon's office earlier that morning for my biopsy and been told that I most likely had breast cancer. Suffice to say I wasn't having the best of days. Later that afternoon I thought a little retail therapy might help get my mind off it for awhile. I was at the mall looking at clothes in Maurices when my cell phone rang. It showed a local number but the number wasn't in my phone as a contact. Now, I am not known for answering my phone as it is, even for my family... so chances are if you call me and I don't recognize the number you don't stand a chance in hell that I will answer.

Maybe it was because of the day's earlier events, but I made a decision to answer the call. It was Missy. She explained to me that she was a nurse with Essentia and what her role was. She said she knew I was probably overwhelmed and she just wanted to call and see how I was doing, or if I had any questions. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, even though I am anti-social and hate talking about feelings (especially my own). My mouth opened and I could not shut up. I think we talked for 45 minutes and I don't even really remember the specifics. There was an instant connection and I felt like I had known Missy forever. She was very easy to talk to, and I remember feeling a calmness come over me. I can honestly say that I am not sure if the connection would have been the same had I not answered immediately and had to call her back later.

I do remember one specific thing Missy said to me during that conversation. She told me that if it did turn out that I had cancer, I would be stuck with her throughout the entire process. She said it in a way like "Ha ha, lucky you", but I remember feeling a second rush of something washing over me that day, and that was a feeling of relief. Again, I HATE acknowledging feelings, but this time it was more than OK. Missy told she would be there to help me through the process, no matter what it was I needed. If I just needed someone to talk to, call her.

At that moment I knew that I was going to be OK. And what I mean by OK, is that I would be able to handle the challenges in front of me and I wasn't going to curl up in a ball and wither away into nothingness. I am usually a pessimist when it comes to me, and especially when it comes to medical matters specifically related to me. It wasn't like I had any positive experiences or notions when it came to cancer, who does?! The one thing I knew for sure was that the end result was death, and based upon my previous interactions, that end was usually sooner rather than later. Your opinions from cancer usually come from your exposure to cancer situations as you grow up. I can't really think of any that even an iota of positiveness associated with them.I can't say that I ever researched cancer, read up on it, or even bothered to read stories of others dealing with it. My opinions were based solely upon the life experiences cancer chose to drop on my doorstep.

Missy didn't downplay the seriousness of my situation, but she also didn't make me feel as if I might want to start planning my funeral either.

I wasn't as scared as I thought I should be. So much so that I wondered if something was wrong with me. I should feel absolutely terrified. Missy was my scheduler, my translator, my encyclopedia, my voice of reason, my vote of confidence, my anything I needed her to be. And best of all, she meant it. I know this for fact because I was constantly bombarding her. I never once detected the slightest hint of annoyance. Hell, I was annoying myself so I wouldn't have blamed her for being a tad annoyed with me.

Honestly, I feel Missy was and still is the most integral part of my success in keeping positive during my treatment. She stripped cancer of the power it thought it had, and gave it all to me. I feel like that fact is obvious. I feel like I have the upper hand in this relationship. Cancer is not running my life, I will not allow it. It's merely an inconvenience. It's that 10 minute train that comes through town when you are already running late to work. So fricken annoying when it happens, but I can live with it.

I don't know what I could ever do to get such help or how I could even begin to thank her for all that she has done for me. I could call her and send her flowers every day for the rest of my life and that wouldn't be enough. I know I am being over dramatic but that is how strongly I feel. All the nurses I have met along the way have been so great, but Missy is above par. I had never heard of a nurse navigator before I was diagnosed, but I think every cancer patient in the world should have one. I know that it's her job, but Missy is just one of those people that "IS" what she does. That doesn't make sense, but I don't know how else to say it. I think I could pop in on Missy at anytime on any day and she would be the same. It isn't just a job.

As I am typing this I realize I really couldn't find my last page of notes. That's because I never wrote one. I wasn't sure how to end this one because I can go on and on. I will just end it with this: Thank you Missy for helping me realize that cancer wasn't the monster under the bed I thought it was. It was actually just a navy blue sock.


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