Carin’s Story

0Having my foot run over by a fork lift when I was 14 put me in the hospital for surgery. As I  watched and waited on nurses for my care, my interest in a nursing career was being forged. My grandmother’s influence played a part in my choice as well. She couldn’t finish her nurse’s training when she was young but always worked in doctor’s offices, both as medical assistant and secretary. I remember going to the doctor’s office with her and loving every minute. So there I was, Eastern Kentucky University School of Nursing getting my BSN RN.

I can almost say, “I’ve done it all.” From beginning at home at the University of Kentucky, I have worked in South Carolina, Florida, and Ohio. Each hospital/experience reenforced my love for nursing. I have worked from pediatrics to geriatrics in such areas as oncology, urology, telemetry, plastics, general surgery, orthopedic/neurology, medical/surgical, pre-op/PACU and home health. In these past 15 years of experience I have worked as a case manager, charge nurse and supervisor.

Along with my BSN RN I also hold credentials as: ACLS, PALS and BLS.

Little did I know that my knowledge of nursing would be of benefit when I became a patient. August of 2004 I found a lump in my right breast that lead to a biopsy in February of 2005. Because of my nursing education I had already made the decision “if I ever have breast cancer” I would have a complete mastectomy. Surgery in March revealed one positive lymph node requiring eight chemotherapy treatments.

Unfortunately I did not have short term disability for the four months I was off work. But my nurse co-workers did what nurses do – take care of their patients. This time it was me. They held multiple fund raisers such as bake sales, raffles, and karaoke as well as gathering monetary donations. With their help I was able to pay my bills and eliminate financial worry and stress.

I returned to the job I loved, even had a baby and looked forward to working on my MSN, never anticipating the call from my doctor on August 17, 2010. The hip and back pain I had been experiencing for several months was not muscle strain but metastatic breast cancer. The PET scan revealed the cancer had spread throughout my bones and liver, bumping me to Stage 4.

After ten radiation treatments  I now receive chemotherapy every four weeks along with the infusion of an osteoporosis drug to rebuild my bones. This regimen had taken me completely out of the work force and I am now on total disability.

Having no income at all was frightening and my “nurses” knew I was scared. But here they came to the rescue again with bake sales, pink bracelets to sell, raffles, a silent auction at a “Carin-oke”, and walking in a relay for life.

How do I repay them? They simply say, “Pay  it forward.” So here we are….”Carin’ for Nurses”.