'I Didn't Get It': Oncology Nurse's Note to Patients After Own Diagnosis

Now that she has cancer herself, Lindsay Norris is offering apologies
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2016 8:21 AM CST
Oncology Nurse Diagnosed With Cancer Writes Note to Patients
"I didn’t get how much you Googled. I told you not to do it. You did it, a lot—and so did I."   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Lindsay Norris has a lot to say to the cancer patients she's helped in her role as an oncology nurse, but in a recent blog post she penned after finding out she has cancer herself, the prevailing theme is: "I didn't get it." Per People, Norris was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal adenocarcinoma in September, and that diagnosis has been an eye-opener for the 33-year-old mom from Kansas. In her note, Norris apologizes to her past cancer patients, noting how much pride she had previously taken in her rapport with them: "I really thought I got it ... what it felt like to go through this journey. I didn't," she says. What she didn't understand, more specifically: what it felt like to hear the diagnosis, how difficult the waiting is, how weird it feels to tell other people or to endure the "sad looks," or how tired, confused, guilty, suspicious, and even "crazy" a patient can feel.

And she says she didn't realize how important her own role was. "I didn't get how much you hung on to every word I said to you," she says. "I used to tell you that cancer will be just a phase in your life. Just like high school or something … I'm sorry if this made you feel marginalized—it is not a phase." She also notes she didn't understand how tough it is to let others help, something she tells Us she's had to do herself, especially leaning on her husband, Camden, who's taken on more of the duties of caring for their 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter. Norris has been undergoing radiation and chemo and will have a follow-up checkup after Christmas. "I just hope that I was still able to give you a little guidance and strength to help you get through your cancer treatment. Even if I didn't get it," she writes. Her full post here. (Read a widower's note to hospital staff who cared for his wife.)

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