Going to the Oncology Clinic felt like a tea party!
My name is Gwen and I have been very healthy all my life. I had never set foot in hospital for 65 years! In 2019, I felt some abnormal symptoms, so I went to the Lakeshore General Hospital. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with cancer. My surgery was a success, the doctors removed a lump and I recovered quickly.
Then, in February 2020, it came back. I discovered that I had cancer again, but this time in a different organ. Therefore, I returned to the Lakeshore General Hospital and on my birthday, I got a catheter line inserted for chemotherapy.
Despite my situation, I was amazed by the staff’s joy and genuine care throughout my treatments: They are truly concerned about their patients! Besides, it really felt like a tea party! Lovely ladies were coming with tea and cookies. The nurses were great and were talking with other patients. My experience at the hospital was so much easier thanks to helpful nurses such as Elisa, Andrea, Sabrina and Kim, who always found a way to make people smile! I will always remember the fact that I felt like a person, not like a patient.
Then, Covid Happened
Since March 2020, my husband could no longer keep me company during the appointments. All patients were separated by curtains to respect social distancing, but in the Oncology Clinic we were still chatting through the curtains. Going through cancer, and being more vulnerable during the pandemic, was socially and mentally difficult. I cried multiple times. It was not easy, but the staff made the whole ordeal bearable. I believe that their positive energy helped my recovery! For the staff, the pandemic was a great challenge too. For every intervention, they had to wear their Personal Protective Equipment, which would complicate their daily tasks. Despite the increased workload, they stayed as warm and kind. The nurses and staff took the time to know their patients and how we were doing, which created a sort of second family for us in terms of support.
At the very beginning of my chemotherapy, in winter, a nurse warned me about becoming very sensitive to the cold. I understood that my sensitivity might increase in some ways but I didn’t fully grasp the intensity of it. Once outside of the hospital, I felt like Elsa in the movie Frozen! But I wasn’t worried because I was well informed. Thanks to the nurses, pharmacists and oncologists, I always knew what to expect, which was very reassuring.
All’s Well That Ends Well
During Covid, I actually looked forward to going to the hospital. The Oncology Clinic was a place where I felt I was part of a family. Now, I no longer fear hospitals and I am healthy again!