Standing together to beat sarcoma

Successful treatment of sarcoma takes a committed, comprehensive team effort. I consider allied health professionals to be extremely important in helping provide wholistic care to a person diagnosed with sarcoma; despite the fact that we’re not the ones ordering chemotherapy, delivering radiation, or performing surgery.

The term ‘allied health professional’ refers to nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, oncology social workers, physical therapists, psychologists, and many others. The diagnosis of sarcoma can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically challenging for patients and it takes people in tune with these aspects of the diagnosis to come alongside patients and support them through treatment and survivorship. It takes experts in numerous areas of cancer care to help patients navigate the often confusing, scary, and burdensome aspects of their care. I chose to be an oncology nurse and now nurse practitioner because I want to help patients through these difficult times.

When I meet people and they find out what I do at work, they often say things like, “I don’t know how you do that every day” or “isn’t it sad?” The answer to that is, yes, it is sad at times—very, very sad. I allow myself to feel these sad times and reflect on what a patient and his or her family must be going through. I do this because I think this is an important aspect of providing the best possible care.

However, I do not let those moments control me. I focus on the positive. I find inspiration in seeing patients and hearing their joys and struggles. I am amazed at the tenacity and resilience of the human spirit. When I see patients overcome various obstacles, I am inspired to do better and be better at helping them in their journey.

What I love most about sarcoma patients is that they are fighters! Whether they are facing a new diagnosis, recovering from surgery, or returning to work or recreational activities, I am humbled by their fight and honored to help them reach their goals.