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How Caring for Patients with Cancer is Extremely Rewarding

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Let me begin with working with patients with cancer pulls on your heartstrings. I get asked multiple times “How do you want to work here?” I currently work as a phlebotomist at a local oncology office.


During my interview and hiring process, one of the questions the manager asked is “Why do you want to work here? I was told flat out working with patients with cancer isn’t for everyone.

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The office manager told me about one specific new hire they had in the past. She went on to say this individual worked till lunchtime on their first day and came back to her office with tears streaming down her face.


The new hires reply, “I don’t see how anyone can work with cancer patients because it’s too difficult and I just can’t do it and they left.” At first, my thought process was what? Not even a full day? Surely it’s not that hard? However, once I started working with patients with cancer I could see what she was getting at.


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Understanding the Good and Challenging Times Working with Patients with Cancer


When I’m approached and asked where do work or what do you do this is the response I receive 9 times out 10. “Why do you want to work here!” In all honesty I LOVE MY JOB but it can be draining some days as well.


What are some of the challenges of working with patients with cancer?


One of the hardest challenges in working with patients with cancer for me personally is I get so attached to the patient, their family members, and friends, that come with them to their appointments. It’s extremely hard not to do so! Some patients come in for blood work and treatment 2-3 times weekly.


Why Do you want to work Here?


One of the biggest reasons is Patients with cancer teach you to gratefulness. That being said, one of the most difficult parts of my job is watching their health decline and seeing how Chemotherapy takes its toll on their body.


the hardest issue you face when working with patients with cancer


I’m not gonna sugarcoat this answer and I’m going to brutally honest…The hardest thing about working with patients with cancer is not everybody beats it. I realize death is a part of life but when one passes away it’s challenging!


You feel the loss deep in your soul. My Mama had throat cancer and her only way of communicating is by a voice stick. My Daddy passed away from COPD but he also had colon cancer.


I can sense the question forming…Since these are major challenges to go through on a daily basis tell me again “Why do you want to work here?


Working with patients with cancer changes your own personal health struggles


I have several autoimmune disorders that I live with. I use to play the “Why Me Lord” card. Why are you making me suffer this way? You have the power to heal me but choose not to…Why?


In all honesty, I truly feel that God opened this door for me at the oncology office to show me something. Yes, I struggle but after seeing what oncology patients go through and deal with what I go through doesn’t come close to comparing.


Patients with Cancer Changes Your outlook on Complaining


To put this another way I become ashamed of myself if I start to complain! Why? God has shown me through these amazing people that my health could be worse than it is because I see this on a daily basis.


When a patient is first told these words I am so sorry but you have Cancer. I can’t begin to fathom the thoughts that may cross their mind.


Five Feelings patients with cancer may feel


  1. Fear
  2. Doubt
  3. Denial
  4. Shock
  5. Anger

I am so incredibly thankful that I am NOT the one who has to deliver a diagnosis to the patient. I wouldn’t be able to! Quite frankly I personally don’t see how our Doctors are able to because I’d be a complete utter mess!


The worst is hearing the treatment isn’t working and they need to consider palliative or hospice care. There are countless times I have been sticking a patient as tears are streaming down my face. When I see a patient is upset I close my curtain to allow them to have a good cry and Pray for them on the spot.


SUFFERING PRODUCES ENDURANCE


I know how difficult it can be when you watch someone suffer immensely. It will definitely teach you patience and Endurance. But God never promises us that life would be easy. But he did promise to discipline us to refine us to grow us in our faith. And while we don’t know what the end result looks like we know God is ultimately good and he has our best in mind.


Suffering as a Christian


Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 


If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 


Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 


And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:12-19


ENDURANCE PRODUCES CHARACTER


Character is being refined in us when going through battles. When life is difficult it will us what we’re made of. It transcends beyond what we may be going through showing up in the form of wisdom, insight, and courage. I can tell you that I have NEVER witnessed more courage than seeing my patients deal with what they do.


Working in Oncology Outlook: God is Good Even If I’m Never Healed


These amazing patients while going through chemotherapy still has a big ole smile on their faces while proclaiming God is Good! Upon seeing this if it doesn’t bring change to your heart nothing will. I am in AWE of witnessing their Character even more.


Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12


CHARACTER PRODUCES HOPE:


Hope in Jesus keeps you grounded when walking with him through suffering. Hope is found in the many promises that God has gives us. No matter what pain we may suffer we can always hold onto the Hope he lovingly extends. God has given us the best helper known to a believer which is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, with the Holy Spirit inside us, we never walk alone sweet friends.


Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5


Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalms 42:11


In closing on Understanding the Good and Challenging Times Working with Patients with Cancer


Allow me to share with you what my patients tell me all of the time. They’ll say thank you for being who you are because I appreciate you inspiring me. You show me love and care by tenderly taking such good care of me! My journey is so much more bearable being around your positive energy. I reply with you have that backward.


YOU inspire ME! My health issues don’t come close to what you deal with so it keeps me focused knowing I can have it much worse than I do! YOU show ME that I need to be more like you! YOU lift ME up, simply by being YOU!


I dedicate this blog, to ALL those who affected by Cancer


You may also enjoy:


14 Tips for Providing Emotional Support to Cancer Patients

7 Ways of Coping with Loss in Oncology

When Some You Love has Cancer: 8 Ways to Support Them

How Patients with Cancer Teach the Value of Treasured Memories


Resounding His Love Signature

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2 Comments

  1. You, my friend have a heart of gold and nerves of steel. As a super emotional person, my heart would break for each and every patient. God blesses you for what you do and for the witness you are to your patients and their families. Thank you for your service.

    1. I don’t know about the nerves of steel sweet friend but thanks for the compliment! I tell people I believe God has given me too much compassion at times because trust me I wear my heart on my sleeve and it breaks with every patient we lose but they need someone in the corner pointing them to Christ when going through the challenges they face. In all honesty, caring for them grows my walk in Christ and teaches me about serving in humility as Christ did. Thanks for wonderful encouragement as always!

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