I've recently had the privilege of speaking about my cancer experience to a Sunday School class at my church. I also spoke to the local chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. I welcomed questions from the audience at the end of my talk. However, after each talk, I went home and wondered if I could have answered some questions in a better way.
For example, a nurse asked me what specifically she could do to help cancer patients in the hospital. I responded that much of the recovery depends on the patient, for example, does he or she want to get well? Studies have shown that the people who fight cancer have a better chance of overcoming it...it's as simple as that.
Yet, in my book, I state one way of overcoming cancer is continuing to do the normal activities of life. In doing so, it sends a message to the body that a cancer patient wants to live. When I was going through chemotherapy, I still went to work, went to church, whatever, as much as my health would allow. Sure it was tough. Some days I went to work, only being able to eat jello and drink ginger ale due to nausea. I also was extremely fatigued due to the side effects of chemo. But I went to work anyway. I believe such activities (with God's help, of course) ultimately helped me to survive.
Hence, how can nurses help? Encourage cancer patients to do normal things. For example, get out of bed, walk in the hallway, sit in the lobby, etc. When out of the hospital, again, cancer patients should continue life as usual to the best of their ability. The mindset should be that cancer will not be a hindrance, but an obstacle that will be overcome.