The surprise is that I didn't know at first she was a cancer navigator, and the cancer center didn't mention that someone like her was available. I've already blogged here about my experience with cancer center social worker, so we won't go into that again.
This morning, one medical news service I subscribe to used the word "Navigators." I finally deduced they were talking about "navigation" advisory companies.
But of course, I had to look up hospital navigators, including at my hospital's local branch, and find out what they do. I was amazed and a little annoyed that our cancer center never mentioned her.
I learned that Cancer Nurse Navigators can help with decisions as well as logistics and coordination and that wonderful component - support. I had simply gone to "meet" the radiation oncologist my surgeon respects, and was presented with the decision at that first meeting.
Of course, my DCIS was not life-threatening. Because of that, the cancer center did not seem to realize I was new to Texas and overwhelmed by the diagnosis and meeting all the new doctors.
Since then I've talked to this woman several times about the education classes she organizes, and various other matters, without ever knowing that she might have been available to help with the radiation decision and might have been a very welcome source of support.
I did meet some wonderful people - techs, doctors, and a couple of the radiation therapists. I don't mean to claim that my life was unbearable without knowing a Nurse Navigator.
I'm just thinking there is an information gap there that kept me from knowing about her, and perhaps kept other women from knowing how much she can help.
Does your hospital cancer center have a nurse navigator? Were you told about her?
I salute our Nurse Navigator.
And I wish you health.