For many CURE Childhood Cancer families, nurses become family. While they care for sick children, they also seem to find a way to care for their entire families. Nurses know the power of a kind word, a caring touch, a sympathetic ear. They probe the depth of the human condition – the strength and suffering of the body, mind, heart, and spirit.
During this Nurses’ Week, CURE celebrates our nurses, each of whom truly embodies the spirit of giving and caring at its finest, and is highlighting some of those who are helping our families each and every day.
Meet, Meg Bendik, a nurse who treats our families at Scottish Rite.
“I became a nurse because I wanted to be able to spend quality time helping people, and I loved the holistic philosophy of nursing. I think there is something really special and inspiring about taking care of someone when they are at their worst.
I rowed in high school and college with Sam Robb‘s sister Liz; her and her family’s commitment to a cure was so inspiring, and I wanted to be a part of curing other kid’s disease. From a nursing perspective, I liked the complexity and acuity of the patient’s problems and how the oncology knowledge base is always changing; it lets my nerdy side shine. I love how forgiving kids are, and I love being able to act like a goofball at work!
The number one struggle I face is how much is out of our control. As hard as we may try, there are some times where it seems like a never-ending uphill battle to make patients comfortable. I wish I had an everlasting bag of medication and tricks in my pocket. Watching kids endure all the nasty side effects of toxic chemo and radiation wears on the soul. I have to constantly remember all the patients that are able to conquer cancer with our help and not focus on all of the discomforts of treatment and the sadness of relapses and death. A day at work sometimes feels like a war zone; being a soldier against cancer is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining, but the cute kid in the bed, blowing kisses at you despite spending the majority of her night puking is worth every second.
Seeing kids finish treatment and getting to do normal kid stuff brings me so much joy. I love watching the transition from “sick, skinny, bald, and pale” to healthy and plump with a full head of hair. Getting to know the families and getting to play pranks and act like a kid myself makes my job fun. The little thank you’s, doodles, and notes from families may seem small, but they are my motivation to keep coming back.
It is my goal every day to make my patients and their parents smile at least once, no matter how bad the shift. I try to make the kids as comfortable as possible during their illness and to help give their families a little peace of mind as best I can.”