Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Monday was such a hard and emotional day for me. Arkansas Children's Hospital, also known as the place of love, care and hope, has been a huge part of my life since 1978...when Jennifer was a patient there and then in 1990, when it became my work home and the home of my "second family"! When you work someplace for twenty years, it does become like experience weddings, births, loss of loved ones, children graduating, becoming grandparents, career advancements, divorce, battles of illness, sorrow and many joys! I am and always will be so proud to be able to say that I was part of the team of the best Respiratory Therapist in the country! I have made many life long friends working workers, patients and parents of patients...I am still friends with a loving family that I met in 1978...on the day that Jennifer was diagnosed with Cystic Firbrosis!

When I fought cancer eleven years ago, I was able to return to work and continue to give care, love and hope! After being diagnosed with the return of cancer this time, it was my intent, desire and hope to do the same...I really never doubted that I would be able to return. I guess being eleven years older does make it harder on the body. Last week I received a letter from the long term disability company from work. The letter said that they had determined that I was now 100% disabled. Now this is hard dose of medicine for me to swallow....first being, I just don't like the sound of being called disabled. I guess in my mind, I just didn't want to admit it. You see, your mind still thinks you will be able to continue doing everything that you want it to do, even though in reality, you know that you aren't able to do it. I know in my heart that I couldn't even walk from my car to the door of the hospital right now, and I sure couldn't work a twelve hour shift.

As I have said before, I am so proud to say that I am employee of ACH and so grateful for our manager and the wonderful people in Human Resources have been so very good to me...understanding, compassionate and caring. They have extended my leave from family medical leave to personal leave....allowing me to continue "Fighting Like a Girl" this latest battle.

Our busy season at approaching. As badly as I want to return to work, I cannot in clear conscience, keep my position tied up. It would not be fair to make our staff short, because of me. After much prayer, a broken heart and manyu tears, I have resigned my position. Going to work gave me such joy and a sense of purpose in life. Even after moving to Hot Springs, I didn't mind making the commute. I looked forward to seeing my work family and the patients that gave me such joy to care for.

As this chapter of my life closes, I will still have all the wonderful memories of ACH, my friends and patients. I will continue to work on "The Jennifer Project", hopefully being able to expand and improve it. I will treasure the friendships I have made and continue them. I will continue to be grateful fore the knowledge
I have gained. I know that God is good, He is always in control and that He has the plan for all of us. I will take this as a sign from Him for me to concentrate on my fight against cancer. Hopefully, I will be able to one day return to ACH as a volunteer or even go back to work....whatever God chooses for me to do!


Lisa_in_AR said...

I know this was a heart wrenching decision for you to make. Whether you work at ACH or not, you will always have people there who love you and continue to pray for you and for your recovery---that's what FAMILY (including your ACH family) is for. I love you! I'm so glad that your legs aren't "geyser"ing as much and that the swelling looks like it's going down. We have to get you out of the hospital so we can YaYa again!

Denise Felton said...

Sweet Debbie, I think you hit the nail on the head. God is giving you the freedom to focus on your own health for a little while. And once you've got your skates under you again, the door will open for the next thing he wants you to do. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it has something to do with "beating" little CF children and hanging with your ACH sisters.

Love you and see you soon!

Debbie Nelson said...

Thank you so much Lisa and
Denise...I know that this decision had to be made...It is just so hard when ACH has been such a part of my daily life since 1978! As with other challenges in my life, I know that I will adjust to it..and know that I will continue to have my ACH friends..I will wait to see what God leads me to and will focus now on getting well so that I can be of service to others!

casserole said...

I can't even imagine how hard that was for you to do! But know this - just because you are no longer receiving a paycheck in exchange for it, there's no way that cancer could ever take away your ability to care for others. It's in your blood. It's who you are. You were put on this earth to bring healing and support and joy to others. There's no stopping God's plan for you. Focus on your health, and you'll find that the path you are to go down next will be right there waiting for you.