Rolinda’s story: It was time – time for my first chemotherapy treatment. Although I have worked in the medical field all of my adult life, I have never been “the patient.”’ Fear had crept into my psyche……so many questions……so many possible side effects……..me – cancer? I know these questions and fears pierce the heart and mind of all who walk this journey, but on that day I was self-focused and afraid.
I had talked with my Lord and Savior about it. I had faith that He would comfort me and give me peace, but I was still afraid of the unknown that lay just ahead. My daughter and a dear friend accompanied me to the treatment center that morning and were allowed to sit beside me during treatment. Christmas was coming and all I could think of was losing my hair and the possibility of being nauseous.
Soon after my morning began on that first day of chemo, I turned to see a group of women enter the treatment room with an announcement of Christmas Joy, by singing to us all! Their voices were like angels, soothing my anxiety and making me smile! I felt community and LOVE that conquered my fears. After several songs, a woman came over to my chair and handed me a huge red Christmas stocking. She had shared her story of breast cancer and gave me such amazing encouragement that day. My heart was flooded with good feelings of peace and joy in the midst of the beginning of a long journey ahead.
Jenifer’s Story – It was December 13th 2017. My team and I had rolling suitcases loaded up with Christmas stockings to deliver to chemo patients. We gathered just outside the lobby of the oncology unit we were going to be delivering stockings, encouragement, and cheer. We talked about our plan of how the delivery would go. Once we were done with that, we walked into the oncology unit, where several patients were sitting down in the chairs receiving treatment. Some were alone, some had friends and family with them. Just before I introduced myself and the team to the patients, one of the staff came up to me and informed me that there was a lady over in the corner of the first “pod” who was there for her first chemo treatment, and that she was a little bit nervous and scared, and asked if I could give her some extra love! Of course I would! That is one of my favorite things to do, is love on, and encourage those that are there for the first time!
After I introduced myself, and my team, and we sang some Christmas carols, I grabbed the biggest stocking I could find, and made a bolt toward that beautiful woman in the corner! Her name was Rolinda. She thanked me over and over for sharing my story, and bringing some light and love to the Oncology unit that day. She told me that the night before, when she was praying, she prayed that God would be with her as she received her first treatment. She felt some peace heading into it, but she said that as soon as I came in, told my story, and spread some love and cheer, it just made her day! She told me I was an answer to her prayer, that God had sent me to her that day. She said that she would never forget this day. What was going to be a scary, unknown process that first day of treatment, became a special memory for her. That is what my project is all about. Bringing encouragement, peace, and love, along with a stocking to those that are in the middle of battling cancer at Christmas time! She told me she wanted to stay in touch, and be on the stocking delivery team the next year.
Rolinda: The Christmas stockings that were prepared and carols that were sung made a difference on my first treatment day and will forever be a precious memory and example for my life ahead. I want to join in this year to make others feel the love I felt last Christmas.
Jenifer: This year, Rolinda is joining our team. I can’t wait to do deliveries with her and watch her love and encourage others that are right where she was at last year. But most of all, I can’t wait for the new stories we will hear and the journey’s we will take through the hugs of each patient we visit.