Nurse’s compassion eases pancreatic cancer patient’s fears

It’s been more than a year since Jacquiela Dorsey, a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient, met Lady June Bolhorst, a clinical nurse who goes by L.J., but she knows she’ll never forget her. The kindness L.J. showed when Jaquelia was nervous about receiving a biopsy left an impression. Here’s their story.

Coming to MD Anderson for a biopsy

Jacquiela: I was nervous about coming to MD Anderson. I had already had a Whipple procedure, a long and complicated surgery, at a hospital in New Orleans, about four hours from where I live in Monroe, Louisiana. Then, my doctor recommended that I do my chemotherapy at MD Anderson – another big hospital in a big city.

Before I started chemo, I had to have a biopsy. I was so nervous about that biopsy. I was worried that the local anesthetic would wear off and I would be able to feel that pain. I was nervous my blood pressure would spike and we’d have to reschedule.

But then the nurse – L.J. – came in. She didn’t leave my side the whole time. She was just really caring and comforting. She distracted me while the biopsy was performed. We talked about what it was like growing up with unusual names. We laughed and said we wondered what our mothers were thinking.

When they said the biopsy was over, I said I was still waiting for it to start! I felt like I was just having tea with an old friend.

Jacquiela Dorsey

L.J.: When I came in, I could tell Jacquiela was nervous. But I just did what I always do. My preference is to always be with the patients during a procedure, so I stayed by her. I try to explain what’s going on and make it easier for them.

Finding ways to thank a nurse

Jaquiela: I saw a sign in the hospital that said “Have you had an excellent nurse?” and I thought, “You know, I really have!” It was advertising the Daisy Award. I asked L.J. how to nominate her, and she said that wasn’t necessary. So I tracked down another staff member and asked them how to do it. I don’t get the impression that anyone at MD Anderson comes to work for the accolades, but so many of them deserve it – especially L.J.

L.J.:  The Daisy Award is a national award given to extraordinary and compassionate nurses across the country four times a year. I’m very humbled and grateful for her recognition. I treat each of my patients as if they were my family, and I don’t expect them to nominate me for any awards in return.

Jacquiela: L.J. made me feel special, but I was pretty sure she was just doing what she always does. You know that saying, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel”? Well, I’ll always remember how L.J. made me feel that day.   

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