When retired Campbell County school psychologist Lisa Gross talks about her experience as a cancer patient at Centra, there is one word that comes up more than any other: grateful.
She is especially grateful for her Centra Caregivers.
“They made what could have been a challenging and fear-provoking experience one that was much easier,” she said. “The doctors, nurses, technicians and staff were all so kind and supportive. They were knowledgeable and compassionate.”
To show her appreciation, she wrote letters and nominated Caregivers for awards. She also made a monetary gift. For many, Grateful Patient Giving, or directing a gift to an area or fund that is meaningful to them, is another way to say thank you, honor a Caregiver and help patients who are on a similar journey.
“I have always been a big believer in both practicing and sharing gratitude,” she said. “When I got cancer, it was gratitude on high drive. It’s so important and one of the strategies I used to support myself through the experience. Gratitude can be healing.”
Lisa was on the cusp of retiring when she received the diagnosis. She underwent testing at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital as well as Centra Lynchburg General Hospital. Grateful that she did not have to go far for services, she opted to receive treatment at Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center.
Although she “felt blindsided by the diagnosis with the whole situation often feeling totally surreal,” she made the best of the situation. “It was a big wake-up call about caring for myself,” she said. “Fortunately, we caught it early and it was Stage I. Now I tell others to get their mammograms.”
While she doesn’t want to leave out anyone who had a hand in her excellent care – “they would all receive awards if I had my way” – and calls nurse navigators “nurse angels,” she is especially grateful for her oncologists at Pearson Cancer Center, where she now volunteers and sees, from a different perspective, the many ways Caregivers and donations support cancer patients.
“I never felt like I was just another patient,” Lisa said. “They took the time to really talk to me and connect with me as a person. Everyone there works with people who aren’t at their best, who are scared, tired, not feeling good … yet they are compassionate and do their job well. I am filled with gratitude for the excellent care, kindness and support I received as a patient, and I have been touched by the kindness and support I have repeatedly observed while volunteering there. I couldn’t have asked for more.”