When a Nurse Becomes a Cancer Survivor

It was October 2013 and Tina Golebiewski, a registered nurse in the emergency room at ProMedica Bixby Hospital, stumbled upon a Facebook article about breast cancer. As she continued to read the article, a scary realization happened— the symptoms described closely resembled some she was experiencing.

Her doctor validated her concern; Tina was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, a form of breast cancer. She was shocked by the news, but remembered all of the cancer patients she had taken care of during her nursing career.

“The advances in medicine are much better than 30 years ago,” Tina said. “I knew I had a fighting chance to become a cancer survivor.”

Diagnosed at ProMedica Breast Care at Toledo Hospital and treated at ProMedica Hickman Cancer Center at Bixby Hospital, Tina underwent a partial mastectomy and eight weeks of radiation treatment.

During the same days she worked in the ER, she would spend 45 minutes in the morning at her radiation appointment. She somehow maintained her energy.

“When do I get to say I’m a survivor?” Tina asked her oncology nurse one day. “You are now!” her nurse exclaimed.

When a nurse becomes a cancer survivor

Tina’s treatment was finished and her markers were completely clean by March 2013. She knew a small amount of worry would still linger in her mind.

Tina’s advice for making it through, “Find someone that you can talk to who is stable and will listen,” she said. Though Tina was very quiet about her cancer, she had a very close knit circle of friends who helped her through. They now call each other the “Breast Friends” and reconnect regularly. Tina is also happy to understand and have the ability to deeply empathize with the cancer patients she sees now in the ER.

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“I am a survivor. I believe that wholeheartedly,” says Tina proudly.

In her free time, Tina enjoys traveling, especially to places like Traverse City, Michigan. and Chicago, Illinois. Her two sons, Tyler and Dustin, and three dogs, Dixie Rose, Frankie and Hank keep her entertained at her home on the water. She loves crafts and enjoys creating artwork out of beads, paint and paper with her niece.

Are you a proud cancer survivor? Share in a comment below what or who helped you through your cancer journey.

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