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Not Only A Nurse: Sandi Lachance

Read Time: 5 minutes

Meet Sandi Lachance, a CNA at Pen Bay Surgical Care with an inspiring story.

SS: Sandi, can you tell me what intrigued you about entering the healthcare field?

SL: I love to take care of people, I always have. It’s something that I am extremely passionate about; taking care of others and helping them to get better…helping them with anything that I can.


SS: How long have you been in the nursing field?

SL: I have been in the industry for 10 years – time flies!


SS: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?

SL: It is so rewarding to know that I have helped somebody during the day in one way or another. If I can help someone else with whatever they need, no matter how big or small, it’s a good day. I also have noticed that most people, especially if they are familiar with you as a nurse, feel such a sense of relief being familiar with the person who is taking care of them. I am passionate about helping others, and it is such a rewarding experience to be able to give back to others.


SS: I understand that you went through some difficulties personally a few years ago; can you tell me a little about that time?

SL: 6 years ago my husband was diagnosed with tonsillitic cancer. I was working in the healthcare environment so I was able to approach a doctor that I felt comfortable speaking to about his symptoms, and we were able to get him in pretty quickly. My husband was actually diagnosed the following week with tonsillitic cancer. We immediately started treatments, which consisted of driving to Augusta, Maine every day for radiation and treatment. I am so pleased to say that my husband beat cancer and is in remission now!


2 years ago I had a mammogram done, and they discovered 2 tumors on my breast. I had a biopsy done and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I already had a scheduled vacation right after I was diagnosed, and I decided to take my vacation anyway. My doctor told me, “I admire you. Most people, when diagnosed, want their cancer out yesterday.” I wanted to go on my vacation and enjoy it, so that’s exactly what I did. I came back and immediately had surgery, and then began 6 weeks of chemotherapy and 5 weeks of radiation, which I had every day. After treatment, I began to heal, and I’m so happy to say that I am in remission!


SS: Was it difficult for you, as a nurse, to allow other nurses and doctors to take care of you?

SL: It was definitely a different experience for me and it was hard, really hard. I’m used to taking care of others, and it was hard to let others take care of me. I had it in my mindset, “I don’t need someone to take care of me. I’m strong.” But suddenly I found myself in a position where I really needed people. If the nurses and doctors who treated me were in front of me right now I would say a big THANK YOU! I cannot thank you enough for saving my life, for investing the time to care for me and for others…it really means a lot.


SS: What has this journey of battling and beating cancer meant to you?

SL: When I was first diagnosed, I had a mixture of emotions as you would expect. I was scared: scared of what I was facing, scared of the treatments and how they would affect me. But I was also confident. I knew I was in good hands, and I was confident that I could beat this. It was so encouraging to me to experience all the support and love through this journey. I was never alone for a chemo treatment. My friends or my husband joined me for every single one. I also learned how important it is to open up and talk about what you’re going through, for people to know that it is difficult for you, but that you know you can get through it. That’s also advice I would give to anyone on a cancer journey right now – open up and share. Share what you’re going through.


Because my husband and I both experienced cancer journeys, it is a special bond that we share. We both know that the other experienced and went through, and we can share in that and support each other. When my husband started treatment, I decided I wanted to do a little something special for the doctors and nurses that were taking care of him. So every day, we brought them a little bag of chocolates. They looked forward to it every day, especially his radiation doctor – he couldn’t wait to get them! It was a little gesture that we implemented, because we wanted the doctors and nurses to know how much we truly appreciated them and all that they do.


SS: What is one piece of advice that you would give to others?

SL: Be kind. Help others. It costs nothing to help people.


I am not only a nurse, I am a cancer survivor. #notonlyanurse

Check out Sandi’s story (and more) in our latest edition of Pulse: Pulse Summer 2017