Mother, whose 2-year-old daughter has cancer, writes a tribute to the nurses caring for her.

 

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” John Joseph Powell.

Shelby Skiles, a mother of 28, has spent nearly every night since May at the hospital after her only child, Sophie, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma. The toddler is awaiting a stem cell transplant, after undergoing fifteen bouts of chemotherapy which helped to stop the progression of cancer. Sadly, the intense chemotherapy treatment has impacted her development and has rendered Sophie unable to walk, talk or eat on her own.

During Sophie’s treatment, Skiles estimates that she and her husband, Jonathan, have seen hundreds of nurses caring for Sophie during this time.

It was during one of those long nights at her daughter’s bedside at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, that Shelby Skiles penned the touching tribute to the nurses who cared for her little Sophie. Skiles was unable to sleep when she just began to write.

 

Shelby Skiles comforts her 2-year-old daughter Sophie as she undergoes treatment for T-cell lymphoma.

Sophie Skiles being treated at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Skiles describes the particular night that she began to write: “It was like 3 am and I was sitting on that uncomfortable couch in the hospital room and I just couldn’t go to sleep. I just started writing down what the nurses do and it just kept going. I wrote down all the things I see them do for us and for other people, like the nurse who sat on the floor with me when I had a panic attack when we got the diagnosis.”

True to the duties of a nurse, the list included so much more than just the routine check-ups: care and compassion, patience and tolerance. They deal with patients and their extended families and often field a mine of emotions at the same time as keeping a level head in the actual duties they have to carry out.

Skiles and her family had created a Facebook page for Sophie called, “Sophie the Brave” This is where she posted her letter of gratitude.

Facebook page created by her family.

 

Shelby and Jonathan Skiles care for their 2-year-old daughter Sophie at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

Addressing the nurses, she wrote, “I see you carrying armloads of medicine and supplies into one child’s room all while your phone is ringing in your pocket from the room of another. I see you put gloves on and a mask and try not to make too much noise at night … I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly.”

Thinking that Sophie’s page had a lot of followers, she would post the tribute on it to create awareness as to the goings on in a children’s hospital, and exactly how nurses go above and beyond their expected duties when they nurse sick children.

The sharing of this post exceeded her wildest expectations as it has now been shared more than 25,000 times.

“It’s incredible to watch people put their lives on hold and completely care for kids that really, really need it,” Skiles said of the nurses she’s encountered so far. “And they care for the parents too.”

 

Shelby and Jonathan Skiles pose with their 2-year-old daughter Sophie who was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in May.

 

The post was also seen by the nurses caring for Sophie at Children’s Medical Center. Clinical Manager of the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Susan McCollom, a nurse who has been involved in Sophie’s treatment expressed her gratitude: “I am just so grateful that she did that. Our job is very difficult, emotionally, physically and mentally and it kind of captured why we do our job and that what we do is not just a job.”

She added: “I’m very proud of my team, but not surprised because I know that’s what they do every day.”

 

An unidentified nurse cares for Sophie Skiles, 2, at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

 

Sophie Skiles, 2, has undergone at least 15 rounds of chemotherapy since being diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma.

Skiles said Sophie is expected to remain at the Dallas hospital until at least the end of January and will then transfer to nearby housing. Once the stem cell transplant is complete, Sophie will need to continue undergoing therapy and live close to the hospital for her regular check-ups.

“It’s incredible to watch people put their lives on hold and completely care for kids that really, really need it,” Skiles said of the nurses she’s encountered so far. “And they care for the parents too.”

Below is the tribute which was written by Skiles to Sophie’s nurses.

Description
“Dear Peds Nurses,
(And incredible nurse techs!)I see you. I sit on this couch all day long and, I see you. You try so hard to be unnoticed by me and my child. I see your face drop a little when she sees you and cries. You try so many ways to ease her fears and win her over. I see you hesitate to stick her or pull bandaids off. You say ‘No owies’ and ‘I’m sorry’ more times in one day than most people say ‘thank you’.I see all of those rubber bracelets on your arms and wrapped around your stethoscope, each one for a child that you’ve cared for and loved. I see you carrying armloads of medicine and supplies into one child’s room all while your phone is ringing in your pocket from the room of another. I see you put on gloves and a mask and try not to make too much noise at night. I see you sorting piles of beads so you can give them to your patient to add to their ever-growing milestone necklace. I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly. I see you holding the crying mom that got bad news. I see you trying to chart on the computer while holding the baby whose mom can’t-or won’t be at the hospital with her.You put aside what’s happening in your life for 12 hours straight to care for very sick and sometimes dying children. You go into each room with a smile no matter what’s happening in there. You see Sophie’s name on the schedule and come to check on us even when she isn’t your patient. You call the doctor, blood bank, and pharmacy as many times as necessary to get my child what she needs in a timely manner. You check on me as often as you check on her. You sit and listen to me ramble for 10 minutes even though your phone is buzzing and your to-do list is a mile long.I see you using your phone as a template to paint the perfect cartoon character on the new kid’s window. I see you cheering so enthusiastically for the kid taking laps around the nurses’ station. I see you with that Nerf gun hiding from the kid around the corner. I see you hold tiny hands, change dirty sheets, translate medical talk for parents, and wipe your eyes coming out of a particularly hard room. I see you put on gloves, masks, and a gown then pause before you hang an IV bag of poison chemo for my kid.I see you. We all see you. No amount of snack baskets or cards can fully express how appreciated you are. You are Jesus to us every single day. Our children wouldn’t get what they need without you. Moms like me wouldn’t feel sane or heard without you. You save our babies and we couldn’t do this without you.

Love,
A mom that sees all you do and loves you dearly for it.”

Credit: Sophie The Brave

When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don’t remember me nor do I remember them, but I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing.

Donna Wilk Cardillo

For more news, views and funny stuff follow Trending Nurses on Facebook: