The Angel Disguised as My Patient Was Named Cathy

Count yourself blessed if at some point in your life you meet someone who shifts your life and delivers a message to you, when you need it the most.  These seemly random people or events are like angel messengers who show up at just the right time to awaken the unknown parts of you and bring a change of heart.

I remember a day right before my marriage ended, when I met Cathy.  It was a normal workday and I was riding the bus to work, staring out the window to the streets below, asking myself some intense questions.  My existence at that point consisted of waking up everyday next to a man that felt as distant and vast to me as the grand canyon and left me with a curious anxiety that could have killed any cat.  I was under a mild phase of depression walking on a dead end road.

I had begun to ask myself, “What is it that truly makes me happy”?  “How can I bring more happiness into my life”?  “What can I do to move through the fear of change”?   These questions lingered in my mind as I disembarked the bus and clocked in for my hospital shift.  

When you ask questions paving an entrance for the universe to appear, it’s funny how it shows up.  This particular day, it appeared as my patient, Cathy.  She was in her mid 40s coming into the hospital for a dressing change to the infection in her chest, at a spot just above her heart where her Port-a-Cath central line used to be.  She was in remission from breast cancer, and had stopped all chemotherapy.   

Like an angel, an ultimate confessor in my patient care room, Cathy told me that she had been married in a loveless, nurture-less marriage for many years.  It was during that time when she developed breast cancer.  During the course of her treatment, her husband got less and less interested, developed “side hobbies”, which translated into other women, and she had to make the hard decision.  

Cathy told me, “When you can’t love the one you’re with and yourself in it, and then suddenly face cancer with someone who doesn’t love you through it, it is time to leave”.  Cathy was delivering a message to me, when I needed it the most, “You have to be happy, or else you’ll get cancer”.  

As a nurse, I know there is such a thing as genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices, but the influence of energy and symbolism to her life and the timing in which she was sharing it in mine, was quite profound.  My patient’s body, her breast, a part known for nurturing, nourishment, comfort, love, femininity, self-esteem and sexuality had housed her cancer.  She had suffered against harvesting those glorious attributes within her marriage, instead she had to learn how to find them within herself while recovering. 

As for me, I was living in a marriage that was feeding off me and not really giving back in any helpful way, sort of like a tumor, but not invasive enough to yet make me change.  I was so used to dealing with other people’s problems and needs that I rarely thought about what I needed.  On the other hand, cancer is a serious wake up call and disease that results in living life in a manner where it gets your undivided attention. 

The angel disguised as my patient Cathy, got my undivided attention.  She gave me a serious wake up call with her message to remind me that loving ourselves is first and foremost the most important thing to do and that the things that happen to our bodies and spirits are not accidental.  It was the right time for me to know that my marriage was failing for a reason, I wasn’t loving myself in it and nor was my husband.  It was time I start loving and paying attention to me.  

Cathy’s words have stayed with me since that day.  They stayed with me throughout the end of my marriage.  They continue to bring me hope that we all deserve to be happy, deserve to love ourselves, and we ARE worth it.  

Angels appear, I’m convinced they do, because I met one named Cathy. 

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Jenn Maronek

Nurse | Blogger | Coach | Author

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