- With Mayo Clinic nurse educator
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.read biographyclose window
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.Sheryl M. Ness
Sheryl Ness, R.N., O.C.N., is a nurse educator for the Cancer Education Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She helps inform patients, families and caregivers about services and resources to help them through the cancer journey.
She has a master's degree in nursing from Augsburg College. In addition, she is an assistant professor of oncology at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and is certified as a specialist in oncology nursing. Sheryl has worked for more than 20 years at Mayo Clinic as an educator. She has a keen interest in the importance of the quality of life and concerns of people living with cancer.
- Share your story about living with cancer
May 18, 2013
- Gratitude for a mother's care and love
May 10, 2013
- Celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day
May 3, 2013
- Practice mindful eating during, after cancer treatment
April 27, 2013
- How to manage hand-foot syndrome from chemotherapy
April 20, 2013
Living with cancer blog
July 3, 2010
Cancer survivors: Dealing with guilt when others don't live on
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
At a dinner outing recently, I sat next to a young woman who had just been declared by her doctors to be in remission from her lymphoma. Over the course of the evening, we talked about many aspects of being a cancer survivor.
We joked about her hair growing back curly when it had always been straight. We talked about chemotherapy and feeling horrible. She mentioned the tension of waiting for the next time she would have tests, and the continued status of remission. When I asked her what the hardest part was about being a cancer survivor, she said survival skills.
She was talking about the aspect of survival that we rarely mention, the fact that she'd survived and was in remission while others didn't do well and hadn't survived. She said to me, "No one explains to you how to deal with the guilt of surviving."
This young woman had a strong will to live and a wonderful outlook on life. She'd done well and was celebrating her remission, but was forever changed by what she'd been through as a cancer patient and survivor. This feeling of guilt is a normal part of being human, a manner of searching for the meaning of her survival vs. another person's death. I encouraged her to explore those feelings by either talking with others or journaling. By acknowledging her thoughts and feelings in some way, I hoped to help her let go of the guilt and start enjoying and celebrating being alive.
I'm curious to know if others have had survival guilt. What's helped you?blog index Next page