Deb Aston, MSN, RN, CPN was the 8th place winner for our Top Nursing Blogs contest. She runs the blog, Nurses Notes.
Deb’s 33 years of nursing experience is in pediatrics. Throughout her career she has been a Lead Nursing Supervisor, Nurse Manager, and Pediatric Clinical Coordinator. She currently works as a Nurse Clinical Coordinator for an insurance company managing medically at-risk children so that they receive the care they need.
As a nurse, Deb was trained to give excellent care to her patients, helping them recover, maintain quality of life, and thrive. But nothing can truly prepare a nurse for the task of providing that care to your own family and loved ones.
Deb shared with us how when her parents required her nursing skills and expertise, her world changed forever.
“I started writing my blog in 2017, when both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer the same year. My mother was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and was given less than a year to live, and soon after, my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer, with mets to the lung and bone. It was something that shook me to my core.
I didn’t have any words to say out loud without crying … so I started writing.
I took a leave of absence from my job at the Morgan-Stanley Children’s Hospital at New York Presbyterian in NYC where, ironically, I was the Nurse Manager of the pediatric hematology-oncology/BMT unit to care for my dad when he went into hospice care at home, which was his wish.
I don’t think I knew how I was going to care for my parents being both a nurse and a daughter. But I did it. And it broke my heart when my dad passed so quickly. As a nurse, I knew his time on Earth was ending soon, but as a daughter, I wasn’t close to being ready to lose him. I think my only comfort was that he was finally free from pain.
My mom, who was given such a short time to live after diagnosis, is still with us, and she is doing well with maintenance IV chemotherapy every three weeks, which is keeping the mesothelioma stable. Her doctors say that she is a miracle by outliving such a terrible disease. She is a fighter!
My writing is inspired by my real life experiences as a nurse… everything from caring for my parents, to caring for my pediatric patients, suicide and depression, racism, leaving jobs that I loved, and starting over. I write about my own medical challenges with arachnoiditis, and about being vulnerable, and trying not to lose hope. Writing has become a way for me to process my heavy emotions.
Writing is like therapy.”
For Deb, family is everything. She recently moved from her home state of New Jersey to Delaware to be closer to her daughter.
IntelyCare is humbled and honored to share Deb’s story and share her writing with the nursing community.
Check out the rest of the Top Nursing Blogs here!