The surge of emotion is unleashed with the words breast cancer.
Some women break down in agonized sobbing. Others react with denial. Sometimes it’s a mix.
As a nurse navigator for Community Health Network, Sharon Bronnenberg can only watch, hold their hands and pull them close to cry. She remembers receiving the same diagnosis.
As both a nurse navigator and breast cancer survivor, Bronnenberg offers a unique perspective on the disease and how to beat it. She provides hope. After undergoing a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy, she has been cancer-free for 14 years.
Bronnenberg helps guide patients through the frightening process of breast cancer. She’s with them as soon as they’re diagnosed, cries with them when they’re scared and celebrates with them when they complete treatment.
“I can identify with these patients. I’ve had their thoughts and their fears,” she said. “I’ve been in their shoes, and I understand. That almost gives them a relief that someone they know is living and been through it.”
Nurse navigators help provide some continuity in the process. Patients are assigned to a different doctor every time they come to the hospital, from physician to oncologist to surgeon.