Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation Celebrates Nurses Week

By Johanne Levesque on May 14 / 2015

[Cancer, Caregivers, News]Comments

Cancer patient Millie Bourdeau and Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation VP of Survivorship Care Johanne Levesque present oncology nurse Sandra Lowry with the Carole & Norman Zagerman Compassionate Care Award

Oncology Nurse Receives the Carole & Norman Zagerman Compassionate Care Award

Millie Bourdeau is used to taking charge of tough situations.  As director of Public Safety and Enforcement with the Township of Russell, she specializes in emergency management.

But, when the 52 year-old was diagnosed with cervical cancer, she was taken completely off guard – and found herself at the centre of a personal crisis.

“I was completely in shock.  There was absolutely nothing to warn me that there was something wrong,” she explains.  “I exercise daily.  I eat well and am very active. I still can’t understand how or why this happened to me.”

In February, Millie began her treatment schedule of chemotherapy, radiation and brachytherapy.  It was an incredibly difficult two months, as the side-effects from treatment were intense and took their toll on her health.

“I was nauseous most of the time and very tired,” she says.  “I couldn’t eat and wasn’t sleeping a lot.”

She found great comfort in the support she received from family and friends, and those who were caring for her at The Ottawa Hospital.  That’s where she met oncology nurse Sandra Lowry.

“She always took the time to explain everything to me so I knew exactly what was going to happen.  I really appreciated how much care she placed on making sure I was ok.”

It was that care and attention to detail that impressed Millie. In fact, she was incredibly touched when she discovered Sandra came back mid-week from vacation to ensure she received her scheduled brachytherapy treatment.

“Can you imagine – she was on vacation and came in to make sure my treatment wouldn’t be delayed a week.  It was quite something to me!”

In honour of her amazing dedication to her profession and her patients, Millie nominated Sandra for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s Carole & Norman Zagerman Compassionate Care Award.

The award was presented to Sandra this week, in honour of national Nurses week.

“Words can’t say how happy I am,” remarks Sandra.  “It makes us feel that we are doing the right things for our patients.”

Back to Blog Listing