U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R 17
After working in other hospitals across the state, Mrs. Foshee says she knows the percep- tion of UAB by some patients: an enormous behemoth where every patient is just a num- ber. That s something she works against, she says. I m a face to the person so that they can actually learn about and not be over- whelmed by UAB and to feel that somebody cares, she says.
PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY Mrs. Foshee began working at UAB in
infusion therapy in 2006 and became a patient-care coordinator in 2008 when the Cancer Center implemented its Integrated Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Program to make cancer care at UAB easier for patients and staff. She first became interested in oncology as a junior nursing student at Auburn University at Montgomery, when her uncle was diagnosed with a rare cancer known as carcinoid syndrome.
There were really no treatments for it just some experimental things, so I began helping my aunt research, trying to find things to help him, she recalls. I became chemo-certified as soon as I got out of nurs- ing school.
Working with cancer patients has been both a rewarding and an educational experi- ence for Mrs. Foshee. I ve learned a lot in my 27 years as a nurse, but I ve learned more in the past four years about what causes cells to become cancerous and what causes cancer cells to make people sick, she says. It s real- ly neat to be able to look under a microscope and to be able to tell what kind of a cell that person has. Giving chemotherapy, I knew all about side effects and how to help patients with those issues, but now I can help with the diagnosis as well and tell them what to look for and prepare them for the journey ahead.
For Mrs. Foshee, though, treating cancer patients often means facing the reality of the disease and the ups and downs that come with it. You wouldn t be human if you didn t feel down at times, she says. There are days you want to go in your office and cry because you ve had to tell somebody there s noth- ing else you can do. But you look at it from the perspective of all the people you do help, where you re able to tell them that they don t have any more disease. Those are things you live for. That s what keeps me doing what I do.
I m a very religious person, and I believe God puts people in your life for a specific
reason, she adds. I believe He s put me here to be able to help these people who need extra special attention and love. If I didn t think I was helping people every day, I couldn t do what I do.
A FRIENDLY FUTURE Outside UAB, Mrs. Foshee enjoys reading,
singing, cooking, working in her yard and spending time with her husband, Robin, and their two children, Nathan, 22, and Haley, 21. She and her husband are active in their church and recently took a 10-day trip a much-needed trip, she says to Alaska. The two met while playing city league volleyball in Auburn. He spiked the ball down on my head and made me all dizzy, Mrs. Foshee recalls. I ve been dizzy ever since.
Professionally, Mrs. Foshee has plans to start a new support group for her patients and wants to continue being the first friendly face her patients see at UAB. I want my patients to know that if they ever need anything, they can call me, because I m not ever too busy to talk to them, she says. At UAB, it s not about making millions and millions of dol- lars. It s about the person. It s about what s best for that patient.
AT UAB, IT S NOT ABOUT MAKING
MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
IT S ABOUT THE PERSON. IT S ABOUT WHAT S BEST FOR
THAT PATIENT. Edna Foshee