Some of my acquaintances have asked me questions like; "So, basically you write to a complete stranger who is not expected to write you back just to wish them luck with their treatments? Writing a card a week is a big commitment." Yes, although I usually send something a little more personal than "good luck this week."
"Do your patients ever die?" I have had 2 patients die. One in treatment and one who had graduated.
"Have you ever heard from any of your patients?" I have heard from all but 2 of them and chat often with 5 of them.
"Why do you do this program?" I first started doing Chemoangels because they put out a call to people to get involved. One of the women who was a patient of mine, who has since passed away, was a woman named Mary. She was an older widow who had lung cancer. She was the first patient that I ever became close to after she was out of the program. She and I were pretty different from one another and I wasn't sure if she really connected with my letters (since they don't have to write you back) and one day I went to my mailbox and found a card from her. It was a Thanksgiving card. In it, she wrote that even though she was surrounded by family at home, she felt like I had become family and that she felt very close to me. She told me that she was extremely thankful for my letters because they gave her something to look forward to, she enjoyed hearing what I had to write and, most importantly, it made her feel normal- like I wasn't tiptoe-ing around the fact that she was sick, but I didn't dwell on it either. The card meant a lot to me and gave me renewed energy to take on more patients.
This week I am celebrating the last chemo treatment of my current patient! If you're a letter writer, I would encourage you to check out ChemoAngels.