A give and take of kindness
Stanley Rens, a melanoma patient, and Sister Andrea Brummer, Senior Nurse at The Mary Potter Oncology Centre, are the first winners of our Exceptional Nurse competition. They both won a two-night midweek getaway for two at Rosemary Hill, plus a gift pack courtesy of Sorbet.
Stanley Rens (64) lives in Dinokeng Game Reserve, Tshwane with his wife, Stephané. He has three sons, two step-sons and three grandchildren.
Stanley met Sister Andrea in June 2020 when he started his prescribed two-year immunotherapy (pembrolizumab). Prior to this he underwent three surgeries on his shoulder after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma in July 2019.
When asked why he nominated Sister Andrea as an exceptional nurse, he responds, “Because what you see is what you get! She is down to earth, extremely loving and caring, always friendly and she always has something positive to say to encourage all her patients. Nothing is too much trouble for her. Andrea’s passion as well as her knowledge about cancer and the different treatments put me at ease as I felt that I was in good professional hands. Plus, the encouragement she gives me during treatment always makes me feel special and keeps me positive,” Stanley explains.
“About four months ago, my medication wasn’t sent on time for my appointment, so I had to reschedule for two days later. That day I was the only patient, so after Sister Andrea connected my drip, she sat on the floor and chatted to me.
She shared so much information about cancer as well as cancer research that was still being done. She also made me realise that there is life after cancer and no matter what cancer you have there is hope.”
Andrea Brummer (52 ) lives in Equestria, Pretoria with her husband.
Sister Andrea works at The Mary Potter Oncology Centre (MPOC) in Pretoria as a senior professional nurse. MPOC is the mothership practice with a few satellite practices, such as Montana Oncology, where Stanley receives his treatment.
Sister Andrea will be celebrating her 25 year work anniversary. “The unit officially opened its doors in February 1999. But before then we were functional at Muelmed Hospital for two years. I’m therefore blessed to be reaching my silver anniversary with 25 years on my belt.”
When asked how she feels about being nominated, she responds, “I’m absolutely blown away. I feel like I need to be pinched. At the same time,
I feel humbled, because throughout these cancer journeys that the patients undertake, they are challenged by thoughts of fear, anxiety, despair, and depression. It’s a reminder to keep focussed on those moments of happiness, relief, and positivity. It’s those moments that carry us through the tough times. And it’s a privilege for me to be able to share both the good times and the bad times with our patients.”
Sister Andrea sees her caring as the reason why she is seen as an exceptional nurse. “The trauma and vulnerability that patients face with all these big C words: cancer and chemotherapy. I want to replace them with other words: care, comfort, and control. I don’t want them to be burdened by anything unnecessary on their cancer journey. Where there are holes, I want to fill them and relieve any stress. I will try and advocate for them to the very best of my ability. To use a quote from The Life of David Gale, ‘What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals and not to measure your life by what you’ve attained in terms of your desires, but by those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality and self-sacrifice.’”
Sister Andrea says there are so many good moments she had with Stanley, “The times I’ve gone on my knees for a vein and they’ve appeared. I remember him rubbing his hands vigorously to help the veins to stand out. The times I’ve been praying for good scan results (with which he has been rewarded).”
She is also happy that he has won the competition too. “He deserves it. For every single penny he has forked out for his treatments (that he has managed to sustain for almost two years) and he always comes in with a smile. He has to travel from a distance every three weeks, and does it diligently. He is always accompanied by his beautiful wife (with stunning blue eyes) and then, I see the sparkles in his. It’s like a Christmas tree. Every one of us has a tree, and we decorate it with our own memories of life. These decorations are what make it beautiful, and worth celebrating.”
MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams
Laurelle is the Editor at Word for Word Media and graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She have a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Write me: email@example.com
Photos by Word for Word Media