School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Cissy White – Cancer as a Survivor

My dear friend Cissy has ovarian cancer. She is also a trauma survivor, writer, speaker and a mom. Cissy is one of the dearest, most loving and gentle souls that I know. Ovarian cancer snuck up on her and took everyone, including her doctors by surprise. But it will not stop Cissy from loving, caring, sharing, and taking those who read her amazing blogs on a healing journey. 

Even in the midst of surgery and chemo, Cissy is celebrating love in her life. She is buoyed by the love of family and friends. When she is feeling well enough, Cissy is a relentless researcher. She is devouring information that has led her through her treatments with knowledge, questions and the fortitude to fight through the unchartered waters of navigating cancer. 

Here is a link to the must-read blog post that Cissy wrote for ACEs Connection, where she continues to fulfill her role as Community Manager for the Northeast and Mid Atlantic Regions: ACEs Connection: Cancer as a Survivor

Cissy has fought for the voice of survivors in all things trauma-related. She often says, “It is not trauma informed, unless it is informed by trauma survivors.” This same view applies to her cancer warriorship. Here is a glimpse of her brilliant writing:

There’s a need for more and better research, practices, creativity, treatments, and cures. I can contribute. We survivors we must invite ourselves to the solutions table — where we are too often absent — to help advance our cause, health, and life by sharing our expertise. This is true for those with high ACEs as well. Too often, we’re treated as the already damaged and dead and not as people who can lead, change, and be learned from.

The medical model focuses on prolonging life as long as possible, which, on the face of it, sounds positive. I certainly want to live a normal length life, if I can. I hope to defy my prognosis or statistical average. But not at any cost.

To my badass friend, I love you and respect your gift of writing with all my being. Your Twitter friends are lifting you through our #CissyLoversUnited campaign on social media. I am grateful for your friendship on Twitter and in real life. You have taught me so much about survivorship that I did not know. Every conversation I have with you leaves my brain on fire from all that I learn from listening to you share your perspective. 

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