By Dr. Anna Courie,
Director, Responder Wellness, FirstNet Program at AT&T
In the fall of 2014, my husband got unexpected orders for us to move from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in the middle of the school year. We purchased an older home sight unseen in preparation for the move. And it needed a lot of work. We had workers come in before we arrived to take care of the bulk of the renovations. But to defray costs, we had planned to paint the lower level ourselves.
The day after we went under contract, I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. Like many lymphoma patients, I’d had a bunch of weird, nonspecific symptoms. This had delayed a proper diagnosis until they found the tumors in my neck. I was stunned. I was 38 years old with 2 young children and a thriving career in health and wellness. Cancer wasn’t in my plans. But you can’t really plan for traumatic events. They just happen.
I remember feeling numb. I remember the roaring in my ears. I vaguely remember the discussions on port placement, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and the need for additional surgery.
And we were moving.
After my second surgery, we packed up the house and the kids with the intent to start my treatment in D.C. Some of the best lymphoma doctors were in the area. And while moving in the middle of a major illness isn’t always advised, this was a better option for our family.
When we arrived at our new home, we walked into a house we’d never seen before. And there was a smell. The smell of fresh paint. As we flipped on the lights, we saw the note from some of our oldest military friends welcoming us to our new home. They had come. And they had painted. So, when we arrived, all we had to do was move in. The house was done. And I could focus on treatment and recovery.
They showed up. They cared. They had our backs.
That’s what we’re doing at FirstNet®. We care about your health and wellness. We plan to roll up our sleeves and work with you on the best ways to support your efforts. We know life has a way of throwing things at us for which we can never plan. Those are the times when caring matters the most. We plan to be there.
Dr. Anna Fitch Courie, Director of Responder Wellness, FirstNet Program at AT&T, is a nurse, Army wife, former university faculty, and author. She holds a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Clemson University; a Master’s in Nursing Education from the University of Wyoming; and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Ohio State University.
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