ROM THE BEGINNING, my life has been connected
to CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. I was born at CHRISTUS
Cabrini in 1968, and my sister, Rhonda, was born there three years
later. My grandmother, Virginia Verzwyvelt, began working at Cabrini
Hospital in 1958. I remember going to visit her there as a child.
She reported to a Sister, and that image was my first memory of
the hospital. I remember seeing the Sisters in their habits, speaking
with Irish accents, and always smiling.
graduating from Northwestern State University, my husband, Matt,
and I decided to move to Alexandria. I was drawn to CHRISTUS St.
Frances Cabrini Hospital. In April 1992, I was hired in the Safety
department. My grandmother retired that same month after 34 years
of service. My family has always relied on CHRISTUS St. Frances
Cabrini when they needed medical care. We have celebrated many new
additions to our family at the hospital. Our own son, Hunter, was
born there in 1998 and his birth made me realize that we have come
Beginning in 1997, my Cabrini family saw my family and me through
extremely difficult times. In April of that year, my mother was
diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We immediately had major decisions
to make, and needed a lot of prayerful support. In faith, we asked
and received. I remember going to the hospital’s annual review
meeting on a Monday morning in May 1997. It was the first day my
mom was to undergo chemotherapy.
I walked into a room filled with about 100 Associates, knowing that
I needed to tell them all about the hospital’s safety program
and to do a good job, but my heart was not in it. Denise Laborde
was in charge of the program and knew of my personal situation.
Before I began my presentation, Denise asked how I was doing and
wanted to know if a prayer would help. When I said yes, she asked
the entire group to pray for my mom and family. Perhaps Denise and
the group assembled there that day didn’t believe they had
done very much, but their prayer meant the world to me. Later that
day, I called to check on my mom and told her what had happened
at the meeting. She said, “I felt that prayer, just as I was
beginning treatment, and a calm came over me. I knew everything
was going to be all right.”
Indeed, my mom was all right. She has not had a recurrence of ovarian
cancer since her diagnosis in 1997. I wish the story ended there,
but in August of 1999, my mom had lymph nodes removed, and they
proved to be cancerous. She started chemotherapy and once again,
I found myself seeking support for my family. At the time, Father
Chris Nayak from the hospital’s Spiritual Care Department
had started a program of routing e-mails for Associates who requested
prayers for themselves, their family members, or friends who were
ill. The response was tremendous, and it meant a great deal to me.
Associates whom I had never met would stop me in the hallways and
ask how my mom was doing. They would tell me that she was in their
prayers. As a result, I felt a deeper connection with my co-workers.
In February 2000, my mother had more lymph nodes removed. This time
she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a mastectomy. During
her chemotherapy treatments, the prayers and support shown to my
family were again strongly sensed.
In 2002, Mom’s cancer continued to spread, affecting her liver
and brain. She had radiation therapy at CHRISTUS Schumpert Hospital,
but my CHRISTUS Cabrini family continued to show their support.
So many of our prayers continue to be answered as we keep on fighting
the cancer. Today, we still pray, and our hearts remain filled with
hope. Just knowing that I can always count on my CHRISTUS Cabrini
family to provide excellent care for my mother, as well as tremendous
spiritual support, is a gift beyond measure.
CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital