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Pam McMillan a native to the Texas Panhandle is a registered nurse, wife and mother. During her career she has developed a passion for serving those suffering from cancer. Her current role is leading the survivorship program on behalf of the Harrington Cancer and Health Foundation. She continues to serve those individuals and families across the region that are affected by cancer. Follow her on Twitter @pammo10

Just BE

Is there actually an increase of hospital visits when a full moon is present? Does the moon increase the incidence of admissions or injury?
Full moon
Is there actually an increase of hospital visits when a full moon is present?  Does the moon increase the incidence of admissions or injury?  I am not a researcher, nor do I have the answers, but I do know that despite the myths or facts, there is something about the full moon that brings extraordinary beauty to the sky and a sense of calmness within.  You are probably wondering what does the full moon have to do with cancer patients, right?
Recently, I went on a Full Moon Hike with cancer survivors in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the US and provides the perfect backdrop for such an event.  This hike was not only for cancer survivors, but included their families.  After all, cancer is a family affair. 
The sun was just setting and it was very calm and peaceful as we started our one mile hike.  As I walked alongside a survivor he proceeded to tell me all about his cancer journey.  His life has been forever changed because of his cancer.  Although he isn’t able to enjoy some of the things  he used to, this walk put a whole new perceptive on things for him.  He said numerous times how beautiful and calm it was and how healing it was just to get outside and be active.  I am sure his feelings could apply to many survivors. 
During the hike, I also listened to crickets, smelled the scents of the outdoors, saw turkeys and rabbits and just enjoyed being in the serene surroundings.  We came upon a cliff and we all stopped to watch the full moon peak over an area called Fortress Cliff.  We all stood still in amazement as the brightness and glow of the moon grew larger and brighter until it was completely full. Upon continuing our journey, we learned about the history of various geographical formations of the park, how to safely hike at night, and the importance of being outside.  The most important lesson I learned that night is that we all could practice stillness. 
Is your life a tangled mess?  How often do you allow yourself to just BE?  How do you allow yourself to be calm during the day and allow your body to heal and gather your thoughts? As a nurse, sometimes it is hard to just stop and BE because of all the chatter that goes on around us and in us.  This is also true for cancer patients.  When we become better connected with ourselves we are better connected to others, including our patients.  When we are calm it can provide strength and clarity in different situations.  When we invest in ourselves, relationships can grow with the ones we love.
Healing calm is a process that does not happen overnight.  It can take away our fears, urges, and anxiety about the unknown.  It can stop all the chatter that goes on within us.  Empower yourself with silent moments to gather your thoughts and allow your heart to breathe.  How do you slow yourself down and practice healing calm?  Is it the silence on the drive to work? Is it a silent moment before you see the next patient? Is it being silent so that you can be present with your patient?  Or is it just seeing the beauty of the full moon?  However, you practice healing calm remember that time is not lost in those still moments, but instead, a sense of peace can be gained. 

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
More from Pam McMillan, RN, OCN
Understanding the effects of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is imperative to be able to care for our patients better. 
PUBLISHED: Tue October 17 2017
Many patients complain of feeling so tired. What can we do to help those suffering from fatigue?
PUBLISHED: Tue August 29 2017
What milestones do you celebrate with your oncology patients?
PUBLISHED: Thu June 15 2017
As a young adult with cancer you may feel like a prisoner in your own world. How can nurses help this age group?
PUBLISHED: Wed May 31 2017
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