BISMARCK, ND (KXMA) — A traveling nurse helping to treat coronavirus patients in North Dakota has been diagnosed with both COVID-19 and cancer, but she’s still remaining positive through it all.
Helene Neville arrived in Bismarck on Sept. 7 and was working three to four 12-hour shifts every week until mid-October. Then she started feeling tired and decided to go to the emergency room, where she was greeted by a nurse.
“Said to the nurse, ‘You know, I’m a traveling nurse. I don’t know one person in this town and by the way, I don’t have insurance at this very moment. Can you help me?’ She came around and said, ‘You’ve come to the right place.’ Then I passed out,” said the 60-year-old Neville.
After some tests, the news was something nobody wants to hear.
“It’s stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and it’s with some metastasis to my liver and spleen,” Neville said.
To make things worse, she was also diagnosed with COVID and now has to wait four more weeks to start chemo.
On Nov. 19, she had a port installed in her body for the upcoming chemo treatments, but it became infected, and she was hospitalized earlier this week with a blood infection.
Neville has been a nurse for the last 36 years. She’s worked in eight states and 200 hospitals. She says it’s humbling to be on the other side of the bed.
“I gained a huge perspective when you tell somebody you don’t know how long you have,” Neville said.
Despite all of the hurdles, she’s doing what she can to remain positive.
“There’ always somebody less fortunate, and so, I have to try to be an example for other people that there’s life with hope. But it’s not just hope. If you have action too, the action I want to display is that until your last breath, you can be an example for others,” Neville said.
Neville says she has a lot of life left to live.
“I want to see my grandkids drive a car or things like that. I want to be a nurse for 40 years, so I want four more years,” she said.
“People say things happen for a reason. I don’t know if that’s true but having happened in this location I was glad to be here and not somewhere else,” Neville said.
Neville also hopes to be able to check another thing off of her bucket list: Run across Canada just like she did in the United States.
She ran more than 13,000 miles by herself, stopping at cancer centers and hospitals along the way.
- Coronavirus update: 25% of Virginia's population fully vaccinated; Residents over 16 eligible for vaccineVirginia is getting 77,983 COVID-19 vaccine doses into arms each day on average. According to the state’s health department, more than 5.3 million doses have been administered in Virginia.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, hinted that there could soon be changes to the COVID-19 health policy on face masks.
- All adults in the U.S. should be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting Monday after President Joe Biden announced a deadline for states to expand eligibility.
- This morning, the Virginia Department of Health will be issuing a message alerting everyone 16+ they are now eligible to register for the shot under Phase 2.
- Petersburg City Public Schools announced that two students at Cool Spring Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19.
- A woman was not allowed on her flight out of Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina, all because of the type of mask she was wearing.
- The CEO of drug company Moderna announced this week that they will make a third booster shot for the two-dose vaccine available by the fall.
- The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
- With summer travel plans heating up as the country continues to see vaccination numbers rise, many are eager to hit the road.
- Virginia is closing in on averaging 78,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per day. This as the Virginia Department of Health reports 1,305 new cases of COVID-19 in Virginia for April 18.