Cancer Nurse Practitioner Reflects on Her Own Bone Marrow Transplant 18 Years Ago

Cancer Nurse Practitioner Reflects on Her Own Bone Marrow Transplant 18 Years Ago

Yali Derman, MSN, APN, CPNP-AC, CPHON, reflects on the 18th anniversary of her bone marrow transplant at Lurie Children’s (then Children’s Memorial). Today, Yali is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation and works alongside many of those who cared for her 18 years ago.

By Yali Derman, MSN, APN, CPNP-AC, CPHON

Today, I have the privilege of serving as a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner for patients and families at Lurie Children’s. 18 years ago on August 30th, I was preparing to receive a life-saving treatment, a bone marrow transplant, for recurrent leukemia at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s). Today, I am so fortunate to call myself a survivor, a thriver, a dreamer with my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground and to call so many life-saving angels my colleagues.

When I was first diagnosed with leukemia almost 23 years ago, bright yellow chemotherapy accented my IV pole as I performed “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the nurses in day-hospital. Allison Parise was one of my first fans and she has never stop cheering me on since. What I love most is that she is always in touch with her inner child and she has always practiced true to the adage-some days we win and some days we lose but we always dress up for the game because we all can be champions in our own way!

Yali and Allison Parise singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

I am forever grateful for my brother’s marrow, for the gift of life, for my entire family with their love and endless support, for the countless health professionals, who all have rescued me in times of darkness and who celebrate with me in times of joy, for my patients and their families who provide fire to my life’s purpose and for the Divine hand in it all. A special shout out today to Dr. Elaine  Morgan, nurse practitioner Maureen Haugen, nurse educator Mary Lynn Rae, Dr. Reggie Duerst and nurse practitioner Kim Powers.


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