Local Nurse Offers a Lesson in Courage

Thursday, March 28, 2013
Loran and Sue Johnson on the pulpit at Trailers Chapel Church. (TD photo/Marie Hillyer)

We all have our heroes. Bravery presents itself in various ways that prompt our admiration, and of the many battles that call for brave tenacity cancer may be one of the most daunting.

Sue Johnson of Pollard is among those who have faced this battle, and her husband, Loran, has been her strong ally in the journey.

Sue, herself a Registered Nurse, was recently invited to speak to the ASU Association of Applied Science students at Jonesboro. This group consists of LPN's who are enrolled in the LPN to AASN Trak at the Jonesboro campus under the direction of Cathy P. Hall, MSN, RN, OCN.

Sue told the group the story of her diagnosis of breast cancer in September of 2009, and related some of the emotional, spiritual and financial aspects of dealing with the disease.

Her husband, Loran, was also invited to share his experiences as a caregiver and supporter. Both noted that as difficult as life as a cancer patient has been, they have also recognized that there have been blessings along the way.

Sue told the students she was forced to have her left hip replaced in July of 2010, due to her cancer metastasizing to the bone. She also shared experiences concerning the five different chemotherapy drugs, and three surgeries she endured in battling the disease.

She also reviewed her current maintenance schedule, which is overseen by Dr. Ronald Blachley of NEA Baptist Clinic in Jonesboro. The regimen includes bi-weekly IV doses of Herceptin, along with monthly injections of Faslodex and a bone-strengthening medication.

Johnson also receives a PET scan approximately every three months, along with an echocardiogram to check on the progress and stability of the disease process.

As busy as the Johnsons are with trips to Jonesboro for treatment and check-ups, they don't neglect their duties to family and church. Loran has served as interim pastor at Trailer's Chapel Church, located north of Pollard, since last October. Meanwhile, she teaches a Sunday school class and is a song leader.

Sue notes it was very difficult for her to give up her nursing career, but quit in 2011 due to her health. She first started her work in the field as a nurse's aide at Piggott Nursing Center. She added that she liked nursing so well she enrolled in EMT classes and was hired by Piggott Community Hospital.

Later she worked in the office of Dr. Jerry Muse, at the Duckworth-Muse Medical Clinic, while attending Mississippi County Community College at Blytheville. She graduated from the school as a Registered Nurse in 1995.

Following graduation she worked at Piggott Community Hospital. She also worked five years at the General Baptist Nursing Home in Campbell, and then another five years for East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging.

The Johnsons have two children, Melissa Terry and Richard Johnson. The couple also enjoys spending a lot of time with their seven grandchildren.

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