Madison nurse shares Mother’s Day victory as her 13-year-old daughter is now cancer free

MADISON, Wis. –For the past 20 years– Nicole Wayman has been through thick and thin working as a nurse at the American Family Children’s Hospital. A career she chose to help people when they need it most.

“Maybe I could impact healthcare and people’s lives if I went to nursing school,” Wayman said.

Wayman has spent the last eight years working in the pediatric cancer unit, learning to empathize with the moms as they walk their child down a path no one wants to go down.

“It tugs on your heartstrings,” she said. “I’ve had moments when I’ve sat and cried with a mother and together it was about us and our children.”

Even after years of helping families navigate this road, little did she know she would soon take a walk in their shoes.

“She was 11 when she was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma,” Wayman said.

Wayman’s daughter, Aubrey, was now her patient.

“I was her mom but I was her nurse. I made sure she got what she needed. I advocated fiercely for her,” she said.

Wayman stood by her daughter’s side through it all, even shaving her head when Aubrey lost her hair during treatment.

“She said, ‘Mom if I ever had cancer would you shave your head if I had to go through chemo?’ I said of course I would. I wouldn’t even think anything about it. I would shave my hair right off.'”

“It helped me to not feel like the odd one out like the black sheep,’ Aubrey said.

Wayman said it was tough to experience what she had helped others go through for years. She said, “I was scared. I was really scared because your mind doesn’t stop. I was thinking about the worst case scenarios. That’s the cool thing about Aubrey. She was always positive in, negative out. I would just remind myself that Aubrey’s path through this is not the same as everybody’s.”

Wayman kept her hope strong that they would come out on the other side. After two and a half years of chemo, Aubrey is now in remission.

“She’s growing, she’s gained back so much of her vitality, her personality. She was there the whole time but not well enough to be who she truly is,” Wayman said.

Nicole said the journey she and her daughter went through not only made her a better nurse but a better mom.

“And now when I’m going into a room that’s exactly what I’m going to do for that family. I feel like I can anticipate what that mom needs,” she said.

A superhero mom, who Aubrey feels lucky to have by her side even beyond the hospital walls.

“She’s a part of me,” Aubrey said. “It makes me feel good.”