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Published on November 10, 2020

10 Questions with Nancy O’Connor

10 Questions with Nancy O'Connor

She may start the day with tea, but natural energy keeps Nancy O’Connor from the High-Risk Hereditary Cancer Program going all day long

Nancy O’Connor, NP, manages the Cape Cod Healthcare High-Risk Hereditary Cancer Program.

1. What was your very first job and what was your biggest takeaway?

I worked Dairy Queen! I remember it very clearly. I was 14 and I was so excited to work there. I was thinking it was going to be the best! It was a very old couple who ran it and they were so strict – they wouldn’t let you get away with anything. You had to be on time, you had to have your little apron on, you had to keep the workspace clean. All important lessons!

It was odd in that you’d have to weigh everything, and I only got approved to work after they thought my ice cream cone was the right weight. Our big treat was that we’d get the broken ice cream sandwiches at the end of the night. That was nice.

It was always fun – until the Little League teams came and they wanted their ice cream all at once. You’d look out at all those little hungry faces… <chuckling>

2. What’s the next thing on your to-do list?

I have a chart in front of me of a woman I was talking to on the phone. I’m going to dictate those notes into her file. Not exciting, but it’s the next thing I’m going to do. Lunch time is the best time to catch up on that kind of paperwork.

3. Favorite pastime?

I do like to exercise. I’m a runner, I ride a bike – that’s what I like to do. I try to stay active. If I’m not at work or asleep, I like to be outside doing something.

4. What do you keep an emergency supply of?

I always have tea bags. I’m a huge tea drinker! I have a huge supply! With no tea? That’s a very bad way to start a day. I can be out of toilet paper, paper towels – anything else – but I have to have tea. It’s all I need.

5. What are you putting off at the moment?

I don’t put much off, but I do put off cleaning. That and raking leaves. I put those things off until there’s a real point of no return, then I have to do it!

6. What is the single most important thing you do each day?

I try to keep a positive attitude, and, you know, self-care. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you’re going to care for anyone else you have to care for yourself first.

I find that yoga, meditation and just being grateful for what I have works for me. Just being grateful. In these trying times, it helps to just to focus on the positive.

7. Favorite movie?

It wasn’t really a movie, it was on Netflix. It was “Pick of the Litter.” I thought it was going to be about the Westminster Dog Show, but it was a documentary about therapy dogs. It showed a mother dog delivering her puppies, they were Labs. They were all taken by families who were going to train them to be service dogs for the blind. Two dogs actually made it. One dog that didn’t was trained as a PTSD therapy dog, since it didn’t need to be so disciplined.

It was a real feel-good. We all need some feel-good right now.

8. What is your prized possession?

My children, I guess it would be. I didn’t buy them or inherit them, but that’s what it would be. <laughs>

9. What is one thing everyone should keep in their car trunk?

I keep a yoga mat, because a friend of mine told me if you get caught in a ditch or in the snow, you can always use it for some traction. I’ve used it a couple of times, too! I’ve been stuck in the mud or on some ice. It’s a great idea!!

10. If you could distill your personality into one food, what would it be?

Not ice cream! I guess some kind of hearty soup. It has a lot of healthy vegetables in it. A little mixture of everything. Some hot pepper flakes in there.

11. Name the first song that pops into your head.

What I listened to on the way in this morning. It was “Shake it off” by – oh, what’s her name – Taylor Swift. How could I forget her name? I heard the song and I thought “Oh, no!” <laughs>