REAL SUFFERINGS AND EXPERIENCES OF ONCOLOGY PATIENTS
Mrs. Bindu Bharathi, MSN, BSN, RN, RM
Northern Border University
I would like to share some of the experiences with the cancer or oncology patients, because this was heart touching and unforgettable experiences of me. I pray to the god this type of problems never ever happen to anybody. I request you to if you have time you just visit any of the Cancer Institutions and see the real sufferings of the patients and their family members.
When I was working in Regional Cancer Centre, I had one 13 years old patient. She was from very remote areas of Palakkad district, Kerala. The parents were the manual laborers. She was the only one girl child in their entire family. She was very beautiful and her hair was very long. When she came to the hospital she was suffered from fever and body pain. Finally the doctors were diagnosed as Blood Cancer (Acute Lymphoid Leukemia). At the time of admission itself she was very sick, so she was in Intensive Care Unit. Doctors have taken so much pain and effort to convince her parents about her diagnosis and treatment options. Breaking bad news is a challenging responsibility of the doctors. Initially they are not listening any words of doctors, because they are not ready to accept her diagnosis. They are not willing for any treatment. Doctor told them about the chemotherapy (Medications for treating cancer) is the treatment option for her. Finally they are agreed for the treatment. We explained every thing to her family. Some how she was completed her first course of chemotherapy, but she can't tolerate the side effects of chemotherapy. She was suffered from very severe vomiting, fever, infection, low blood count and severe hair loss. As per the hospital policy we are not allowed the relatives to stay with patients. They will stay outside the hospital, if anything we are informing them. Patients will be alone in the hospital. She was so scared to stay in the hospital, but some how we managed. Evening time the relatives can visit. Her father and her uncle were the regular visitor of her, her mother also was visiting her, but whenever she was seeing her daughter immediately she was collapsing. All the students of her school were collected money for her treatment. We received so many letters from her classmates. They all prayed for her recovery, they loved a lot. Gradually her condition was very worse. After some days she has got very severe bleeding. She was struggled a lot with blood cancer. With in five months she was died. All are very much upset about her death. Even though they are very poor, but they are donating money to the Regional Cancer Centre on her death anniversary.
One 18 year old boy was admitted in Regional Cancer Centre with the complaints of leg pain and fever. He was very good in studies and sports, especially in cricket. While he was playing cricket, accidently he fell down in play ground, they took them to the hospital and given some treatment. But the pain was not relieved. His father takes him to the orthopedic specialist. He got some doubt, so he referred him to the Regional Cancer Centre. He underwent for the investigations and his diagnosis was Osteo sarcoma (Cancer of the Bone). Doctor told his father about the diagnosis, he cried very loudly. We all are still remembering the reactions of the boy, he was screamed like anything and he was running in the ward, said NO......NO....NO.......I want to play, I want to study, and like that he was telling and screaming. We all are upset. Doctors are told him about surgery. He was undergone for Above knee Amputation (Surgical Removal of leg). After the surgery he got some feelings of Phantom Limb sensation (The person has the feeling that they are still having leg, they will try to walk especially during night times, so they will fall). He was very depressed. He was not taking any food and he was not at all interested to do any activities. After that he was on chemotherapy. His condition was improved. He learned to walk with the help of crutches. In between he came for checkup. We all are happy. He continued his studies. All the classmates helped him in all the ways. But after one year he came with metastasis (Cancer was affected his lung). But after a few months he was died. Now his father was working as volunteer of Palliative Care Centre.
A 15 years old very pretty girl was admitted with the complaints of breast cancer. She was studying in plus one. Doctors were informed to her parents about her diagnosis. Both of them are teachers. She is the only one child of them. They are very much shocked and depressed about her diagnosis. Any way they are given consent for surgery. She undergone for radical Mastectomy of the right breast (Surgical Removal of Breast). After the surgery she was on chemotherapy. She was well adjusted with her treatment. To some extended she was tolerated the side effects of chemotherapy. She got discharge from the hospital. Usually breast cancer is having good prognosis. Frequently she came to the hospital for follow up. The parents were so happy. She was continued her studies. After one year and few months she was came to the hospital with lump (Hard mass) in the left breast. Along with that she has got body pain, chest pain, breathing difficulty. She was undergone for all the investigations. She has got metastasis on lungs and bone. Her condition was very weak. We all prayed for her life. With in few weeks she was died.
A 69 years old male illiterate patient came to the hospital with advanced stage of oral cancer with very big ulcerating foul smelling wound on his cheek. He was suffered from very severe pain. Cancer pain is very severe. If we are scoring the pain with help of pain scale (Numerical Pain Scale with 1-10 degrees), most of the patients will be having very severe pain. The score will be more than 7. I was responsible for that patient. If the cancer wound is highly infectious we are using Turpentine for cleaning the wound. I poured some amount of turpentine to the wound, suddenly all the maggots came out. I removed more than 28 maggots and worms from the wound. Because of that worms and maggots he got severe pain. I did dressing for that patient. Suddenly he holds my hand and told me "God will bless you". Still I was remembering the graceful face of that old man. He was in very advanced stage of cancer, so the patient was under palliative care. We are unable to give any other treatment.
I have got one 45 years old well educated lady employee. She was married and having two children. At the time of admission itself she was in an advanced stage of breast cancer. While collecting the history, she was told me since 4 years she was having mass in her breast. I asked her why you are not consulted the doctors. She told me because of shame Iam not see any doctors. Iam wondering, even though she was well educated, why she was having this type of behavior. Why the husband was not noticed her condition. Husband is also well employed gentleman. In case of breast cancer, initially hard mass or lump was present, then gradually only it will become advanced stage. So in her case lack of awareness regarding Breast Self Examination is the problem. So prevention is better than cure. She also died within few months. If we are detecting cancer in early stage we can save the life of the patients. So have you got any chance, give information regarding Early Cancer Detection Programs? It is available in all Early Cancer Detection Centers by free of cost.
A 29 years old pregnant lady was admitted in Regional Cancer Centre. She was married before 8 years. This was her first pregnancy. After a long period of prayer and treatment she becomes pregnant. During her pregnancy she got very severe bleeding; initially doctors thought that it is as usual ante partum hemorrhage (Bleeding during Pregnancy). But later on doctors were diagnosed as Endometrial Carcinoma (Cancer of the Uterus). She came to RCC for treatment for Endometrial Carcinoma. Doctors are in dilemma, what we will do; in her condition surgery is not possible, because of pregnancy. Chemotherapy is also not safe, because it will affect the fetus. The patient and her husband were cried like anything. All family members were looking very sad. We are also in a pathetic condition, how we can reassure the patient. We all prayed to God, any miracle. We all waited for her delivery. We got one cute girl, but she was no more.
Really we all are having so much experience with the cancer patients. In any other hospital we are more satisfied because majority of the cases patients having good prognosis. But here if we are discharging the patients, that time we are having some sort of feeling that at any time they will come back they are going near and near to death. Most of the staffs were suffered from stress and anxiety.
Some of the people think that we are something great, but if you are seeing any cancer patients or you are visiting any cancer institute you can see the real sufferings of the patients. That will help to understand what the value of life is. At any time anybody can happen anything. So do good things to all. Thank to God.
About Author / Additional Info:
Mrs. Bindu Bharathi
Lecturer, Northern Border University, Saudi Arabia