by Evelyn Santiago
“The most powerful force on earth is the human soul on fire”–unknown
Mentally, death takes a toll on all of us. My mother couldn’t accept that she was dying. She was a born fighter and she wasn’t going to be put down by anything.
I remember one incident crystal clear shortly before she passed away. She had been getting progressively weaker and lost a lot of weight. I was home taking care of her but at the time I was in my room upstairs. I heard a loud thump and rushed downstairs. It was my mom on the bathroom floor. She had tried to go to the bathroom and fell in the process. I tried moving her a little bit but I could tell she was in excruciating pain. I quickly grabbed two pillows and put them under her backside while she waited on the floor. I grabbed my cell phone and called hospice. Because I wasn’t able to pick her up by myself, I also called my husband to see if he could get her off the floor. Meanwhile, hospice sent an ambulance to evaluate my mother.
by Dr. Tessa Richards, Living with Cancer
I hate to think of what I’ve cost the NHS since I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. This year alone I’d need to factor in 12 outpatient appointments, seven MRI scans, and a course of radiotherapy. And “the worst is yet to come,” as one consultant I saw wryly reminded me. But sufficient unto the day. I’m grateful to be alive and kicking, and having plenty of opportunity to observe how health professionals’ behaviour affects patient well being.
by Dr. Leeza Park, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Patients with terminal cancer experience considerable emotional distress at the end of their lives. When these patients are parents with young children at home, the anguish can feel unbearable. Worries about the impact that their death will have on their children, spouses and other family members can be profound and shape decision-making about how aggressively to pursue treatment options. Despite these important considerations, health care providers do not routinely discuss these concerns with parents who have cancer.
by Dr. Tessa Richards, Living with Cancer
Being “under the care,” a phrase surely ripe for euthanasia, of cancer specialists is a salutary experience. You learn a lot about the gulf between those who live with disease and those who treat it.
As a three operation 12 year survivor of adrenal cancer the news that my cancer had recurred came as a shock but not a surprise. The endocrinologist was sympathetic. He suggested we ask the surgeon who operated on me ten years ago whether the recurrent tumour was operable.
by Beth L. Gainer, Cancer Advocate
The very word evokes terror and anguish — and rightly so. Because being diagnosed with cancer means suffering and possibly death, not to mention having one’s life spin out of control. Suddenly, doctors, lab tests, and treatment protocols dictate the patient’s life. Now the patient’s life belongs to doctors and nurses.
by Carol Michaels MBA, ACE, ACSM owner of Carol Michaels Fitness and the creator of Recovery Fitness
“I am a four-year breast cancer survivor. Of course this has led to many challenges for me, especially with having to face physical limitations after surgeries. When I first came to the Recovery Fitness class I could not raise my right arm. It was difficult to walk because of extreme pain in my right leg. Any slight movement caused pain in my chest because my chest has been so tight as a result of my bilateral mastectomy. Due to these and other problems, I became very depressed and pretty much gave up on trying doing anything; only leaving home for doctor’s appointments. That changed when I took a chance and began to exercise. After coming to the class twice a week for five months, I can raise my arm straight up without pain. I can walk better and my chest isn’t as tight and sore as it was. This has given me the confidence I was lacking and I feel good about myself again. There are still rough days, but my exercise class gives me the opportunity to work on my challenges with others that can relate to what I’m dealing with. The class has changed my life and has helped me physically and mentally.”