Having being told of one having a terminal illness can be a nightmare. Its the sudden news of a diagnosis which brings death to the front. The one reason why some of us can be obsessive in going for medical checks often is the big letter C. A taboo to be spoken about but a definite prognosis beckons. Being in the medical field, it is often a situation where you don't really want to be involved in. Unfortunately for some of us, breaking this news becomes a responsibility.
I will come across these patients in different stages. Most often, the point where surgical intervention is needed, either in emergency situations or after electively discovered. Honestly i cannot imagine being in their shoes, having being told, yup.. you have the big C.
I sat down and talked to one of my patients the other day. Even though i was there for pre op assessment, i spent more time being a doctor rather than as anaesthetist. The unfortunate diagnosis was confirmed just few days back and it is a big one. I am sure he is still in shock, I could see in his eyes the tears but he holds it back as we talk. His family is in shock with the wife not really accepting it well. The psycho social aspect in this matter is very important; as the mental health should also be reviewed. Its important, as fighting cancer can be a mind blowing journey with full of uncertainties.
Yup, it was just a short discussion of what it is all about. I encourage him to read about what he has, so that when he meets up with the oncologist, he and his family will be ready for questions rather than listening and absorbing. That is the usual practice in asian community. As the one managing them, we should explain that the treatment for cancer is a journey which needs a lot of strength and courage, full family support an istiqamah. Yang penting usaha bukan semata-mata berserah sahaja. And whatever the result will be, we redha.
It was something i felt i had to do, the chat. As i believe as doctors, we are still human. Being humane and providing empathy is something that we should all do. I am not sure whether i did help but i do really hope i did especially for the stage which he is at, at the moment.
My prayers for his oncoming journey.