Melanoma and Sarcoma, Patient Care, Perspectives

Stretch.


I walked into the room and I could see that the surgeon who had seen my patient before me had already relayed the bad news. The cancer was back. The weight of this news still not complete in her mind. How could it be? She had been cancer free for so long. She had battled it once, and now she is being asked to do that again. On seeing me and my somber expression, she burst into tears. The weight of the situation finally reaching her and she gave in to her emotions.

This cannot be happening. I thanked the surgeon for meticulously working out the plan for me as the patient relayed to me what she was to do. I could be a little lost in this struggle with the patient for a change. Sometimes depending on my day and where I am at I let myself be sucked in. It was that kind of day where I was just as disappointed at the appearance of the cancer that I identified with this person, where I was struggling with many things in side of me and I just could not say much to her.  

I reached out to my patient as her tears flowed before me. I told her not to worry, that we would walk beside her on this journey today. Step by step. That it was our responsibility to see her through this to let us worry for her as I tried to help ease her suffering. The easiest thing to do was give her a pain pill, and that brought her around to a better place. I have often marveled at the little things that calm us when we are stressed. The soft touch of a hand, the forgiveness from a friend or the comforting words of a caring loved one.

And she replied “I know you will Mo.”

With the faith she had in me, and the passion in her eyes to live, we began our battle.

Mo

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4 thoughts on “Stretch.

  1. As cancer patients we know how difficult it can be for us to receive such news but also, the physician can feel it too. It’s wonderful how you took the time to read her body language and comforted her. You are absolutely right, sometimes the simplest of things, reaching out, understanding, being sympathetic and empathetic all can mean so much at a time when things are difficult.
    Keep caring for your patients emotional side too!

  2. Judy DeBeer Stark says:

    What a powerful and compassionate post! Physicians are the greatest healers when they allow the patients they care for to see their full humanity in combination with their talented analytical skills. Thank you for sharing your feelings in such a transparent, human way!

  3. Claire Barnhouse says:

    Mo,
    Oh boy this one was hard to read.. for me I feel like this might be me..I am trying to be hopeful, brave, strong, and all the above.. you have so much on your plate and I read your blogs every week and sometimes I cry and sometimes I laugh… I just never know.. but today I cried.. but I am so glad that I have you as my doctor….Just keep being the great caring doctor that you are… Thank you to my amazing doctor of science once again.. see you soon..
    Claire

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