Cancer sucks and life isn’t fair.
No, I’m not just realizing this, I’m just REALLY realizing it. One of my clients was recently diagnosed with cancer. I’ve been spending my days taking her to doctors appointments, chemo and radiation and my nights worrying about how to give her the best care I possibly can. This is a woman who was born with severe disabilities. She was then molested and contracted HPV, which eventually led to anal cancer. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, she just knows she doesn’t feel good. She can’t verbalize if she’s in pain, all she can do is scream and hit her head. She doesn’t understand that her hands are covered in socks and taped up to keep her from pulling out her IV. She just knows that now she can’t feed herself, which was one of the few things she used to actually able to do for herself. She doesn’t understand that she can’t have breakfast because she has to go under general anesthesia five days a week and you can’t eat beforehand; she just knows she’s hungry every morning and we won’t let her eat. And worst of all, she doesn’t know what’s in store. The doctors told us that this is one of the most treatable types of cancer, but the actual treatment is one of the worst. Not only is she going to have bowel and bladder problems, but when she soils herself it’s going to be on top of skin that is raw from the radiation. She will probably be nauseous all of the time, but at her current 87 pounds, she really can’t afford to lose any more weight. And her food doesn’t even taste good right now because we have to put her ground up meds in it since she can’t swallow pills. I’m guessing chemo drugs and chocolate pudding probably don’t make a good combination. She can’t even go to day programming anymore because there are too many germs there. Instead, she sits at home all day long, only leaving to go to the hospital.
Fortunately everyone at Huntsman has been really great with us. They understand that this is a more challenging case than normal and they have been very accommodating. There has only been one person who hasn’t been absolutely wonderful, but I think this receptionist just wasn’t quite sure what to think about the woman in the middle of the lobby who was screaming out and pulling her pants down, trying to figure out how to make the pain go away. Everyone else just loves her. She gives everyone kisses on their hands and says “Very, very sweet,” which is one of the few things she can say. Then she starts crying.