This week was a bad week. I told you last week that I’d had one off-day that week. One day where I just didn’t feel it. Something felt wrong. That day coincided with the death of a good friend of my parents. After more than a decade he had succumbed to his cancer. I got notified on Saturday. The funeral was two days ago. It felt like the world fell apart. He’s the kind of guy that’s always positive, always in the mood for some mischief, and generally interested in everyone. He meant a lot to my parents; I saw their world fall apart too. It broke me. To see all his friends being broken. To see his family (daughters my age) being torn apart.. Not from each other, fortunately. They’ve been -and still are- a very close family. They are so strong. They don’t deserve this. Their father and husband and my parents’ friend didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this, but they most certainly don’t.
This week was very hard for me; emotionally, psychically. Coincidentally, I was scheduled to work on the oncology ward. I could’ve changed, but I decided not to. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t let it stop me. And it was hard. This morning I had to present a patient case which would be interesting to tell the other doctors and specialists. On our ward there was a patient with lymphangitis carcinomatosa, which is pretty rare but also very aggressive; a disease that should be kept in mind when cancer patients present with dyspnea. While I was preparing the case, the patient got progressively worse, and that same night there was a talk with the family. They got bad news. Their father and husband wouldn’t have more than a few days or weeks to live. He was only 56. I saw his family being torn apart too. This morning, before I could even present his case, I was notified that he had died that very morning. His disease had progressed this bad in only three days. Although he was diagnosed with cancer (for which he was operated and now being treated with chemotherapy) in early Spring, his family almost hadn’t had time to say their goodbyes. There were maybe 11 hours between the bad news and his death. It was heartbreaking.
When I bring their faces back to memory, I feel my heart breaking again. I’m already tearing up again. I can’t express how much, how deeply I hate this disease. It destroys you and your loved ones. It eats you from inside out. And it’s almost unstoppable. It’s almost indestructible. It’s a life-sentence; it will haunt you till your (premature) death. It will rush you into destruction.
I realize that I’m very emotional because of what happened in my near surroundings, and that the people I see on the ward are very, very sick and often incurable. There are also cancer patients who survive and live long and happy and semi-healthy lives. I’m extremely happy that those people also exist. The diagnosis of cancer doesn’t have to be a death-sentence. But for many it is, and it’s a rough time till death. My heart goes out to those people and their loved ones.
And to my parents’ beloved friend: you will be missed. You are an inspiration.