Patient’s experience of cancer treatment
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on November 11, 2010
Cancer? Don’t be a victim – empower yourself with knowledge – www.fightingcancer.com
A patient’s experience of cancer treatment
A patient, who I will call Mary wrote the following to me:
I live in the North East of Scotland (Aberdeen) and I have no one to follow, or to follow me. The Doctors at the Hospital are like Guantánamo Bay guards: they catch you, don’t explain anything, blithely pass some sentence or other, like a death sentence like Cancer, and no details, just prescriptions. I was passed by the gynaecologists to the oncologist for radiotherapy. If they spy you trying to get informed with the Internet of books of alternative ideas, they react like the Grand Inquisitor of the Dominicans would.* If they just hear you speak of Vitamins, nutrition and ‘internal’ environments, pH and stuff like they look as if they thought you came from the Moon, and if they could they would refer you to the Mental Health department (I actually didn’t, but I tried to tell a nurse that I was taking some spoons of extra virgin olive oil to help protect the lining of my gut from possible damage of the radiotherapy, and saw her face, maybe she’ll report to the Grand Inquisitor). I know I’d better shut up. But I was also lucky that they did not ‘offer’ surgery, and that the radiologist deemed Chemotherapy not suitable for me. Two not so small miracles.
One consultant, in a letter to my GP, refers to me as ‘she’: “she one day she appeared with two pages of questions from the internet” which wasn’t even true: I had two pages about the Brachytherapy, internal radiotherapy, that I don’t want to do, with explanations and diagrams. Annoyed he was, because he had just announced: “and then there will be Phase 2” the details of which he was not very particular about. Well. I’m not doing that.
I had gone just over two months ago to Urology with a small urinary problem. They could not find anything wrong with the bladder, but though perhaps there was something pressing on it from somewhere else. They referred me to Gynaecology. I had two visits to Gynaecology, was seen by three doctors there, a biopsy was taken, and off I went with my small urinary problem about four times worse after their manhandling. Then I was called for “discussion of Reports and Reviews by the Gynae team”, which consisted of passing me on to the radiologist for radiotherapy. I was not given the cytology lab report of my biopsy, was given a very cursory report of the reading of my CT scan.
Talk about stress making cancer cells grow, well that hospital! And more that I learn about cancer cells growing, I think now of the scans I had: for the CT scan I was made to sit there for two hours drinking two litres of glucose and iodine because the glucose ‘shows up’ cancer cells, and for the PET scan, also injected sugar… gosh no wonder the cells grew!
I had to go through the Freedom of Information to get the lab result of my biopsy, because they did not give me an explanation.
NOTE: The 2012 edition of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible is now available – see www.fightingcancer.com for details
I am so glad I was tipped off to read this book.”