Friday, September 5, 2014

five. passion.

There are some patients I'll never forget. Most of those patients are the teenagers. Their stories, their recoveries, their families are etched in my memory. These teenagers grow up quickly. They have life and limb altering surgeries. They are forced to make decisions that no teenager should have to make; the next semester of college or another round of chemo, a summer at theatre camp or traveling to Houston for another surgery, if they want to spend their last days on the palliative floor or at home with hospice. When I walk past their old hospital rooms, I remember them. I remember the fifteen year old that took selfies with the residents and nurses and convinced her mom into buying her a pair pink cowboy boots if she agreed to have another lung resection. I remember the wittiest twenty year old college student that we transferred to the palliative floor and then had to keep explaining to the steady stream of his college friends what palliative care means and directing them to his new room. I remember the nineteen year old whose family brought the nurses La Madeleine everyday, who apologized and thanked me every time I changing his leaking chest tube bandages, who explained to me while I walked him around the unit and held back tears that his surgery was only meant to give him more time but that he knew he didn't have much time left.

All three of these teenagers passed away this year. You see, they had Osteosarcoma, a terribly painful bone cancer that affects approximately 400 children under the age of 20 every year. It starts in the bone, then spreads to the lungs to further destroy their lives. It's a rare cancer but at our hospital it's common. Like all childhood cancers - it doesn't receive the funding, the research is limited, and drugs don't get approved - because it's not profitable.
September is Childhood Cancer Month. And I love angsty teenagers so I thought I'd share my passion to educate others about Osteosarcoma, to advocate for more research and clinic trials, and to remind us all to live a life worth living.

1 friskies:

K said...

you are inspiring. thank you for being His hands and feet to your patients.