When individuals ask me what I do for a living, and I told them that I am an Oncologist, it is often a conversation stopper. Usually, it’s followed by few questions, Don’t you discover that depressing?
I can honestly say that I rarely getting depressed and rarely get Monday morning blues. In recent years, there have been so much more chemotherapy drugs and other kind of cancer treatments made accessible, that there is more hope for cancer sufferers. Many cancer patients are living much longer.
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The average day
An average day will started with me in a sunshine chemotherapy clinic, seeing patients that are already on chemotherapy. I asked them about their side-effects and trying and see if there is any manner of making the effects of the chemotherapy drugs much bearable. For certain people, the side-effects are minimal and only slight adjustments are needed. For others, sadly, the chemotherapy is going to test them both mentally and physically. Cancer patients are incredibly resilient in terms of the toxicity amount that they are keen to put up with, in order getting through the planned treatment schedule.
Next, I’m on to another clinic in the peripheral hospital, to check out newly diagnosed cancer patients this time. These patients have seen a surgeon first, usually after surgery, who has already giving them the diagnosis. My job is to offer them a plan for subsequent treatment, which usually involving a course of radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or even both. For many of these patients, the treatment I discussing is preventative, and aiming at reducing the chance of throwback of their cancer in the future – a sort of ‘insurance’. For others, the treatment plan is not healing, but rather aiming at extending life, and hopefully improving quality and symptoms of life.
My job is extremely rewarding
My job is extremely rewarding and I try to never forget that for each human, who has only just been giving the ‘cancer’ diagnosis, their life will never be the similar again. Individuals often tell me that they feel like it is happening to someone else, and that it all feels a bit surreal. The feeling and shock of devastation felt by a cancer patient is tough for me to take away completely. However, with the superb oncology team that I working with, at St Luke’s Cancer Centre, I tried and making their journey a little easy whether that signify ultimately getting them into remission longer term, or get them to come to terms with living with their cancer. If I reach that goal, then I feel I have done a awesome job.
I know that not every cancer patient is able to attain that golden time-frame of five years, without recurrence, when they are considered to be curable. However, more and more are doing this. For those individuals where cure is not achievable, then my goal to to make their journey easy. One of my most humbling experiences was when one of my patients, who was nearing the end of his life journey, and who already knew that I did not have any other treatment alternative, made an appointment to check me in clinic. He just needed to say thanks. I don’t suceed on patients’ gratitude. It is the tremendously brave and determine human beings that I come into contact with on regular basis that filled me with awe, and reminding me how privileged I am to do this job.
I’m a hematology oncologist, which signify I treated patients suffer from blood diseases such as lymphoma, leukemia and sickle-cell disease. I’ve been doing this for 38 years and treat patients that deal with life-threatening illnesses can be the most rewarding job in the universe and at times it can also be the most terrifying job, often in the similar day.
The worst days of my life are when I look into the eyes of a patient and telling them that there is nothing more I can do, and that they must begin saying their goodbyes. Those are the days that I hated what I do. It’s tough seeing the fear in their eyes, and the tears that followed. Those days will always haunedt me and they are emotionally drainful.
So what keeps me going you might asked? I thought back to my very foremost patient and the many others just like him.
As a oncology/hematology physician, this is my life, incredibly highs and the lowest of lows. Cancer for me is a potentially curable illness and my job is to attain the best possible outcomes. Yet, when we cannot curing the disease, my patients and I working together to develop the best quality of life for as long as possible and I will not give up in the fight, as this is the job I am born to do.