I've seen alot in my years of working in the health care community but what i saw yesterday totally blew me away. When I'm at the oncology clinic I mostly wait around 'til the doctor calls me into the patients room...this is after he/she speaks to the patient to let the patient that she has been diagnosed with cancer. Sometime, though, the doctor asks me to be in the room while the doctor is checking the patient...I only see cervical and breast patients. Mind you these women are already very emotional and then to have this stranger in the room while the doctor checks her does not help any. Yesterday was one of those days in which I was asked to see the patient while the doctor checked her, she is a breast cancer patient. I was prepared to be with a very emotional patient. I was prepared to be supportive. But then the doctor asked her to take her blouse off then her bra, at this point she looked at me. The doctor asked if she felt comfortable with me being in the room. She responded yes. I asked her too, told her that I didn't need to be in the room if that's the way she wanted it. She reaffirmed that it was okay. She took her bra off. Her right breast was totally disfigured. I have seen pictures of such things but never up close and personal. Her nipple or what was left of the nipple was very sensitive. The radiation had left plenty of scars, along with the ones from the surgery, all around her breast. "is the cancer gone?" she asked. This patient had had a lumpectomy, only part of her breast was taken off, and was lucky not to have the cancer spread, yet. Alot went through my head as she put her bra back on. Her husband brings her to clinic every time and is always very affectionate. It just made me want to give him a hug as well just for being there with her. I don't know how their relationship may be at home but while in the clinic he seems to be a very supportive man. He must be going through alot as well. In my head I kept telling myself "please let it all be okay!!". Sometimes I wish I could tell them that but I know that's the worse thing I tell people when they are going through such things.
The patient is recovering pretty well but the risk of the cancer coming back is very high...this makes me very very sad.