Posts tagged oncology

When I was waiting for test results I tried to make up a description in my mind of the consequences of a bad outcome; for myself and then for my wife and my children. For myself it maybe is not too bad - straight to the grave - which is where we all go; even if we think it is too early whenever it comes to that. It is awful, it is difficult to get used to that thought - if you ever are able to…it would be worst for my wife…she is the one who has to take the blow.

When I heard of going to the cancer clinic, I began shivering all over my body. As soon as I opened the door here I felt the smell of the house of death. I can still feel this smell. The word cancer is loaded with fear, I think, and I know some persons who have died of cancer. A tumor is a tumor; uncontrolled cell division, something growing and attacking inner organs.

I react severely to the cytotoxic drugs. I feel so sick, and although I get other drugs to subdue the vomiting, the sick feeling is there, rocking my body all the way. I feel as if I am being run over by a steamroller - my whole body is reacting.

I remember when I woke up from the operation the surgeon told me they had found “islands of outgrowths” in the peritoneum, which was negative news. Something strange happened to me; all anaesthetics and all drugs disappeared from my body, my brain become crystal- clear and I thought: “How can I tell this to my wife?

An excerpt from Expressive Metaphors in Cancer Narratives by Carola Skott, PhD RN.

Smart Knife Sniffs Out Cancer Cells

When it comes to cancer surgery today, tumours must be removed and specimens sent to pathologists for review. The problem is knowing how much or how little you have; cut too much and you may hurt the patient; cut too little and you will leave cancer behind. Only once there are satisfactory margins - a buffer zone of normal cells that indicates the tumour is completely resected - can the surgery be finished. To check with the pathologist was always time consuming.

Now, Dr. Zoltan Takats from the Imperial College London has created the iKnife system, an electric cautery with an attached mass spectrometer to sample the smoke let off by cauterized flesh to differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous cells in real time.

Bringing Light created by Bert Klasey, Chris Baron & James Allen Smith for Focus Forward Films.

We often draw our inspirations from nature. It allows us to see things differently, to try new approaches, to think outside the box. In this case, researchers are looking to make brain tumours more visible for surgery through the use of fluorescence-labeled scorpion toxin. Read more here.

Jake Bouma meets with his oncologist on June 22, 2012, after four rounds of chemotherapy to treat his Hodgkin Lymphoma.

This clip is part of a documentary Nathan Matta is creating on his journey, “Let’s Do This: Facing Hodgkin Lymphoma.”

When I feel lost on my journey, when the challenges seem insurmountable, moments like these remind me again why I am here and why I have chosen medicine. More than that, it pushes me to continue onward.