THREE CANCERS in TEN MONTHS
When Doctor Becomes Caregiver
If you or a loved one has cancer, this book that presents unique personal insights and experiences from a physician whose family was struck with three different types of cancers in ten months, in the hopes of helping others grapple with and overcome the many issues that patients and their caregivers face.
Why This Book Was Written
Author describes his earlier experiences in dealing with cancer patients—experience that resulted in his becoming somewhat arrogant about the medical aspects of cancer management. He describes how his ward and departmental clinical assignments during his undergraduate days, his internship, his experience as a registrar and even his tenure as a physician resulted in him growing somewhat arrogant about cancer management. He shows how all of that knowledge had not prepared him to be a caregiver when one after another of his loved ones is diagnosed with cancer.
In this chapter, the author candidly describes his anxieties and uncertainties in dealing with the cancer afflictions of his loved ones: his father-in-law (Multiple Myeloma), his father (Prostate Cancer; Adenocarcinoma) and finally his wife (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma). The author realized how inadequate was his medical knowledge in facing this in his own family and how wrong and arrogant he had been. He realizes that it is time to start unlearning and relearning how to deal with this disease.
The author describes the importance of biopsies in obtaining an exact diagnosis since cancer treatment varies from oral medication, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and others. Choosing one or the other or a combination depends on the disease’s diagnosis. He shares his emotional pain and uncertainty about his wife’s affliction, especially while waiting for the results. He chronicles their efforts to come to terms with the diagnosis, which eventually helped them to stay focused. He also talks about DABDA, an acronym for the five stages of coping with grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
This chapter is about the overwhelming treatment plans for the author’s three family members and their subsequent handling. His best advice is to go easy on oneself. In a nutshell, “The best way is to accept and make peace with the idea that you are not going to be okay on the first consultation session but things will eventually fall into place.” This chapter also provides practical advice on gathering and formulating simple information that will contribute to making good decisions about attaining health goals.
This chapter is about cherishing the family’s relationship with the healthcare team because their ultimate aim is to give optimum therapy. It includes definite “musts » to help alleviate any unwarranted constraints. Suggestions for specific support groups to join and pitfalls to avoid are also included.
This chapter stresses the importance of handling all logistical matters about treatment plans and approaches, including the organization of important documents that are critical in managing one’s treatment plan.
This chapter helps the reader understand chemotherapy—what it involves and how to deal with it to reach the desired result. The author explains that there are dozens of types of chemotherapy drugs that are combined to become a chemotherapy regimen tailored to the
patient’s clinical presentations and investigations. It is also important to clearly understand the goals of chemotherapy treatments when making treatment decisions, settingHe specific, realistic goals to get the best result of the treatment.
Quality time is essential for both the patient and the caregiver. This chapter guides the reader through ways to carve out this time and reap the benefits of it.
The author describes the turmoil he and his wife experienced due to people who shared their often unwanted and unprofessional advice. He said, “It takes being in our shoes to really understand the turmoil we were going through and the pain of making emotional decisions.”
This chapter is about the author’s talks frustration and resentment of companies that sell non-prescription dietary supplements that have not gone through rigorous government regulation. These supplements are simply sold as alternatives based on their own set of guidelines. The author suggests going back to the basic daily consumption of nutritious balanced diets, which are important to vital organ function, immune system function, and general well-being.
The author describes the unfounded and negative connotations surrounding Palliative Care and Cancer Stage IV. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” Stage IV cancer does not always equal death. Advances in healthcare are happening at a fast pace. Patients are encouraged to surround themselves and their loved ones with positive people and embrace life to its maximum capacity.
The author advises readers to identify and learn a few skills and concepts that will then help enhance their power of observation that will come in handy when dealing with cancer patients and their caregivers because these are physically and mentally exhausted people. With good intentions to help coupled with understanding the cancer patients and caregivers’ problems and surroundings, one can help ease their pain.
This chapter talks about the difficulty of moving on after having dealt with cancer, including how to deal with fear of recurrence or of another family member being diagnosed with cancer. The reader is encouraged to be grateful for being able to go on with daily living and to realize that the skills learned during cancer management are invaluable in other areas of life as well.
The author recaps his family’s cancer journey, their battles and victories, losses, and gains. The chapter concludes with encouragement to set up a clear plan and stay focused as the best way to deal with a cancer diagnosis.
About Dr. K. Azlan
The author was born in Kedah, Malaysia, on the middle month of 1976. He attended the Medical School of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
He is married and a father to three beautiful girls.
He is currently an Emergency Physician and Head of the Emergency and Trauma Services on the tourism island of Langkawi, an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30km off the main coast of northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. He attended the Medical School of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. he has fearlessly revealed the struggles his family experienced with three different cancer diagnoses in a short period of time.
After caring of his father, father-in-law and wife battling cancers, he has fearlessly revealed the struggles his family experienced with three different cancer diagnoses in a short period of time.