Sunday, June 15, 2014

Medical Treatment of a Friend

Cancer in  Korea is common. A doctor who is a professor in a medical school cancer center, reports that one out of 3 are diagnosed with cancer. He writes in the Kyeonyang magazine about his feelings when boyhood friends come for help when they hear they have cancer.

He tells us the story of a close friend  from elementary school days, both  going to the same college. He became a university professor. One day, he received a call  telling him that he was diagnosed with cancer in the inner part of the nose. Looking over all the information on the treatment, the doctor, who had much experience with head and neck cancer thought without an operation radiation and chemotherapy was possible, and he became his primary doctor for the case.

He made the general examination of the patient and discovered high blood sugar and a serious case of diabetes. The professor explained that he was eating irregularly, a lot of instant food, eating quickly, working late and slaking his thirst with cola. He began the treatment and his friend lost all his hair, which made the doctor feel uncomfortable but continued to give hope to his friend. A month later he was given a CAT scan, and the cancer had completely disappeared.

Two and a half years passed without problems, but then he heard they found lumps in his throat; the cancer returned. The doctor felt his heart drop. He started the process again, and  all worked out well. With the recurrence of the cancer, the patient's mental state was fragile. He didn't know when he would hear the same words again. And a year a half later they discovered  some abnormalities in the lymph gland. The biopsy showed a recurrence of the same cancer. Fortunately, it was a small area and with radiation and chemotherapy, they eradicated  the cancer.

The doctor with these recurrences  also began  to feel anxious. There was an area of the lungs that looked suspicious, but it was only an inflammation but  an area near the previous spot was  the third occurrence of the cancer. He felt lost, and the future prospects did not look good, which caused the doctor to lose sleep. The cancer did shrink with the chemotherapy. The doctor did a lot of praying and  considering the possibility of a recurrence used a small degree of radiation. All the friends also had low expectations for his return to health,

For 7 months after the  end of treatment his friend has returned to his teaching position, and his research. All the hair has grown back; everything has returned to normal. With the recurrence of the cancer three times, the doctor is apprehensive. He wants to believe that he is cured and thanks his friend for putting up the good fight.

He gives us another case in which the results were not as fortunate. They were also friends from elementary school. He was a doctor with his own practice. He was operated on at a large hospital for rectal cancer and received word after the operation that it was not successful because the cancer had spread. He was thankful he was not involved this time because of the  stress that he feels. However, the operation was not successful and the friend confided on his doctor friend. What was he to do? The doctor friend didn't know what to say. The cancer had spread to the liver. He tried to give hope to his friend and started the chemo and radiation.

He was the only child  of his parents, and the mother spoiled him. His father wanted him to be a lawyer, but he chose medicine. The father was a very strongly opinionated person and wanted his way, which gave rise to the feeling of estrangement between them. The mother was a devout Catholic who wanted him to be baptized, but he wasn't interested. His marriage ended in divorce, and he was the care giver of the parents who were in their eighties. He drank too much, had bad eating habits, diabetes, liver problems and now the cancer.

The doctor finishes the article by telling us that the cancer spread, and before he died, he did receive baptism, and all his many friends from the different parts of the  country came to be with him during the last days. The relationship between the father and son changed for the better. The doctor concludes he wasn't any help in returning the body to health but he was a help in bringing his friend to a new spiritual life, a new beginning. And finishes telling us it is difficult having a friend as a patient.

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