Death of a young patient

A young patient was referred to me with a diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer. The surgeon phoned me and asked if I could see her urgently…. I did. She was in her late 30’s and had extensive cancer in her liver. There was hardly any normal liver seen on her scans.

During the consultation, I explained that she had a poor prognosis and we need to start chemotherapy soon. She was one of the most positive patients I had ever met. She had young children and they were her main motivation to get healthier and stronger.

She was started on chemotherapy with FOLFOX and Avastin… had one of the most spectacular responses you can imagine (her liver disease had a complete response). Two years later, she had relapse of disease and she was started on Cetuximab. On disease progression, Irinotecan was added… we reintroduced FOLFOX, a clinical trial, some more Capecitabine.

Today, after 4 and a half years of battle…. she is taking her last breaths. I met her, her children and her family. They thanked me immensely for everything I had done.

One of the saddest things is the inability to do enough. More. Something more.

In my mind, I still have the image of the lady who was positive as ever. Willing to fight any cancer or complication. The lady who was working and enjoying life, while still on chemotherapy.

Each time, I come across this situation…. I learn to appreciate life and everything that we have. And do not realize. Take things for granted.

Life goes on. Learn to love what we have and the people around us.

Published by

Rohit Joshi

I am a doctor who helps people deal with cancer with diagnosis and management of the illness (chemotherapy, biological agents, immunotherapy and hormonal agents).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *