Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cancer: Everything Happens for a Reason

I've had this particular entry sitting in my drafts for several years now, I think it's time that I publish it (unedited from it's original draft form).

For the first time in quite a while, I am at a loss for words on how to start writing this blog. Let me start by saying that I wake up every morning for my patients. I love each and every one of them dearly and strive every day to make their lives better, they have all become like family to me now whether that's because I'm young and naive or it's a normal feeling that doctors have for their patients, I'm not sure.

This week has opened my eyes up to a grander plan, allowing me to share this once in a lifetime case with you.

A 72 year old female presented to clinic the day after Thanksgiving (I'll never forget the day, I had complained about having the Black Friday shift for weeks, my family came out to Missouri to bring Thanksgiving to me since I would have missed it otherwise). She came in alongside her husband after taking several months off from care. She had no major complaints, just knew that she could use an adjustment. She is in perfect health EXCEPT for the fibrosarcoma on her right distal humerus (arm just above the elbow). Her soft-tissue fibrosarcoma (meaning within the muscles and fascia instead of within the bone) was about half as long as her humerus and protruded about 2-3 inches from her arm. It was an inflammed, heat-generating mass that ulcerated. Being that I'm well on my way to becoming a chiropractor, this was the case of a lifetime, how often are these seen in practice? Hardly ever. I worked her up and she come in every other week for about a month until she started having horrendous low back pain of insidious (unknown) onset. Radiographs were instantly obtained to r/o (rule out) metastasis. The radiographs suggested osteolytic (bone-destructing) lesion in her sacrum.... which means metastasis from the fibrosarcoma in her arm to the sacrum because as we all know, there are types of cancers that spread. Unfortunately, this patient passed away before I could inform her of this new progression...

There will be Doctors of Chiropractic that will tell you outlandish claims in regards to healing cancer.  My friends, colleagues and readers I offer you this:  It is not our place, as the health care practitioner to make these claims (whether we believe them or not), it is our job to facilitate the health of these patients whether it's only pain management or not.  The outpouring of love I was received at her funeral was unreal.  As a student, I felt completely inadequate while overseeing her care, she apparently felt otherwise.

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