Remember how I wrote that a book inspired me to finally accepting placement at med school?
Well, long before that, I had often said that if I were to study medicine, I would like to be an oncologist. I was a member of my school’s Interact club and spent a weekly afternoon with the kids at Paeds Oncology all through high school.
I quickly changed my mind because everybody said it would be horribly depressing.
I think I’ve changed my mind (again).
During our radiology rotation, we spent a day at the oncological wing of the hospital (it’s kind of a mini-hospital on its own). In South Africa, radiation oncology and medical oncology are still sort of considered a single specialty, unlike in much of the developed world.
Do you know what an amazing day it was (I mean, despite the fact that the registrars were very busy and forgot a little to teach us)?
Patients were so involved with their treatment plans. They asked questions (something I have to beg many of my patients to do). There is such a sense of solidarity among those patients. I saw a woman with stage 4 breast cancer, who has already had pathological fractures of the hip and the upper arm, and I was amazed because she had done her hair, and she looked so pretty, and I just thought, “If I were in that position, I would be holing up in my bed, awaiting the end”. Heck, I often hole up in my bed in anyway.
It is inspiring, and I remember why it lit the flame of interest back when I was young and impressionable.