When I was in the hospital, I recall getting an IV on the hand to insert saline and other medications and then having phlebotomists coming to my room to draw blood for this test and that test. I felt like they were drawing blood at every turn to run some more test. Now I know that the medical profession like many other requires a lot of hard work, dedication, discipline and lots of stress to say the least. In my opinion it also requires a lot of patience and compassion for everyone. Of course, any high stress job makes peoples patience and compassion wear thin or non-existent. I say this because in my experience as a cancer patient when they were drawing out blood for the endless test most time, I would experience excruciating pain from the drawing of blood. I initially voiced my discomfort to the different medical staff performing the procedure and what I experienced in return was something I still can’t comprehend to this day. Instead of apologizing or trying to find another way to do it that would not be so painful to me they would actually cause me more pain intentionally. I experience this more than a handful of times until I stopped voicing my discomfort and just held in all the pain. For this reason, amongst other things, I did not and do not like to be in the hospital, I felt that they had no compassion. All my arms were literally covered in bruises from the accessing of my veins to draw blood. This all happened at the beginning of my cancer journey, when I was in one hospital and then I had to transported by ambulance to another hospital to try to figure out what type of cancer I had. At this hospital, they continued the nonstop withdrawing of blood for testing. And since I already had the experience from the previous hospital staff that if I complain of the pain, they would hurt me even more I still was trying to hold it in. By this point I was in excruciating gut-wrenching pain. It got to the point of where, one of the times, the nurse or phlebotomist came in to draw blood and she was having a hard time finding a vein because of how many times I had been poked with a needle. She told me that she finally found a good vein but it might hurt a little. This of course was an understatement. The pain was so intense and unbearable that tears literally ran down my face. I did not complain or tell her anything because I had been trying to stay strong, but I could not fight back the pain that I was feeling any longer and my tears said it all. Then she did something that I didn’t expect. She actually apologized for having caused me pain and she notified the doctor so they could try and find another way to draw blood that wouldn’t cause me pain. They finally decided to have the portacath placed so that they could use this instead of continuing to torture me, I mean draw blood from my bruised arms. Unfortunately, when they took me to get the procedure done, my tumor was pressing too much on the heart and they could not perform the procedure so they decided not to do the portacath and instead they went with the triple lumen central line temporarily until I was in a better position to get portacath. Thank God, this meant that they would finally leave my arms alone. Even though I was still in pain because of everything else going on at least, they were able to alleviate one painful step from the process.
Reflecting back on my experience as a cancer patient I am glad God made my body speak up for me because I don’t know how much longer it would have taken them to decide to move forward with this procedure. Thanks to God being by my side it was good that I was strong, but I realize now that being strong and not speaking up when you are feeling a great deal of pain or discomfort are two very different things. God does not want anyone to suffer. Don’t let anyone bully you into accepting things that hurt you or are not good for you. Speak up for yourself and let the medical professionals know what you are feeling so they may find ways to help alleviate your pain or discomfort. We all deserve to be treated equally with dignity, respect, humility and compassion. A simple act of kindness can make the world of difference to anyone especially if you are fighting for your life.