Written by Deborah Jordaan

Morning to all the wonderful readers. Hope you are all well. This morning, sitting in the PPT, public patient transport with my patient on our way to Johannesburg oncology department I felt terribly ill. I have come to the realisation that I am burning out. I heard about that condition when I was studying to become a career.

I work for the old age home and take care of my paraplegic partner at home. My patient that is with me today is an oncology patient. When I sit here I am abundantly grateful that I am somewhat healthy and can still take care of myself.

I look at all these patients and think how brave they are for fighting cancer every day, men and women alike. They look healthy but they aren`t. Their bodies are either being diagnosed, already assessed or they are here for a check up to make sure they are still in remission.

As I said in the beginning I might be ill today but I can recognise my problem but an oncology patient lives in the hope that their condition doesn`t worsen and spread to other parts of their bodies not knowing what will be next.

Cancer doesn`t choose race or age, it just happens. I will give all my time to assist my patient as she is not aware of her condition as it is not curable, it just gets worse. She smiles and lives her life where other people are constantly complaining about trivial nonsensical things.

Their hair needs to be done, nails need a manicure and who knows what other nonsensical things the human can complain about. Yet the cancer patient is grateful not to feel sick or be in treatment every other day. They lose a limb or breast but they are happy to be alive. They overcome their health issues because they have the motivation to be alive.

I have had family members pass on from cancer and it wasn`t pleasant to see them suffer days before dying.

A hospice is an amazing place. Yes people go there to die but they give you and your family peace of mind that it`s okay to die. The older you get it gets more difficult to keep having treatment for cancer as other factors start manifesting.

My uncle is over seventy years old and has decided he no longer wants to go for treatment. He says if it`s his time to pass he will not fight it. We as his family might think he is selfish or that he has lost motivation but we have no idea of his degree of pain or illness.

Us as family of the cancer patient must respect them and just be there when they need us. Be grateful that they are still alive and we can spend time with them because when they have passed we will have regret if we didn`t care enough or do enough.

In my parting words, just be grateful for whatever comes your way. The universe knows what they are doing. Yes a challenge isn’t what we want but its what we need to make us appreciate the small things in life.

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