"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live"
Cancer was always a touch me not zone to venture, emotionally paralysing. It would activate the fears within me, even at the mere mention of the surgery or the name of it.
However, we were given an opportunity from the Switch India through its Medical Education Cell for a visit to Tata Memorial Hospital, ranked as one of the Top free cancer treatment hospital in the country.
The visit was scheduled on 22nd of October 2019. The lecture aimed at sensiting the Students/Interns of Physical Therapy about the vast scope of Onco Physiotherapy, how patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy or how patient’s post-surgery need to regain their functional abilities and how we step in to rehabilitate them.
It made us aware of all the precautions and contraindications about each surgery's post-operative management. It focussed more on how we could use our physical therapy knowledge, skills and modify it according to the patient’s needs.
Many surgeries like head and neck (maxillectomy, mandibulectomy), breast (modified radical mastectomy), GIT surgeries and local limb and joint surgeries were discussed. They made us aware of the common post-operative impairments like lymphoedema, cachexia, increased fatigability and weakness and how we could manage them. We even got sensitised on hospice and palliative care for adults and children.
Later we were shown the wards where there were several patients with different surgeries and how they had managed them in Physiotherapy.
They also had certain equipment’s that were used for patients coming for followup in their OPD or in the wards like the vibromatic, active-passive machine, theraband station, stationary cycle and treadmill. The session ended well and so did our fears of coming across patients with cancer.
When I was roaming around the multiple wards in the building, seeing patients in pain and fear, I felt empathetic but also grateful. The gratitude was towards the profession I chose that could bring out a certain amount of change in the patients' lives.
So now we would surely go with the saying, as Hippocrates quoted- "Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always."