nursing school

Storytime: 51yo Cancer Patient With Life Advice

As you all know, I’m a nursing student with Ryerson University in Toronto.

I had a patient this past week that really touched me. She’s quite young and had her stomach totally removed. It’s quite an interesting surgery actually and was especially interesting to watch her swallow barium in an x-ray test to make sure the new connection isn’t leaking.

Anyways, I came with her for the test because I’ve never seen someone do a barium swallow test before. I also wanted to go because the family was very protective of her and I knew they’d feel more comfortable if I went with her to make sure everyone was treating her right.

After the test they rolled her bed outside of the room and I helped her prop her head up just a bit so she could talk to me comfortably.

They first thing she said to me was thank you. She was really happy I came with her and looked over her while they performed the test. She said she felt safer and more at ease. She even fell asleep during parts of the test because she felt relaxed enough since I’d be there.

She then began to tell me about her life. She said she always ate healthy, watched her weight and took care of herself moreso than any of her other siblings. She told me how it was ironic that she was the one that got cancer out of her 10 sisters and brothers. She said she now felt obligated to be a lecturer to her children so that they can talk about anything and everything they need to before she passes away in however many years.

She told me that when you get ill you realize there is no time to keep negative people in your life. That you need to surround yourself with positive people in order to be happy. To expend your energy on those that love and cherish you.

She then asked me if I was religious. I told her no and she surprised me with her answer. She told me that one does not need religion in order to know what is good or bad. A bad intention will always be a bad intention, even without the threat of going to hell. She told me that people do not need to be threatened to know what a good intention is. It is just something we should know and want to do.

She also explained that you do not need to travel to different countries to explore. That people take their home for granted and forget to see the beauty in it. There are so many places to travel around you, so much heritage and nature to discover in towns nearby and we never even bother to think of it because we would rather spend thousands to travel to Hawaii. She had a good point.

Our conversation was long and she taught me the things she continues to teach her children. She was such a wonderful, caring woman and I could see the waves of depression that would wash over her as she spoke. I just held her hand and assured her this isn’t the end of her story. My heart goes out to her and her family.


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