Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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It is always time for a change

Lady S.
Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
Every experience of health care support is unique and teaches something about life to the people assisted and to us operators. I am spoilt for choice, so I will tell about the patient I saw an hour ago. After undergoing surgery for breast cancer and following dissection of the armpit, this lady, fifty-seven years old, has faced a long period of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. During this path, she asked for psychological support to deal with the anxiety that oppressed her on and off. After almost two years, now she says she is happy because she is officially in the cancer follow-up phase. What strikes me about this simple lady is her great capacity to process experiences and the ability or perhaps the need to find the meaning of things that happen, as she says "even those nasty things that you have not chosen, as the disease". I quote her words when she says "I didn’t want the disease but it seems incredible that, without it, I would not have learned to let the others help me and not to feel guilty if I ask something for me". As it happens with many other oncologic patients, what strikes me about this lady is the ability to acquire greater awareness of herself and of her own needs and desires and of the commitment to achieve them in the moment of the disease and of the emotional crisis that follows. Lady S., referred to above, used to say in the period of chemotherapy: "Here I am without hair but with the desire to make the most of myself and to feel I am beautiful.". It is not unusual that, just as for lady S., it is in the period in which you are apparently more fragile (from the physical point of view) when you realize the personal psychic resources that lead to lasting changes of increased awareness of yourself, of your own value and of your right and duty to make every attempt to achieve your desires.

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