Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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Elena’s story

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
Elena is thirty-seven years old, she has a husband, who is ten years older than her, and a child of seven years old. She had worked in the Town Hall for about fifteen years and had a very active role in the Secretary’s Office of the Mayor. Three years ago, she removed a lump in her breasts that was already malignant, but limited, and, therefore, she had the lump removed. She did not even undergo chemotherapy. About four months ago, she suffered from a relapse of the tumour, which had already affected the lymph nodes. She underwent a very strong cycle of chemotherapy, she lost all her hair and was very ill, she suffered from nausea and anorexia. Two months ago, she was diagnosed with the appearance of metastases in the bones first, then in the liver, and now also in the brain. Elena knew everything about the disease. She started to feel: anxiety, anger, depression, isolation, restlessness, fear… Pain and nausea were the worst symptoms. Elena, whose mind was very fresh and aware of what was happening, took a decision that cost her a lot, but she was very determined: she did not want to die at home, she wanted to go to hospital. She wanted Luca, her son, and her husband, to remember her as she was and as she would like to be still. She did not want them to look at the destruction of her own body, of her own image, to look at her suffering so much and changing completely. It was a very painful decision for all. However, Elena was very serene in hospital. All days Luca and her husband went to see her. The last day, as if she almost knew, she did not want them to go home in the evening She talked with them throughout the whole day and, in the last hour, wanted Luca to read her a poem that she had written for them and that she had never allowed anyone to read.

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