Pak X, an Indonesian from Medan came to seek our help. His wife had a big,cancerous lump in her breast. She refused surgery. I told them: “If you don’t go for surgery, I would not be able to help you.” Reluctantly the patient agreed to a mastectomy. However, she refused chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
One day, I asked Bapa X why he was so adamant about not wanting to go for chemotherapy. Listen to what he said:
Gist of what Pak X said:
- I don’t want chemo. This is based on my son’s bad experience. I now know chemo is not effective. My son was 16 years old when he had a painful, reddish rash on his shin. This was later diagnosed as soft tissue sarcoma.
- I brought my son to Guangzhou, China for treatment. They amputated his leg up to the thigh. Then they gave him chemo – 5 or 6 times (I am not sure now). We stayed in Guangzhou for about 6 months. The treatments were not effective.
- I then brought my son to Beijing for further treatment using herbs. This was done in a hospital. We stayed in Beijing for about one and a half years. The treatment failed, the doctors surrendered.
- I brought my son home to Medan. He died after 4 months. The cancer had spread to his lungs.
- At least I was grateful that my son survived for one a half years with the herbs.
Chris: When you were in Guangzhou – they cut off his leg and gave him chemo – did you ever ask if the treatments were going to cure him?
Bapa: Yes, the doctor said the treatments can cure him.
C: When the treatments failed, did you ever ask the doctor again why he was not able to cure your son?
B: I did not ask that question. I just packed off and went to Beijing instead. We did not return to Guangzhou again.
C: In Beijing, did you ask the doctor if the herbal treatment was going to cure your son?
B: “Diusaha” (we’ll try our best).
C: How much did it cost you to undergo all those treatments?
B: I cannot remember now, but I have to sell a house to pay for the medical expenses.
(Bapa broke down in tears after this. This was not the first time Pak cried. Earlier, while taking a ride in our car to his apartment, he broke down and cried when relating his son’s story. Now, it is his wife who has breast cancer and they refused chemotherapy or radiotherapy).
C: I am very sorry to bring this matter up. It stressed you a lot. Please don’t regret for what you have done. Don’t blame yourself. You have done your best. Also know that things like this happen to many people – having to sell their house or land to pay for medical expenses.
B: You asked me earlier why I did not want my wife to go for chemo. No, she is not going to do that. No chemo – anywhere! Property gone, life also gone after chemo, besides having to suffer. No. No to chemo. If we take herbs, life may go but at least there is no suffering!
Chemotherapy for sarcoma: He died after 8 months