The 17 patients of Ward C12 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) received Christmas cheer thanks to the Cancer Support Services (CSS) Unit.
Members of CSS sang Christmas carols and provided lunch for the terminally ill cancer patients. The CSS also presented the nurses of the ward with a gift bag to express their gratitude for their services.
Public Relations Officer of the CSS Antoine Brudda Daddy Williams who is a colon cancer survivor revealed that he was presently in good health and treading slowly to a clean bill of health. “I am at a point where yes, the survivorship is continuing and I am trying as much as I can to get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Williams.
He stressed that uplifting festivities such as the one hosted by the CSS were needed to provide emotional, spiritual and mental support to the patients.
“Patients must always be patient into believing that this too will pass and it will get better and ensure they do their regular checks,” he said, while commending the QEH for being “more than capable in dealing with patients who are journeying with cancer”.
Williams also advocated for early detection, indicating that more Barbadians needed to be screened for colon cancer. He noted that since the CSS launched their colon cancer initiative there has been an increase in awareness but it was not enough.
“One of the problems is that unlike breast cancer and prostate, there is not that sexiness [to colon cancer] and people tend to overlook,” Williams commented.
Assistant Director of Nursing Services at the QEH Charmaine Worrell also pointed out that despite widespread advocacy, some locals were still hesitant.
“I find as a people we are hesitant to do anything health wise so you might try to stay healthy but when it comes to regular checks, whether prostate [or] pap smear, we tend to shy away from that and we have not yet gotten to the point as a culture for people to say ‘Every year I get my prostate checked as a man’,” Worrell stated.
As she applauded the CSS for helping to entertain patients and sharing the burden of the nurses on the ward, she urged locals to emulate the healthy habits of the older generation. “Our lifestyle has changed so much it is now increasing our chance of disease. If we can try to trace our lifestyle back to the way that our elders lived, it would make for a healthier Barbados,” Worrell stressed.
She added, “It is good to know that other people want to help us, share our burden… help us along the journey of looking after patients and this would be one of the areas of high burn out because it is not easy to look after hospice patients. So when other people come in, it lightens the burden.”