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Rocío Pérez: "With cancer I learned the importance of what others are".

Students from Degree in Nursing and Diploma in Palliative Care talk with a palliative care patient.

13 | 03 | 2023

"My name is Rocío, I am from Miranda de Ebro and five years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer with metastasis throughout my body". Thus began the second seminar for students of Degree in Nursing and Diploma in Palliative Care.

The session aimed to bring the experience of a palliative care patient to the students, told in first person. In this case, Rocío Pérez, first explained the process from the time she was diagnosed with the disease, until "I started with pain in my back and soon after I underwent a gastroscopy. At that test they saw that I had stomach cancer", although it was not the original cancer because "later they did a CAT scan and saw that I had breast cancer". At the time of the diagnosis "they gave me two weeks to live".

Later he was admitted for radiotherapy on the meninges to alleviate the pain, but there came a point "when they told me that they were going to sedate me". From Bilbao, the city where he was diagnosed with the disease, he moved to Pamplona to continue his treatment: "in spite of the sedation, which was superficial on the other hand, I experienced a spiritual process, because we are body and soul, and I found myself in a well, with a lot of anguish". Once in Pamplona, when he arrived at the hospital, six doctors were waiting for him "among them Dr. Nogueras, who took me by the hand and explained to me the process of dying. And he told me to try to fix whatever was pending. He also offered me his time to talk to me".

In this process, in the Clínica Universidad de Navarra changed her medication and "I felt calmer. They came to see me a lot at staff to see how I was doing". Until Dr. Marta Santiesteban came in and told me "that you have two weeks left, we will see, because a new treatment has come out that may work better". With this, she began to move forward, to improve little by little and to have a better quality of life.

When asked about the impact the disease had on her, Perez explained to the students that "I had to process many things: the mobility, the family topic , to think what they could suffer, and also the work, because I have always been very active, with many hobbies. And suddenly I lost everything.

attention with professionals

"Seeing how the doctors and nurses were treating many more people with their different circumstances I thought that if they could separate themselves from our status to take distance, I was going to take distance from the disease, I wasn't going to get involved." Taking illness and death in a natural way makes an impression on those around her: "They may think I'm a bit of a brute, but for me it's just another one. Even the disease has been a gift rather than a problem, because it has helped me a lot and I manage to do many things in spite of everything".

Regarding what she can expect from nursing care, Rocío told the students: "Although there is a protocol of action by your work, I would like them to be a little closer. Because each person with your disease has a family that suffers, with your family. And they need affection from all sides. Let there be a normal dialogue".