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July 26, 2017

Joyce

Joyce
East Brunswick, NJ

My sister had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was doing well for 13 years. She was full of life and working full time.  Two years ago, she was persuaded to undergo a bone marrow transplant (BMT) for “cure”. She became totally disabled and grew weaker each day afterwards as her immune system was completely destroyed by the BMT. Consequently, complications and treatments became endless vicious cycles. The aggressive medical treatments killed her cancer and also took her life. In fact, her final test results revealed free of cancer but at the cost of life, it was meaningless. The pain and suffering for her had ended, however, it will last for lifetime for me.

With devastation and deep grief, I feel strongly that her death could be prevented. Necessary treatment or over-treatment results in different outcomes of life or death. Medical treatment plans should be thoroughly evaluated objectively for the best interest of the patient and without biased persuasion. It is also possible to live with cancer as a chronic disease, under proper medical management. The true value is not the “cure” achievement, but life extension with best health potential.

She only lived once. No one gets a second chance. This heartbroken experience inspired me to do something. Although I cannot do anything more for her, but hoping to help others. I joined the National Patient Advocate Foundation as a volunteer, to help improving the lives of patients and families.