Abandoned by Her Husband Because of Cancer

Patient: Mrs Sharmila Pawar

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Mrs Sharmila Pawar, got married in 2011 and gave birth to a baby boy a year later. Six months post-delivery, she discovered a small tumour in her left breast, which her husband and she neglected to have investigated. A few months later, when the tumour had grown, Sharmila showed it to her sister who insisted on taking her to a hospital and it was then that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When Sharmila’s husband learned that she had breast cancer, he abandoned her and their little son, leaving her parents and sister to look after both of them. In early 2014, Sharmila was operated and for six months thereafter, she was fine. Then the cancer returned. Sharmila was referred to Tata Memorial Hospital and in November 2014 she was diagnosed, additionally, with lung and brain metastasis.

Tata Memorial in turn referred her to PALCARE.

During our first visit she was breathless, drowsy and very uncomfortable. She was being given morphine injections but to no great effect. Dr Jayarajan regulated her doses and Br Dirk and I showed her how to maintain a comfortable position to relieve her breathlessness. When we checked up on her the next day she was not only comfortable but was also able to attend court for the first hearing of her divorce!

Over the next few visits, the PALCARE team found Sharmila painfree and comfortable. When she confided that she was worried about her son, our counsellor talked to her at length and calmed her down. Then, suddenly one evening, she complained of breathlessness. We rushed over to prepare her family for the end.
An hour later, Sharmila passed away peacefully. She was 35 years old.

Sr. Minal Bambulkar
Nurse

*Patients’ names, on this and following pages, have been changed to protect their identity.