Bengaluru: These women are a part of something big; they are not just motivators but a helping hand to Cancer patients, who have given up hope. These women are what they call, Oncology Patient Navigator and they too have gone through the same journey of being helpless to confidence.
“Anyone who is diagnosed with cancer is totally shocked and devastated. The very word conjures nightmares. That is because everyone has very little information about the disease, unless one has experienced it or seen any loved ones struck by the disease. Also most people know that the illness involves prolonged and complex treatment which requires some guidance in the hospital and during treatment. So a navigator plays a pivotal role – holding and encouraging the patient at every step,” said Meera Raj, Oncology Patient Navigator, Cytecare Cancer Hospital. She said that getting patients and guardians off that helplessness is what motivated them to become navigators themselves.
Recalling her personal journey of becoming a patient navigator Meera said, “All through my chemo treatment, I had a million questions and thoughts, all of which needed to be answered. I thought that there was a lacuna because doctors can’t be resource persons all the time and the internet was too confusing. I felt that a person who had experienced the disease was the ‘Best Bet’! So I decided to become that resource person for cancer patients.” After taking guidance and encouragement of Dr Athony Pais, she started meeting patients at various stages of their treatment and offered them information, inspiration and guidance to deal with cancer.
The group consists of three cancer survivors, Mili Baruah, Meera Raj, and Meera Dutta, which was formed some three months back and has been quite proactive in reaching our patients and helping them with a more personal touch.
“Most patients want to know how what are the expected problems and how they can deal with them efficiently, the experienced navigator can not only show them the solutions to their problems, but also inspire them to face their situation with a positive and confident attitude,” said Meera.
Her group helps patients by sharing their own challenges. “As stated earlier, cancer treatment is for an extended period of time involving several challenges, discomforts, as someone who has gone through them and found ways of dealing with them a survivor is definitely a better navigator,” Meera summed up.