Leukemia is a psychosocial type of illness that results in the production of a high number of under-developed white blood cells called blasts. The subject is a 27years old Caucasian lady who was diagnosed with chronic Leukemia after being admitted to a hospital with a high fever, exhaustion and feeling weak. She lives with her parents, a six year old daughter and two younger siblings. After being put on a bone marrow recipient list and given medication. She was discharged with appointment dates for chemotherapy.
The onset of the illness was very acute, even though she could still attend to most of her personal requirements; the family had to contribute to doing most of the other requirements. For this analysis the term family means people who have strong emotional bond and have a history and a future together (p. 318). The siblings had to alternate in taking care of the daughter for her. The parents would drive her to and from chemotherapy and ensure that they buy all the requirements she required. This was the hardest part because it entailed adjusting to a new routine.
The course of the ailment was another tasking part; she would constantly have relapses and had to be readmitted severally after some of the effects of the chemotherapy were overwhelming. The family was financially strained as she could no longer work and there was need to almost always have someone in the house in case she relapses and collapses. The discrepancy between the moments of relapse and the low symptoms also strained her relationship with family members, (p.321) and eventually the daughter was admitted for counseling at school.
Increase in weight and hair loss led to increase in anticipation of her death by her family. This emotionally strained the family as they even stopped hoping for improvement (p. 321). However, hope was restored after a bone marrow donor of her blood type and tissue match was found. The insurance catered for the hospital bill but even after surgery she would still require extra care in order to fully recover. The family had to hire a nurse to take care of her and they all picked up extra shifts at work in order to cater for all house bills. This strained their personal and social lives. The surgery was successful but she had to take drugs during recovery, the side effects of the drugs was that it made her weak that she could not be able to work as before even after full recovery. The family saw this as a form of incapacitation as she had a child and now they were liable for her.
During the crisis phase of the illness especially before the actual diagnosis, the patient had reduced the number of working hours due to exhausting and feeling weak and her parents took care of her daughter and catered for her needs. After diagnosis, the family decided to get more insight on how to prevent the illness from affecting the daughter and how to care for the patient. They came to me, and I advised them to all for a medical check-up as a preventive step to get early diagnosis in case one of them is also infected (p.321). We discussed what they understood about taking care of their daughter and sibling and I advised them on the proper care (p. 319). The family had to reorganize themselves in terms of role played, availability and financial contribution.
During the period of chemotherapy there was increased dependency due to effects of the drugs and therapy, the family became one unit upon my advice. They would all pick up extra shifts at work to ensure all bills are paid including the insurance premiums. I explained to them the source and cause of Leukemia and since they were a Christian based family, I asked them to make their faith the pillar of strength and hope. After the surgery, the effects of the treatment process left the patient terminally weak and the family had to accept that she would be dependent on them for the rest of her life (p.319). The siblings rearranged their lives by moving out because the young daughter could not share a room with her ill and weak mother anymore. They decided to pay the school fees for the girl while the parents provided for the social amenities of consumables of both of them.