Did Faith Suffer?
It is impossible to say that with certainty, but for the most part we believe that Faith was spared from pain and mental anguish. Here's why:
- Faith had trust in the adults who provided medical care. This trust was never violated by any of the doctors, nurses or technicians. The staff at both Duke and NEMC have the utmost respect for every child they help. Faith was always treated with tenderness and care.
- Faith was happy in school. Faith attended a very special elementary school that supported her when the tumor (or her medications) made things hard.
- Faith was peaceful. She had the uncanny ability to relax in (what seemed to us) the most stressful circumstances. During her MRI's she would always rest quietly for the 40 minutes required; she never needed sedation. During her radiation treatments, she never tensed up when placed in her "mask", which essentially locked her head down to prevent any movement. Sometimes she would actually fall asleep during her radiation. Yes, sometimes she cried; but this never lasted long.
- The treatments were humane. While you often hear of painful, sometimes horrendous, chemotherapy treatments, this was not Faith's experience. Her treatments never had side affects such as nausea or diarrhea. There was some hair loss resulting from radiation, but this grew back. The last chemotherapy also caused hair loss, but this did not seem to bother Faith.
- She was resilient. This is not to say that the chemotherapy’s she received never had side affects on other patients. But Faith seemed to avoid most of these.
- The nurses were vigilant. Faith was examined regularly to determine if the treatments were becoming too toxic. Dosage levels were adjusted as needed. Transfusions/infusions were given as needed.
- She was a wonderful patient. She cooperated readily with everything the doctors and nurses asked. Even in her last days, when she was at her sickest, she was a model patient.
- Faith was enveloped by love. Her beauty and boundless joy touched everyone deeply. They responded to her with love and devotion.
- Faith was brave. Even as the tumor advanced, debilitating her body more and more, she was never afraid.
- She got support when she most needed it. She received gifts and cards from family members and friends who made her feel special.
- In the final months, her doctors made sure that Faith was as comfortable physically as possible.
- She did not know the seriousness of her condition. She was free from this source of anxiety.