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“Franco Tan going strong! ”

Franco Tan
15 years old

I would like to share a short story about a young patient who sat for his PMR examination in the BMT Unit HUKM, Cheras in October 2006. His name is Franco Tan and he is a 15-year-old from Sabah. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is currently scheduled to undergo chemotherapy and an Autologous Transplant.

I was very moved to see what Franco had to go through. It is certainly one of life's bitter tests. Imagine having to sit for an exam and enduring the pressure of revising, this would certainly stress any normal child. The difference for Franco is that he has to undergo intense treatment to battle the cancer ravaging his body at the same time. He actually underwent chemotherapy on the same day he sat for his PMR examination. This is certainly an ordeal, but for this young man, there is no fear of exams. He does not want to be left behind, in spite of having to battle cancer.

The emotional and moral support from his family members, doctors and nurses boosted his self-esteem and inspired him. Despite being away from school, his isolation in the BMT room gave him the privacy to carry out his revisions. On the morning of the first day of the PMR examinations, he looked cheerful. After completing his first paper, that is Bahasa Melayu Paper 1, he continued with his chemotherapy session. An anti-emetic was given to him to prevent nausea and vomiting.

The effect of chemotherapy caused him to be tired the following day. He also felt nauseated and hot because of the high dosage during his treatment the day before. It was certainly a relief when he finished his exams and treatment.

As a nurse who cared for Franco during the chemotherapy, I was moved and felt sad to watch him lying on his bed during my night shifts. The side effects of his chemotherapy made him feel so uncomfortable. He has a strong will to live and is now home in Sabah, where he will continue his treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. However, he shall be back for further treatments.

written by Staff Nurse BMT MAKNA - HUKM, Natrah Nabil, 2007


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