Patient Story: Seni

Seni (not her real name) was a 30 year old married woman who lived with her husband and four children in Addis Ababa. Following the diagnosis of cancer on her left jaw she underwent surgery. Unfortunately, the mass was exceptionally large, and left her face disfigured and she had difficulty eating and drinking. In addition, the wound became infected resulting in an unpleasant odour.

She received chemotherapy at the Black Lion Hospital, but her condition worsened with severe pain around the wound and headaches, resulting in poor sleep for both her and her husband.  She felt sad, hopeless, and unworthy and blamed herself for putting her family in such a difficult situation. She became depressed due to the unmanaged pain and believed her disease was a curse and lost hope; she wished God to take her life.

The Black Lion Hospital referred her to Hospice Ethiopia (HE) for palliative care. HE nurses and care givers started to visit Seni at her home on a regular basis. Her physical pain was controlled with medications. Regular wound care was carried out and Seni and her family were relieved when the bad wound odour subsided and she was no longer in pain.

Even though she was not cured from her illness and the cancer progressed, her living conditions were greatly improved as a result of the overall support from HE. Seni and her husband started to sleep better which they had not done for a long time. They were both grateful for all the treatment and support that Seni received from Hospice Ethiopia. Seni recently died due to the cancer, but she did so with dignity, peacefully, and without suffering.

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