The pandemic has unfortunately also affected the lives of children with cancer in our country. For those who were already on the ward, in addition to the anxiety of a new danger due to the virus, the isolation became even tighter. Despite this, however, the COVID managed to upset even families who were careful and took the right precautions.
So it was for Francesca, 13 years old, hospitalized in Taranto, where we are present with our psychological support, through Dr Maria Montanaro.
Thirteen years is a delicate age in itself: one is at the beginning of adolescence, with all the disturbances that can lead to both physical and emotional. Finding out you have cancer at that time is not easy. Having a compact family helps a lot and this has always been the luck of Francesca who, especially with her mother, has an almost symbiotic relationship.
Despite all the precautions taken, both his mom and dad tested positive at COVID and had to leave the ward. Neither of them could take care of Francesca anymore and spend the isolation with her on the ward.
The girl was just at the beginning of her path of care: the pains were very strong, the first hair were falling. A very critical time to be alone… In addition, everything happened during the Christmas holidays: the period par excellence in which you stay in the family.
So for the first time at the SS. Annunziata Hospital of Taranto were caregivers to take care of her, in the absence of her parents. Thanks to technology, Francesca was able to communicate through video calls every day with her father and mother, and this helped her to feel less distance and not have too much anxiety. The parents, on the other hand, feeling guilty for not being able to be near their daughter in the moment of greatest need, seeing her every day even if only in video they managed to be more serene.
Psychological support as reinforcement
The child has proved to be strong, as children and young people often are in the face of the disease: she managed to hold on, thanks to the help of those who treated her every day and our psychologist. The emotions to manage are always many in a path of care so complicated: they were even more in this case, both on the side of the parents that Francesca. However, having a guide, a reference figure that can listen and put in the right perspective what is happening is essential to go ahead and deal with care.
Today Francesca has returned home, the place par excellence where you feel protected. Her parents thankfully passed the disease in a completely asymptomatic way and were able to reunite the daughter after all this time.
Psychological support is an important component of cancer healing, even for children.
Support our psychologists in the hospital, so that they can continue to be close to children and young people like Francesca and her family.