Leukemia patients at the National Hematology and Blood Transfusion Hospital in Hanoi treasure each and every day. As they soldier on, they sometimes have to reassure themselves that death is just a part of life.
These pictures, courtesy of Lao Dong Newspaper, are simple yet overwhelming, and at times very graphic.
They transport us to the world of cancer patients, whose stories of despair and hope, of loneliness and love, of past achievements and unfinished plans cannot be told simply in words.
Thai is one of the oldest leukemia patients receiving chemotherapy at the hospital. She’s 74 but usually thinks she’s 84.
A woman hides her face from an injection. She still feels scared despite the fact that she has received so many shots. Leukemia patients like her usually suffer high fever, bleeding under the skin, anemia, swollen organs and fatigue.
A male patient is prepared for a chemo session. Chemo patients will be given special hats to cover their hair loss. Doctors also help fix their hair regularly.
Tran Duy Anh (far) and Tran Xuan Quy have to share a bed at the hospital. They found out that they had leukemia almost at the time same time and were hospitalized together. Anh, 17, said there was a time he wanted to die when he lost nine kilograms in a month and his skin was bruised and ulcerated all over from lying all the time. “But the things that keep me alive are my desire for a normal meal and to see my parents.”
Ngoc Ba and Manh Linh lie on their bed on a cold winter day.
Vu Quang Hung, a chemotherapist, says male patients here are usually more sociable. A male room often has more chatter and laughter.
Vinh, another 17-year-old patient, holds his mother’s hands to get some sleep. She stays by his side day and night. “I hope I will be well soon to save my mother from the hard work,” Vinh said.
Lien, a 21-year-old student from the University of Commerce, cries when interviewed. “I’m fed up with this. I don’t know what to say. I just want to graduate.”
Mai Anh, an accountant, is more silent as she spends most of her time watching the life outside her window. Anh said she was shocked for more than six weeks after knowing about her condition, but then she decided to stay positive and live the remaining days to the fullest.