He says he’s never been to Costa Rica …

Oil on canvas: 120 x 120 cms

Dr Jac Saorsa, Artist-in-Residence//

‘I tell him all about Cyprus, and Lisbon, and Costa Rica … I tell him about the small town on the Caribbean coast called Puerto Viejo, where the jungle meets the sea with only a dirt road and a beach of pure black carbon sand in between … He says he’s never been to Costa Rica, but he would like to go …’

In retrospect, as I talked with B in his dimly lit room on the cancer ward, I was not fully aware of the nature, the malevolence of myelofibrosis. Naturally , I looked it up after our conversation and found that B was obviously very ill and the prognosis was poor. I discovered that myleiopfibrosis is a serious bone marrow disorder, a rare form of chronic leukaemia, a cancer that attacks the tissues that produce blood cells in the body. The condition usually develops very slowly and often there are few signs or symptoms to suggest anything is wrong, but, as the production of normal blood cells becomes increasingly disturbed, the patient tires more easily, becomes weak and short of breath. The enlargement of the spleen causes pain and bloating below the ribs and night sweats and fever are common. The patient will begin to bruise very easily and bleed excessively from even the smallest injury as the condition worsens, and the onset of painful bones and joints follows escessive scarring in the bone marrow. Death usually occurs because of eventual bone marrow failure, or because the partient’s condition deteriorates into acute myloid leukaemia. More indirect causes of death caused by myelofibrosis are hiogh blood pressure, heart failure, or cachexia (wasting of the body due to serious illness.)

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