In 2019, Jamal Myers attributed his headaches and chest pain to a small lump on his chest. He was later told by doctors at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex that it was a cyst. But both were wrong, something realised after the 22-year-old underwent surgery to remove the lump.
“When I carry him Mt Hope the doctor did a small surgery and said it was a cyst, So I come home and was happy to know it was cyst. When I bring him home he was alright and everything, but in no space of time the chest just start to spread,” his mother Janelle Myers explained.
She told Guardian Media that when they returned to the hospital, the doctor told her that Jamal needed Chemotherapy and Radiation as he had Stage 4 Sarcoma, a diagnosis she said she knew nothing about.
“I say but how you never tell me that when we were up there? He said he give him the package to do the chemo and radiation. I say, ‘But this is a child. You suppose to still call and tell somebody something’,” Myers said.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that can occur in various locations in your body. It is the general term for a broad group of cancers that begin in the bones and in the soft tissues.
She said doctors told her to expect the worst.
“He said, ‘Anyhow you take it, this child will still die’. I say, ‘Doctor, how you go tell me my child will still dead?’ (sic)” she said with tears in her eyes.
They are words the St Paul Street family refused to accept as they work to get Jamal the help he needs. But there have been and still are many obstacles in their way. His grandmother, Virlyn Williams, explained that his body rejected the Chemotherapy.
And his mother said since his diagnosis, it has been a struggle to get service at public hospitals as his appointments are shifted and the machines to treat Jamal are often down.
“We were going St James; we going Mt Hope… Sometimes on the date for him to go St James, Mt Hope calling and he going two ways,” she explained.
Janelle said the mix up does nothing for her son as the tumour continues to grow and his pain intensifies.
“Every time we carry him in the hospital, they sending him back home… Sometimes he can’t breathe and we have to fight up with him and he just home with… We don’t know what to do sometimes,” she explained.
The single mother said it’s also challenging to clean the tumour that oozes inflammation. Jamal also has sleepless nights and according to his mother, has been losing weight and not eating properly.
And while she is not the one in physical pain, her heart hurts for her son.
“I does cyar (sic) see him crying. I does can’t see when he crying because it real stressful to see him go through this. This is how he does be majority of the time,” she said as she pointed to her son lying on the bed.
Family friend, Sheldon Duke, who drives Jamal to his appointments, questioned if the area where they reside was the reason for Jamal being turned back so often.
“I don’t know if it is something personal but, in this case, with this patient, healthcare is clearly failing,” he said.
They described Jamal as a quiet, career driven child who has dreams of being a computer repair man.
“It [tumour] holding me back. It’s like a strain for me,” (sic) Jamal said.