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Sunday, April 13, 2014

PALLIATIVE CARE: An Introduction

I have not forgotten my ovarian sisters or their families.  Our family has been grieving the loss of mom.  My life has been enmeshed with my mom's life for many years, and each moment of joy and pain is equally treasured.  We honored her life last weekend in Colorado, with family and friends from all around the region.  My sweet Aunt said that she felt uplifted at the end. My sister worked so hard on the arrangements, thank you sis.  We chose to share mom's joy, her smiles, elegance and cherished life events.  Her suffering made us stronger.  Now she rests in peace, with God.

As a person with cancer it is important to do all we can not only to learn about our cancer and treatments, but learn about resources that can assist us with our suffering. Palliative care can be an essential ingredient in the complex and everchanging recipe for our care.

My mom had the blessing of speaking with two palliative care nurses a week or so before she died.  They gave her attention, validated her integrity and spoke with and to her as a whole person. They assured her that they were THERE to ease her suffering, and she was so happy about that.

I had asked several years back if the hospital offered palliative care, and at that time they did not.  This service came to her too late, but it is not yet offered as a standard service.  It is still relatively new and if you think you need it, please ask about it.

Indirectly, I believe that mom's primary doctors were offering palliative treatments, but without defining it as such, her treatments were not coordinated. This happens far too often.

Mom suffered great abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue and emotional exhaustion from grappling with the ups and downs from multiple hospitalizations and an overall downward trend in her quality of life.  Plus a critical element, family education, really never happened.  

When an individual is deemed to have chronic pain and suffering from a serious illness, the caregivers and patient need to be on the same page.  To leave the education up to the patient places an unfair burden on them.  The patient may not want to appear needy and the palliative care team knows HOW to educate without undermining a patient's dignity.  How I wish mom had received this help earlier....

Had palliative care been introduced sooner, she may have had an overall better quality of life. Her family would have had support in supporting her better in the way mom wanted.  We all did the best we could, and every life experience is a lesson.  Mom had type 1 diabetes with all the trimmings, she suffered greatly.  In her suffering she still managed to shine a beautiful smile, joyful laugh or deep regard for her loved ones.

Cancer patients greatly benefit from palliative care.  This type of program has the purpose of enhancing quality of life by managing pain, stress and any other major issue inhibiting our ability to live as best we can with our illness. Please go to the lnk below to learn more about this treatment plan and to see if you or a loved one could benefit from this type of care.

Peace and Blessings


  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us.This blog is really inspiring and encouraging.Thanks for the very nice post and tips.Stay strong and God bless!

    1. Thank you for commenting! Palliative Care is a developing field and for cancer patients and many others with chronic conditions, their quality of life will be better because of it. Blessings to you as well!


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