Podcasts

Living well with serious illness: Gregory’s lung cancer story

January 28, 2018

Gregory has never been much of a runner. When it comes to exercise, he’s always preferred hiking. But tomorrow, along with his wife and two young children, he’s going to attempt to run his first 5K. For any of us who don’t run very often, a race like this would seem like a challenge in and of itself. But for Gregory—who has been living with stage IV metastatic non-small cell lung cancer for a little over a year now—it’s much more than that.

“If you had asked me back then if I ever thought I’d be here preparing to run a race, I wouldn’t have believed you,” says Gregory from his home outside Atlanta.

Back then, shortness of breath coupled with the painful side effects of a surgery to remove fluid in his lungs were consuming Gregory’s life. He needed support to relieve his symptoms and he needed help understanding how to best prepare for an uncertain future. Most of all, he wanted to get back to being the active person he always was.

That’s when Gregory found palliative care.

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A Quality Life: Barbara and Laren’s Pancreatic Cancer Story

January 14, 2018

For 50 years—three years of courtship and 47 years of marriage—Barbara and Laren of Atlanta have always struck the perfect balance. Barbara, the retired nurse and eternal optimist, is a bubbly dreamer who loves spending her free time in her garden so she can “hold mother nature’s hand.” Laren, the scientist and down-to-earth realist, is guided by practicality and a strict adherence to facts and numbers. Yet ever since the two met riding bikes while in college, they’ve been inseparable.

“We are very different people but it’s always just worked for us,” says Barbara. “Laren is the calm and patient one,” she adds through laughter.

Barbara has always been her family’s rock. While raising four highly-accomplished children or helping Laren deal with the struggles of his heart condition, Barbara has always been there standing strong. But more than two years ago, Barbara was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and seemingly out of nowhere, the couple’s lives flipped upside down.

“Barbara was always the one who took care of us and held us together. Now suddenly things are reversed. That’s not easy,” says Laren.

This is a story about finding a sense of control amidst an uncertain future. This is a story about doing everything you can for the ones you love. This is Barbara and Laren’s palliative care story.

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A Quality Life: Karena’s Palliative Care Story

December 3, 2017

Many patients facing serious illness say that some of the most difficult things to deal with are pain, stress and a loss of control. This is because an illness like cancer, COPD, kidney disease or ALS can make an independent person feel helpless for the first time in their lives.

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Living well with serious illness: Toby’s palliative care story

September 8, 2017

When we go into the hospital, we want to be treated for whatever is ailing us. We also expect to be heard and validated.

When Toby Palma, a Las Vegas, Nevada woman in her early 40s, went into the emergency room several times complaining of severe pain all over her body, the doctors kept telling her it was a minor kidney infection. … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Kat’s palliative care story

July 31, 2017

Kat Harrison of Dayton, OH has never been the type to sit around. As a former softball player and as a hard-working professional who often balanced multiple jobs, she has always been on the move. And luckily for her, she’s a frequent babysitter to four rambunctious grandchildren. As a result, she can often be found running around trying to keep things under control. She doesn’t mind.

“Oh my gosh, what isn’t there to like about being a grandmother? You see, being a parent is great, but being a grandparent is even better because you can be there for them and play with them, but then you get to send them back home and get some rest,” says Kat through laughter. … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Marion B’s palliative care story

June 12, 2017

Marion Blankenship of Charlotte, North Carolina lights up when she talks about her family, especially her eight grandchildren. She beams with pride when you ask her about her job working with kids at a childcare development center. And, she smiles ear to ear when she talks about her hobbies, like singing in church, cooking, or exercising at her local YMCA. … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Joyce’s palliative care story

April 17, 2017

Ever since 74-year-old Joyce Montgomery of Atlanta, Georgia was diagnosed with liposarcoma—a rare form of cancer that arises in the fat cells of soft tissue—she’s faced major decisions about her treatment. As her illness has progressed, she has also struggled with anxiety and physical symptoms from her disease and treatment. Through it all, Joyce has had one mission: to keep doing the things she loves for the people she loves.

This is Joyce’s Palliative Care Story. … Read More

5 ways palliative care can support you at diagnosis

March 24, 2017

In our previous blog post we noted how a recent study found that early palliative care improves quality of life, reduces depression, and improves satisfaction with care.

First, it’s very important to understand exactly what palliative care is. Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. It provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care teams work with your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. And, you don’t have to wait to get it.

But how does palliative care specifically support patients and their families at diagnosis? … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Amy’s palliative care story

November 15, 2016

When Amy Berman of New York City was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, she learned that only a small percentage of people with her diagnosis survive to five years. That was five-and-a-half years ago, and Amy is still here. In fact, she is as active and fulfilled as she has ever been.  She credits palliative care with keeping her healthy and lively as she deals with her illness. This is a story about making difficult but informed decisions. This is a story about finding happiness in the moment. … Read More

Living well with serious illness: Aly’s palliative care story

August 3, 2016

Navigating the uncertain waters of high school and college can be challenging for anyone. Imagine spending those pivotal years with a serious illness.In the face of chronic pain and discomfort, constant doctor’s visits and hospitalizations and the stress that comes with giving up so much at such a young age, her goal is simple: to live the best life possible. … Read More