Podcasts

Living Well with Serious Illness: A Young Mother’s Colon Cancer Story

November 4, 2019

 

When Sarah, a mother of two young boys, was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer at age 34, she was shocked and overwhelmed, but also determined to find the best care possible. She fought for a cancer doctor who would support her at every turn, and found specialists to address the many consequences of treatment she experienced. She enlisted her own pharmacist to help her understand and adjust the numerous medicines to minimize side effects. She found a pain specialist and physical therapist to help with difficult symptoms and side effects of treatment, and other doctors to round out her care team. She was willing to do anything to remain active and be able to care for her sons. 

“I think any serious illness is going to make a patient assess their life, their values, and their purpose,” says Sarah. “Patients deserve the highest level of care available and I wasn’t going to settle. Not for me and not for my children.”  

One day, she was telling a friend about the hand-selected care team she assembled to give her an extra layer of support through the cancer journey.  

“That sounds a lot like palliative care,” the friend said.  This is Sarah’s story.  … Read More

A Quality Life: “Rock Man” Willie’s Cancer Story

September 30, 2019

 

At a clinic in Dayton, Ohio—which provides chemotherapy treatment to cancer patients—there’s a man known by all as “Rock Man” Willie. When he’s there, Willie stops at each station to chat with people who could use a good distraction. He carries with him small hand-painted rocks he’s designed, and he hands them out to cheer up others who, like himself, are facing cancer and other serious illnesses. In return for these support rocks, Willie only asks for one thing: a smile. … Read More

Living Well with Serious Illness: JoAnn’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Story

September 4, 2019

“I wish I could have videotaped JoAnn in her first palliative care session so that she could look back and see how far she has come,” says Mark Curtis, an advanced practice registered nurse and palliative care specialist. Mark has been helping JoAnn—a woman in her sixties—deal with the symptoms and stress of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2016. Today, JoAnn is well enough to help care for her grandchildren and take part in charity walks, but when she first arrived to meet with Mark, these goals seemed unobtainable. 

This is JoAnn’s palliative care story.  … Read More

How Music Can Help People Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

July 11, 2019

If you care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and are looking for ways to help them cope with loss in memory and brain function, you’ll want to know about a program called Music & Memory.  … Read More

A Quality Life: Paul’s Ewing Sarcoma and Palliative Care Story

May 19, 2019

On good days, you can find Paul in his house intently focused on one of his woodworking projects. It’s hard work, but it’s a labor of love.

“I’m not the type to sit still. I’m at my happiest when I’m working with my hands and creating something new,” says Paul.

The fact that Paul is able to get up and do woodwork is something even he couldn’t have imagined five years ago when he was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma—a rare cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or in the tissue around the bones. A tumor in his spine caused immense back pain, made worse by symptoms from chemotherapy, radiation, and several spinal surgeries. He couldn’t do even the smallest of tasks.

That’s when he was referred to palliative care. … Read More

A Quality Life: Marion’s Breast Cancer and Palliative Care Story

April 9, 2019

For Marion, breast cancer and its treatment brought pain and depression that kept her from the things she loved doing. She was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2014. Eventually, Marion’s oncologist referred her to palliative care.

Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing 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 is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

“Since I began seeing palliative care, I am much more aware of living purposefully, of spending my time doing things that mean something,” says Marion.  … Read More

Treating Chronic Pain: Kelly’s Palliative Care Story

March 10, 2019

When Kelly—a central New Jersey woman in her early 30s—is asked what brings her joy, she doesn’t have to think very hard.

“It’s definitely being with my young son. He’s my world. His smile lights up my life,” says Kelly.

Since she was 12 years old, Kelly has faced an array of medical issues. Over the years, she has dealt with lupus, mitochondrial disease, a clot in her lung and main vein to the heart, and autonomic neuropathy. These issues have caused additional heart and bladder problems, as well as gastropareses, which affects the normal movement of muscles in the stomach. Kelly had done her best to deal with the chronic pain for nearly half her life, but in 2016, the issues became unbearable, and even the smallest task became an issue. … Read More

Maintaining Quality of Life with Alzheimer’s: Palliative Care Can Help

November 7, 2018

If you or a loved one are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you know you are facing a difficult road ahead. The disease begins with memory loss, confusion and trouble making decisions, and gets worse over time, eventually affecting basic control over the body. But with the help of a medical specialty called palliative care, there is a lot that can be done to make people living with dementia more comfortable and reduce distress.

… Read More

Living well with serious illness: Deadra’s lupus story

September 27, 2018

For junior high sweethearts Darryl and Andrea Gladden, the needs of their three daughters and one son have always come before anything else.

“All we have ever wanted is for our kids to be able to do what brings them happiness,” says Darryl.

This need to support their children at every turn has been magnified over the years as all three of their daughters were diagnosed with lupus when each entered their teen years.

… Read More

Living well with serious illness: Beth’s appendix cancer story

May 1, 2018

For many years, Beth, 55, of Baltimore couldn’t shake the nickname her sister and friends gave her.

“They called me Balloon Hand Beth because whenever someone needed something, my hand would float up to volunteer,” says Beth.

Beth has always been very active and willing to pitch in. In her professional life, she has worked tirelessly to improve her city’s environment one planted tree at a time as the Director of the Office of Sustainability in Baltimore. Most days, if she’s not helping out a relative or preparing to host a family holiday party, she can be found in her garden, meticulously growing her own food.      … Read More