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.
A Quality Life
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.
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
Cathy, 62, has always loved jogging and doing step aerobics, but her true passion is tending to the flowers in her garden.
“I just love being outside and getting my hands in the dirt,” says Cathy, born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.
Cathy will be the first to tell you that gardening takes both patience and the willingness to start anew when a flower doesn’t grow like she’d hoped. “It’s okay when something doesn’t go your way out there. It’s all about adapting and moving forward,” says Cathy.
Cathy has had to apply those same principles to her own life as well. A diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in 2012—the second time she had been diagnosed with this illness—halted her active and productive life. She faced an uphill climb of difficult chemotherapy regiments and an uncertain future.
After dealing with painful symptoms from the chemotherapy and the stress of managing the ups and downs of her battle for over four years, she asked for better care from her medical professionals. She was referred to palliative care who now work every day to get her back to her active life.
This is Cathy’s story.
Matt is about to start another abstract painting. With classic rock music blasting in the background, he holds the brush between his lips, steadies his neck and presses the brush against the canvas.
A few months ago, Matt, 38, wouldn’t have believed you if you told him he’d be painting again. Fourteen years ago, a severe car accident left him paralyzed from the upper chest down. While his diaphragm wasn’t paralyzed in the accident, it was weakened significantly, which has caused Matt to have breathing problems that have grown progressively worse over time. Those issues coupled with severe nerve pain and the emotional stress of dealing with the traumatic events of the accident have been a daily struggle.
In this episode, we hear from Marion Case and his wife Tina. Marion has been living with Multiple Myeloma for the past two years. The pain and symptoms from both his illness and its treatment have greatly affected his quality of life but since receiving palliative care, his pain and symptoms are under control. … Read More
In this episode of our ‘Quality Life’ series, we hear from Debbie, a hair dresser, a business owner and a proud grandmother diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Debbie was in a great amount of pain while receiving treatment for her illness. Then she found palliative care … Read More
In this episode of our A Quality Life series, we hear from Brandi Hanna, a loving mother of four whose quality of life deteriorated after being diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Brandi shares how palliative care not only managed her symptoms, but treated her as a whole person. … Read More
In this episode of our Quality Life series, we hear from Valerie Wallace, a young, vibrant, upbeat mother of three diagnosed with colorectal cancer that spread to her liver. Valerie shares how palliative care helped treat her debilitating symptoms and kept her treatment goals centered in her care. Valerie’s palliative care team helped to coordinate her care with other doctors and provided an additional layer of support on which Valerie came to rely.
In this episode of our Quality Life series, we hear from Angela James, a 37-year old woman living with a multitude of illnesses, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. As her symptoms worsened, her quality of life began to deteriorate, until she was referred to palliative care. … Read More