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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.