Rae Anne Reflects: A Conversation with Her Palliative Care Nurse
Rae Anne found a lump on the side of her neck while at a concert with friends several years ago. Over the course of a few weeks and several doctor appointments, she was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer. After many rounds of chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments, she received a call from a palliative care nurse, Eve. At the time, Rae Anne was not familiar with palliative care, but soon learned that it would change her life for the better. In remission for more than three years, and enjoying life with her two children, Rae Anne wants others living with a serious illness to know how palliative care can help them.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the 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.
Rae Anne Asks an Expert
Rae Anne shared her story on the podcast A Quality Life, and recently had the opportunity to catch up with her former palliative care nurse, Eve, on a video call. During their conversation, Rae Anne and Eve talked about some of the commonly asked questions about palliative care. Rae Anne also reminded Eve of the tremendous impact that the palliative care team had on her recovery, including managing treatment side effects, anxiety, and quality of life.
“[Palliative care] was absolutely the bridge that I took from treatment back to everyday life. From symptom management to coming off some of the medications that I was taking during treatment, it was 100% the bridge between then and now,” says Rae Anne.