Valerie Wallace is a young, vibrant, upbeat mother of three and wife to a husband she adores. So when she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2013, she was determined to fight. She underwent colon surgery and a round of chemotherapy.
But after finding out her cancer had spread to her liver, she was told by her gastrointestinal oncologist that she was not a good candidate for liver surgery.
“The side effects were so much worse than all of the sessions before, having been injured and sick,” Valerie said. “At that point, he said that he was changing his opinion about my case, that he did not know if I was still in as high of a treatable category as he thought I had been, and that he and my liver surgeon had talked and they were not comfortable going through with the liver surgery.”
Frustrated, confused, and suffering from debilitating symptoms from both her cancer and its treatment, Valerie was thrown for a loop. Her central goal became getting well enough to qualify for the surgery so she could get well for her family.
“I was the most calm of anyone when it came to my husband, my mom,” she recalled. “My attitude was like, ‘Okay. I’ve got cancer. Tell me what I’ve gotta do because we’ve got to do to beat this thing.’”
That’s when Valerie turned to palliative care. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the family. … Read More