Palliative Care: Ask for it!
Author: Shannon Miller
By guest blogger Tammy Badida
Believe it or not, we did run into some unexpected blessings along the way, one of which was “palliative care.” At first, however, we had no idea what palliative care was. We heard about it from our oncologist, and I am so grateful that we did. This care came at a time for us when Nick had emotionally hit rock bottom. He had been through a revolving door of bad news for a while, and his pain was increasing.
One of the biggest blessings during our journey came when we met Dr. Shannon, a wonderful, caring, and compassionate palliative care doctor. Immediately after we had our first appointment with him, I can remember feeling a little bitter. In my mind I had been thinking that he would be yet another doctor to add to the list. I wondered if he was going to be able to help my husband at all.
To be honest, a lot of my doubts came from the fact that I had never even heard of “palliative care.” So, what exactly is it?
The Palliative Care Program at the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) describes palliative care like this:
- Palliation means relief of symptoms, easing pain, and offering support.
- Palliative care helps patients and families find assistance in their community when they need it.
- Palliative care strives to relieve suffering.
- Palliative care provides support for a comfortable and compassionate dying process.
It provided all of this for us, and more. We could not believe the amount of support and compassion we received. Dr. Shannon knew how to ask the difficult questions in a way that we could digest and actually answer them. Palliative care really helped us with the quality of life versus the quantity. I will never forget the role that this played in our lives.
One of the common misconceptions about palliative care is that it is only for cancer patients. As I researched this topic a little more closely, I found that CPMC suggests palliative care for a wide range of terminal illnesses from Alzheimer’s to heart disease, and that palliative care can be sought at any point during a “chronic” or “life-threatening disease,” or even after for the loved ones left behind. (Source: CPMC)
If you feel like you are in need of this service please don’t hesitate to check with your healthcare provider about finding a physician who specializes in palliative care.
Caregivers, palliative care can help you too. It is not just for the patient. I found many times I would leave those appointments, hand in hand with my husband with both of us smiling.
“Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others.” William Arthur Ward
Next Tuesdays Article: Life: It’s the Quality, Not the Quantity
Article by Tammy Badida