Brian was living the best life he could with metastatic lung cancer. Until he couldn’t.
He’d been positive in his attitude and followed his treatment plan. He was able to maintain his job and keep in touch with family and friends. But living a single life, albeit with his trusted canine companion Takoda by his side, he was starting to have a hard time, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
A nurse at the oncologist’s office had mentioned Palliative Care to Brian when he was first diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t think it sounded like something he would need and he certainly wasn’t used to asking others for support.
Fast forward to today, Brian knew the quality of his life was going downhill. He had trouble walking Takoda because he was so short of breath. He wasn’t sleeping well at night which meant he was tired and fatigued at work. He was losing a lot of weight and felt nauseated often. The pain medication wasn’t relieving his pain and it caused constipation and dry mouth but he couldn’t make it through the day without it. He felt overwhelmed and out of control. He was afraid of dying and didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t want to burden his family and friends with his worries and didn’t know how to proceed and then he remembered palliative care.
Palliative care is an approach to care for patients living with a chronic, debilitating, progressive disease while still undergoing treatment. The focus of the palliative care team is to work with your doctors to relieve symptoms, pain and stress to improve the quality of your life.
This kind of help is something you can request in an advance directive. Palliative care is a choice. A choice you can make when planning how you want to live before you die.
For Brian, it was one of the best choices he made and he took comfort in knowing that help was on the way.
“What people need most on this journey is not the promise of the next new technology but rather a guide to help navigate this dark forest in which they will undoubtedly find themselves.”
– Angelo Volandes, MD