Palliative Care: Ask for it!

Author: Shannon Miller

August 9, 2011

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.

(Source: CMPC.org)

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

Tammy’s story of “Learning to Live” during a life-changing battle has encouraged and reached so many already and can be found at: www.thebadidas.blogspot.com.

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6 Responses to “ Palliative Care: Ask for it! ”

  1. Dee Dee Fenwick Says:

    August 9th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Your article takes me back in time. I can remember talking with you and having so many questions. I distinctly remember the peace you received after meeting with the palliative care doctor, Dr. Shannon. He truly was amazing and his bed-side manner was so comforting.

    I don’t think people in general know about this type of care option and I am glad you wrote about it to inform us!

    There are so many facets to dealing with a life-threatening disease. Your honesty is refreshing and offers hope to those who may be feeling alone and isolated!!

  2. Susan S Says:

    August 9th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Tam: great article..I had no idea how palliative care could help..it is one of those unknowns that you have helped shed light on and made it ok to ask about…please put all of this into a care giver guide for those that might need it in the furture…or to share with others when needed..

  3. Ana Alvarez Says:

    August 9th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Great words of advise, Tammy! You have a gift in writing, and I am thankful that you are using it for the blessing of many others!

  4. Terri Holmes Says:

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Thank you for sharing Tammy! I also never heard of palliative care. I hope and pray those who do not know and may need and or benefit from this type of care are now aware of this resource through your blog.

  5. jennifer hackenberry Says:

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Tammy, thank you for sharing your wisdom through your journey with Nick. Thanking God for using your personal experience to help and educate others through their journey. Words are inadequate to describe the peace through this wisdom you share. Sadly, it was not available years ago – Thanking God for you and His using you in a most glorious way to help others… jennifer hackenberry

  6. J Baker Says:

    August 11th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I was not aware that palliative care existed until you mentioned it in your blog and I certainly would not know to ask for this special service.

    Again, thanks for more valuable information and insight.

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