The diagnosis of cancer came unexpectedly for Betty Flack’s husband, David. This seemingly healthy man had a cancer growing in him quietly and unnoticed until there was no turning back from the reality that he was terminally ill. That February diagnosis lead to a referral to palliative care in May. Nervous about their initial meeting with the palliative care team, Betty and David went prepared to not only listen to what was being said, but also to follow recommendations.
Betty (pictured below) attributes Dr Debra Gowan and palliative care coordinator Kim Berkley with allaying their fears and bringing them calm:
“This was a journey that they said we would take together. They said that they would be there to support us and that we would develop a care plan together. I will always remember Dr Gowan holding David’s hand and saying ‘We are here to help you live the best life you can until the end.’ ”
Throughout the next few months the palliative care team kept in regular contact with Betty and David and worked with them to realize David’s wish to die at home.
“The moment the palliative team became involved we felt such a relief. They spoke calmly, lovingly but matter of factly about what was ahead. They prepared us and helped to ease some of our apprehension as we began the most difficult journey of our lives. We felt love and compassion from these people as soon we met them. They were our trusted guides.”
With the help of the Palliative Team, David enrolled in the Special Patient Program, which allowed paramedics to provide palliative care at home. Home care was arranged that respected both the dignity and privacy of the family. A loving and supportive family, and loyal friends, allowed David to spend his final days in his home.
Betty’s advice to all “Cherish the moment” rings true as she cherishes the moments of peace and comfort that the palliative team brought to her, David, and their family on their journey. “We could not have gone through this difficult time without their guidance, love and support. They prepared us so well for what we were going to face, those very difficult moments were more peaceful. I will be grateful to the palliative care team as long as I live.”
Trudy Johnson – February 2020 Newsletter
Photo: Trudy Johnson