Real patient stories shared with me by patients and the family and friends who support them. These stories show the impact of palliative care on their lives.
Within one month of his 68th birthday Mr. A learned he had prostate cancer. Six weeks later, he still has not made any decisions about his next steps.
Ms. B used to be able to say she hasn’t seen a medical doctor since the birth of her youngest child over 30 years ago until she discovered a lump in her left breast. Her doctor is telling her that she is going to need chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.Read the whole story
Mr. C was 54 years old when he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). At the time of diagnosis he said he would not want to live with a feeding tube or mechanical ventilation but over the past 6 months he has been having more swallowing and breathing problems.Read the whole story
Mrs. D has been living with colon cancer for almost 8 years. She now has metastases in her lungs causing shortness of breath and in her liver causing pain. She has had multiple surgeries and chemotherapy regimens.Read the whole story
Mr. E has chronic viral hepatitis C. He had been hoping for a liver transplant but has been found to have hepatocellular carcinoma/liver cancer. His fatigue, anorexia, and weight loss have gotten worse and he is starting to need help with bathing and dressing.Read the whole story
Mr. F has severe emphysema and has been hospitalized three times in the last year with breathing problems. This past episode has been the worst so far and lasted over 1 week. The doctors were talking about putting him on a ventilator but his condition started to improve before this was necessary.Read the whole story
Mr. G has had diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease for many years. On his most recent lab tests his kidney function was nearing the point where hemodialysis might be necessary and Mr. G is considering starting hemodialysis but he does not want to put his family in the position where “they are going to have to pull the plug on me.”Read the whole story
Mrs. H has Alzheimer’s disease but no other major heart, lung, kidney, liver, or vascular disease. She is able to transfer from bed to wheelchair without assistance and but able to walk only about 10 feet with a 2-wheeled walker. Her appetite is fair and although she is under-weight her weight has been stable over the past 6 months.Read the whole story
Palliative care consultation can bridge the gap between usual care and hospice care when patients do not meet criteria for hospice, or when patients are eligible for hospice but not ready to stop treatments that are prolonging survival, such as artificial nutrition, mechanical ventilation, or hemodialysis.