GetPalliativeCare.org's podcast, A Quality Life, tells the real-life stories of people living with a serious illness, and their families. Each episode explores how palliative care specialists have helped to manage the symptoms and stress of their serious illness, and improve quality of life
One Woman’s Story of Surviving COVID-19 at Age 78
The COVID-19 virus is still circulating in the U.S. and millions of people are still testing positive. Thankfully, most who come down with COVID-19 don’t have to be hospitalized. Even so, for many the symptoms can be extensive and recovery can take weeks or months.
Listen to one woman’s COVID-19 experience, including the palliative care she received that helped keep her at home, and how she coped through six weeks with more than a dozen different and debilitating symptoms.
This is Bobye’s story.
A Quality Life: Joni's COPD and Palliative Care Story
Sixty-six year old Joni knows all too well that living with the lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – or COPD – can be stressful. The main symptom is shortness of breath, which worsens over time. The disease and treatments also cause coughing, wheezing, tremors, and emotional effects, such as anxiety and panic attacks, depression, and insomnia.
When Joni’s lung doctor of more than a dozen years referred her to a palliative care doctor, the goal was to address the worsening symptoms from the illness and its treatments, and help Joni live her life in the fullest way possible.
This is Joni’s palliative care story.
A Quality Life: Ilene’s Cancer and Palliative Care Story
As a speech language pathologist for young children, Ilene’s skills as an educator, careful listener and problem solver were keys to her career success. These factors also have played an important role for her through the many years she’s been treated for advanced ovarian cancer. It was a surprise diagnosis for the 68-year-old New Yorker that came in the fall of 2015 and changed her life dramatically.
She had a growing number of symptoms and side effects from treatments and surgery. When her cancer doctor referred Ilene to the palliative care team, Ilene didn’t know about the medical specialty. She had no idea how important it would be over the many years of her cancer journey, which included several recurrences. But ever-the-educator and problem solver, she went to the first appointment hoping for help to address many sources of discomfort.
This is Ilene’s palliative care story.
A Quality Life: A Young Mother’s Cancer Story
April grew up with hairdressers in her family. As a kid she put curlers in her cat’s fur to practice. She eventually realized her dream and even took ownership of her own salon. In June 2018, a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and 30 rounds of radiation, forced April to have to stop working.
This is a story about fighting to get back to the people and things you love. This is a story about embracing help. This is April’s Palliative Care Story.
A Quality Life: Rae Anne's Palliative Care Story
While living her everyday life and enjoying a concert, Rae Anne discovered a lump on the side of her neck. Not knowing what it could be, as she felt okay, she left quickly to schedule appointments with various doctors. Within a few weeks, the lump grew and she was diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer. Rae Anne received several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and was sent home to wait to see if the treatment worked. During this time, the palliative care team called which changed her life for the better, answering questions and providing monitoring during an otherwise lonely and scary time.
“Palliative care was the most valuable part of treatment because it enabled me to feel like I was going to feel better again. There was an opportunity and a team of caregivers that were going to make sure that my next step in my cancer journey was smooth.”
Rae Anne is now living cancer-free with her twin children, and running her nonprofit. This is Rae Anne's story.
Narrated by Nick Ciavatta
Produced by Melissa Baron, Lisa Morgan, and Nick Ciavatta
A Quality Life: Ryan's Pediatric Palliative Care Story
When Dan and Meghan’s 5-year old son Ryan was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes severe developmental delays—they didn’t know where to turn. Seizures, surgeries, and sleepless nights due to respiratory issues required constant hospital stays in the first six months of Ryan’s life, which took a toll on the young parents.
“I spent so much time on the phone dealing with insurance companies and coordinating doctor’s appointments that I wasn’t able to spend quality time with my newborn,” says Meghan.
With their hospital over an hour away and with Ryan requiring large, heavy equipment to help with the respiratory issues, Meghan and Dan began searching for extra support as they continued to see multiple specialists. Social media research led them to a specialty that helps children and their families deal with all aspects of a serious illness.
This is Ryan’s palliative care story.
Hosted by Dan Altano