An ambience of sadness and loss permeated this year’s Sine Die —the last day of the 90-day, Maryland General Assembly Session—as we processed the loss of Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a true health care champion. It is fitting that we made so much progress this year.
Benefiting from Palliative Care: a personal story
Across New Mexico, ACS CAN ambassadors are sharing their stories with lawmakers on key legislative issues. Today we share a story about personally benefiting from palliative care by Judy Towers, an ambassador living in Santa Fe.
"I am a 5-year survivor of head and neck cancer, specifically, the right vallecula- a part of the throat anatomy. I live by myself and my treatment was aggressive, so a palliative care team was brought in to help with my daily activities (I have pets and a huge yard) and to treat the whole body as well as the cancer. The all-volunteer team was led by a palliative care nurse named Janet, who visited me at least once a week to discuss nutrition and other forms of wellness and accompany me to all doctor visits. A team was put in place to get me to my radiation treatments (I had concurrent chemo-radiation), and the nurses accompanied me to chemo treatment. Over the year I was a patient of Janet’s, I learned about different types of alternative treatments like acupuncture and at some point, they offered a monthly massage, which all patients liked as it helps you forget for a while and relaxes a tired/stressed body.
I received palliative care when it was in the infant stages in Santa Fe, but if I had not had it and the support, I am not sure how things would have turned out—it was a great addition to a very hectic time in my life. Palliative care, in my mind, is a very integral part of cancer treatment (or any life-threatening disease).
I have had the honor of sharing my personal story of receiving palliative care while in cancer treatment with my lawmaker, Congressman Ben Ray Luján and his staff. I am so grateful for his support of the Palliative Care Hospice and Education Training Act, which he co-sponsored several times."