Monday I officially started my Power Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute. I have been counting down the days until I was strong enough to be able to join this program. PT and the shots of doom were prep and being off of the chemo part of my infusions certainly helps.
2 weeks ago I was huffing and puffing behind Mike trying to walk across the parking lot. Last week I completed my first 20 minutes on the elliptical that didn’t have me screaming bloody murder afterwards. My pain is finally under some control and my body is supporting exercise. This makes me extremely happy.
A few months ago I was assigned to a palliative care doctor when I asked for solutions beyond medication. She was the doctor that cancelled my initial joining of the Power Program because she knew it would actually put me in more pain. They needed to get my back more comfortable before I started an exercise program that looks like it might be a tad bit more intense than I initially thought. The trainer told me at the end I will be able to do 15 pull-ups. I looked at him like he was crazy, I don’t have my latissimus dorsi in place anymore, how would I do a pull-up? He pointed out that I had just used the lat machine. I kind of didn’t have a response after that.
A lot of people freak out when they hear the words “palliative care” because they associate it with hospice. Hospice focuses on end of life comfort when you stop active treatment They are different things – but focus on the same goal – the comfort of the patient with a serious illness (physically and emotionally).
Palliative care can be received at any point in time in your treatment. It is not part of end of life treatment.
When I meet with my palliative care doctor she is focused on what it is that I want to accomplish right now and adjusts things to get me there (what I define as the quality of life goal I have). She has made adjustments to my pain regimen, she planned out my PT and now we are working around my goal to be able to walk the ruins of Greece and explore Italy without pain and with enough energy (I did book an AirBNB place that is up 5 flights of stairs, Mike as cute as he is, genuinely offered to carry me up the stairs. Of course, I want to be able to do this on my own. 🙂 ).
Studies have shown that patients that receive palliative care can live longer. Here are some articles about it:
- Palliative Care Helps Patients Live Longer and Better
- Palliative Care May Offer Survival Benefits
- Research Shows Patients May Live Longer with Hospice and Palliative Care
I can definitely say that the adjustments and approaches taken by my palliative care team are certainly improving my quality of life. Extending it would certainly be a bonus!
I started working out 5+ days a week (gently) and things are looking up.
P.S. Ask Your Dad Blog wrote a really nice post about me. It gives away more about my life beyond cancer (I actually lead people and do stuff when I am not on disability). We have received extra help from strangers (and less strange people) – we are in great shape for the trip. I am so grateful and super excited.