Helping those near the end of life feel less alone

Categories: Care.

After being diagnosed with cancer about five years ago, the 59-year-old struggled mightily to accept that she is dying. So when she became “palliative” last year, her home care nurse suggested she join the Living With Cancer program run by Hospice Calgary.

“Palliative means that you require quality of care for comfort and (it tries) to help terminally ill patients die well. I’m terminally ill,” said Herasymowych, who is on medication and sees her oncologist every six months to check and see if the tumours in her body are growing. Right now they are standing still.

She meets once a week at Hospice Calgary’s Sage Centre, where she receives the support she and others in her situation desperately need.

“The biggest thing is that you are not alone,” said Herasymowych, who has been going to the group for over a year. “You’re in a room full of people who have had to accept really difficult things in life.”

It took her about six months to feel comfortable in the Living With Cancer program, but she kept attending because she knew it was helping.

“Acceptance for me happened during the support group and I wouldn’t have had it without the support group,” she said. “Before the group, I was still a victim. For about four or five years I kept saying ‘why me?’ It was a circle that got me nowhere. More depressed. When I first started, I was in pretty rough shape. I couldn’t speak in the group.

“It’s a subtle process that happens and eventually you just realize one day you are in a different place.”

Hospice Calgary, one of 12 recipients for this year’s Calgary Herald Christmas Fund, plans to use its share of the funds generated by the campaign for two specific programs: one is the Living with Cancer Program for adults; the other is Community Hospice Counselling, which supports children and families with a loved one who is terminally ill.

To view the full article, please visit the Calgary Herald.