Carmin Greaves wants the whole world to know that you are not alone when facing a life-threatening illness. Two years ago, at the age of 58, the San Diego, California resident was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Initially, Carmin was devastated and felt overwhelmed and afraid. She then began receiving palliative care – a specialized type of treatment which focuses on alleviating pain, suffering and the psychological burdens of serious illness. Palliative care is available even while curative treatment continues. It radically improved Carmin’s ability to cope, and continue living.
The Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego provided Carmin with palliative care. They were able to get her pain under control and managed her anxiety. She then transitioned to hospice care when more support was needed. She now relies on her hospice team and her spiritual faith to guide her during these challenging times.
Carmin has shares her story in a new video that’s part of the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice engagement campaign.
“Spirituality has allowed me to be the strong, vibrant woman that I am today,” says Carmin. “I want everyone to receive unconditional love and acceptance.”
Spiritual needs can be just as important as health related ones near the end of life. “As a chaplain, my job is to help incorporate spirituality into the hospice experience to further support patients and their loved ones throughout the end of life process,” says Felisa Meier, Elizabeth Hospice Chaplain. “With Carmin, we have spent much time reflecting on so many significant realities and truths of life. She is truly a testament to the fact that a terminal diagnosis does not mean life and purpose end, but that it can be yet another opportunity to learn, grow and teach.”
“I have been able to overcome hurdles with the help of the wonderful Elizabeth Hospice team that has helped me remain strong,” says Carmin. “No matter how difficult and challenging life is, we can find peace.”
Carmin also looks forward to visits from Carlota Durazo, an Elizabeth Hospice counselor. “Carmin lights up the room with her smile and graciousness. She welcomes you with open arms and this is how she lives her life on a daily basis,” says Carlota. “She really knows how to live.”
Carmin grew up in St. Vincent, Grenadines (Caribbean) and was the first girl born to a large family. “Her extended family in the Grenadines and her island culture has enriched her life and our staff with simplicity, humility and a love for life and laughter,” Carlota says.
Carmin is also visited every month by the Sacred Singers, a group of women who sing simple prayers, affirmations and songs of peace. Carmin readily joins this ‘circle of women,’ experiencing new and enriching moments with them, despite her illness.
“The room is full of powerful, positive energy emanating from the harmonious voices of the Sacred Singers,” Carmin says. “I always look forward to their visits.”
Learn more about The Elizabeth Hospice.
Editor’s Note: The Elizabeth Hospice would like to thank Sydney Salt and the other Sacred Singers who volunteer for the organization for composing the music and sharing it with Carmin.