Hear from Sarah Bradshaw, a former breast cancer patient at GRH, on how a village of health professionals came together to provide her with compassionate care.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. I think it also takes a village to treat a patient.
In February 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The following months were a blur of testing and treatment. The time was made bearable because so many wonderful people at Grand River Hospital supported me.
An important point for me is that it wasn’t a single person who made a difference, but a team of people providing care. They all used their special skills and experience to help me. They saw me as a person.
I think I experienced a big part of Grand River’s services through two years as a patient. Shortly after the diagnosis, I had a mastectomy and 18 lymph nodes removed.
Chemotherapy followed in several sessions. I also received radiation therapy and treatments with Herceptin.
From the operating room to the chemo suite to the radiation therapy staff and pharmacists, all of the care was professional and compassionate.
The pharmacy team spent a lot of time with me explaining my medications, dealing with side effects, and working through issues. With the radiation therapy staff, we talked about holidays and meals when I came in for my treatments.
But there is this whole group of professionals providing care who don’t use medication, a scalpel or high-tech equipment.
One of Grand River’s Spiritual Care providers made it his business to know when I was going to be in for treatment. He visited with me for many of my chemo treatments.
When I was recovering from my second round of chemo I started to feel really scared and pessimistic about the treatment. My supportive care coordinator connected me with a social worker at the hospital. We discussed strategies for helping me cope.
I suddenly realized that there was a village of experts with big hearts. They were just as invested in the success of my treatment as I was.
For care providers, I hope my story has helped you appreciate the importance of your care, compassion and team work.
You are part of an amazing village that many of us have to visit from time to time. Each of you makes a difference in a unique way.
For patients, this village can be a big help. You can count on people tending to your physical, mental and spiritual needs so you get the best care possible.
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