“The nurses were unflappable, genuine, and caring individuals”
Compassionate hospice care helped a couple face terminal cancer
One of Nancy D.’s fondest memories of her husband Terry came in the final weeks of his four-year battle against colon cancer. “I was in the bedroom with him and he was watching a concert on TV,” reminisces Nancy. “He got a very stubborn look on his face and asked me to bring him one of his guitars. So I brought him the first guitar he ever owned, put it in his hands and he played for a few minutes. Mind you, he was in terrible pain, but he was happy at that moment, and so was I.”
An avid and accomplished guitarist since childhood, Terry, who passed away at the age of 57, relished his ability to share his musical talent. Nancy credits BAYADA Hospice for allowing Terry to live his final days in the comfort of home, where he could enjoy his music, play his guitar, spend time with his beloved cats Lyle and Ruby, and treasure every moment with the woman he had loved for 25 years.
The couple met when Nancy, an academic advisor at a local college, provided guidance to Terry, a professional carpenter who had returned to school to earn a degree in business. After several meetings, he finally worked up the courage to ask her out, and the relationship blossomed.
Initially attracted by Terry’s intelligence, generous spirit, and big heart, those qualities in her husband strengthened throughout their time together. In addition to his passion for working with his hands, Terry found an outlet for his natural teaching abilities and landed part-time work tutoring students in computers and math.
“We enjoyed bluegrass together, woodworking, cooking, British racing cars, and he played a mean game of hearts,” shares Nancy, who had just started a new job as a community health manager at a local hospital when Terry received his devastating diagnosis. “My company was wonderful to me throughout Terry’s illness. And towards the end, having hospice there enabled me to continue to hold onto my job.”
The first signs of cancer came when physicians discovered a tumor during a screening colonoscopy. According to Nancy, the tumor was removed, the margins were clear, and physicians felt that no further treatment was necessary. However, one year later during a follow up colonoscopy, another tumor was found that was in a place that was simply too dangerous to operate.
Although Terry endured major surgeries and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, he continued to work in his job as an estimator at a building supply company. What’s more, the couple remained positive without denying the reality of their situation. “We became better people during those four years,” says Nancy, who, along with Terry, knew when the time had come to consider hospice. Hospice is comprehensive social, medical, and spiritual care that provides comfort and support to patients and their families when an illness no longer responds to curative treatment, or when a patient chooses not to pursue aggressive therapies.
“When I told our palliative care team at the hospital that I wanted to explore BAYADA Hospice, they strongly encouraged me to do so. I knew BAYADA was right when I met the staff. They delivered on every promise.”
BAYADA Hospice Director Kristin Barnum shares, “We believe people with advanced illness and their families deserve hospice services delivered with compassion, excellence, and reliability, the core values of our company philosophy, The BAYADA Way.”
“The nurses from BAYADA were unflappable, genuine, and caring individuals,” says Nancy. “There were moments when I would think, I can’t do this. Then the nurses would say, yes you can, and they would give me the support I needed. You can’t put a value on that.”
During Terry’s two months of hospice, the nurses provided regular care as well as emergency care in times of crisis. They made sure the medications worked properly, and taught Nancy how to administer the drugs. A medical social worker visited several times, and following his passing, BAYADA offered bereavement support.
“Nancy and Terry hold such a special place in my heart,” says Kristin, who, along with many of Terry’s BAYADA team members, attended his memorial celebration, aptly named “Kiss the Sky”, the title of a classic song by his rock idol, Jimi Hendrix.
Nancy admits she took a leap of faith when she welcomed BAYADA into her home. “We were overwhelmed and didn’t understand everything in the beginning,” she says. “We just knew that BAYADA could help keep Terry home, which is all he wanted in the end.”
For additional information on hospice services, visit the BAYADA Hospice page
or call 888-4-BAYADA.