P & P Update

This is going to sound nuts, but FBC is almost completely of my realm of thinking right now.  Truly.  My life now revolves around  pain and poop (or lack thereof), which is why this post must, I’m afraid, be called the P & P Update.

Gross, I know.  If you can’t take it, I understand.  Here’s a photo from our garden to put a better image in your mind before we proceed.

OK.  Feel better?

As a nurse, I know all too well that the people best equipped to deal with the P&P issues are Palliative Care professionals.  No doubt about it.

So, I made a self-referral to the Community Palliative Care Program in Santa Barbara (805.690.6212).  It’s not too often that people personally call a Palliative Care service and ask for a consultation.  In fact it’s quite a rare occurrence, even comical to some.

As a practicing palliative care nurse, however, I happen to think that the people who DO self-refer (I was not the first one in the history of palliative care to do it!) are proactive and pretty smart because they recognize what Palliative Care CAN to do positively enhance (and even transform!) their lives.

Most people hear the phrase “palliative care” and think “buy the plot…she must be dying.”

This could not be further from the truth.  When diagnosed with a serious illness, people seek relief from the pain, stress, and other symptoms (e.g., F-Bomb CONSTIPATION!) caused by the disease.  This is what palliative care can do for you.

Symptoms seriously impede the quality of daily life.  Consider the current state of my life right now:  ALL I WANT TO DO IS HAVE A PAIN FREE DAY AND POOP!  This is seriously the sole personal objective of my day. I so wish I were kidding. But I’m so not.

THIS is where the Palliative Care (cavalry!) Team comes in!

The Mission Statement of the Community Palliative Care Program in Santa Barbara is

To alleviate suffering and enhance the quality of life for patients and families who are facing life-threatening illness.

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of people facing serious complex illnesses by preventing and relieving the pain, symptoms and stress caused by the disease process.Palliative care is appropriate for people of any age (including children!), at any point in the trajectory of an illness.

The Palliative Care team consists of an interdisciplinary group of professionals consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, complementary therapists, and volunteers. The family is also a very important, if not THE most important, part of the team. The Palliative Care team works in partnership with the primary doctor, or team of doctors.

Palliative care is available at any time during an illness, and can be provided simultaneously with treatments intended to cure you.

How great is this? Pretty F-Bomb Great. A HUGE SL!

Why don’t more people use Palliative Care? Well, because far too few people understand what palliative care is and what it can do for people.  There are terribly sad and ubiquitous misconceptions about Palliative Care.

Palliative Care is not about dying and death, it is about living and life.

The SL silver lining for me is that despite the P&P misery, the Community Palliative Care Program of Santa Barbara has stepped up to simultaneously take control my P&P issues while gently reassuring me that everything will, eventually, be ok.  They are ALL OVER me.   Introducing new drugs to my regimen (including the prescription of relistor and mirilax) and rearranging my pain medicine so that it actually WORKS.

I know that, thanks to my Palliative Care team, I will get through this shit (pun intended).  I am so grateful to to the team and count them among my most treasured SL’s.

If you’ve wondered what I’ve been up to lately, look no further.  Hope to have a much better image by next week!  Here’s to hoping for SL’s!









Welcome to my world!

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  1. Valerie Atwell says

    I, too am a breast cancer survivor. I've been following you on FB for a short while. I just now read this post. It really sounds familiar. Every time I've had anesthesia the constipation issues made the early days of recovery a misery. I had no idea that palliative care could help me! I'm reading this the evening before you have surgery to receive your implants. I know you will come through this procedure with sterling success! After the constipation issues, you may need patience dealing with the drains. Oh, I was so glad to be finished with drains!! I'm praying that all these surgeries will be a complete success for you. Thank you for bravely sharing your walk with others. God bless you.

  2. Jean Mosteller says

    I wish I had come across this when I was having my lumpectomy and mammosite radiation last Jan 2011. My God bless you! <3

  3. Amy says

    If P&P are not managed, not much else matters. Way to take charge of the problem! I love your GET ER DONE attitude.

  4. Susan says

    You are so great to be so frank about the problem that everyone who is going through surgery recuperation experiences. And thanks for more info on palliative care! Susan