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Life Quality Institute

501 S. Cherry St., Ste. 700
Denver, CO 80246

Phone: (303) 398-6326
Fax: (303) 321-7171

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Carl’s Story

Carl, an amiable Vietnam War veteran, was very ill. He had been diagnosed with aggressive cancer and had spent a week in an East Coast hospital being treated for the side effects of chemotherapy. He had been told he had less than a year to live. Weak and depressed, the widower moved to Colorado to be with his only daughter and son-in-law and their two young children. His daughter suggested they meet with a palliative care specialist. Carl, however, wasn’t sure. He thought palliative care meant hospice, and he wasn’t ready for that. Rather than disappoint his daughter, he agreed to go to one appointment.

The palliative care doctor put Carl at ease immediately. She answered his many questions, listened intently, and explained his options for care. Carl was especially surprised when early in their meeting the doctor inquired, “What are your goals?” No one else had bothered to ask. With tears in his eyes, Carl told the doctor that he’d like to live as long as he could with the best quality of life possible. He wanted to get to know his grandkids. For the first time since being diagnosed, Carl felt like someone saw him as a person – not a disease.

With Carl’s goals in mind, the doctor developed a care plan to get Carl’s symptoms under control. She streamlined his medications and worked with Carl’s oncologist to adjust his chemotherapy regime and to introduce palliative radiation treatments to address Carl’s pain. She also introduced counseling services to support Carl and his family through the emotional challenges of Carl’s advancing illness.

Carl lived another two years with the best quality of life possible. He clearly benefitted from good palliative care.

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