The Comfort of Palliative Care

 When Susan Knicely was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer, the constant pain kept her from doing daily activities. That’s when her family encouraged her to get some relief.

Her oncologist, Scott Wegner, M.D., medical director of the Genesis Hematology & Cancer Care Center, suggested she seek help from Genesis Palliative Care. Soon after Dr. Wegner’s referral, Susan met with Erin Remster, D.O., a Palliative Medicine physician.

“Palliative Care is specialized medical care to help people deal with the symptoms and stress of a serious illness,” explained Dr. Remster.  “Sometimes patients with a serious illness have pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety and decreased appetite. We have a variety of ways to help manage these symptoms.”

The care can be appropriate for patients with cancer, as well as other illnesses such as advanced lung disease (like COPD or emphysema), advanced heart disease (including heart failure and valve disease), and liver, kidney and neurological diseases. “The goal is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families,” Dr. Remster said.

Help With a Serious Illness

Dr. Remster talked with Susan and her family to find out the nature of her pain and help her find relief.  “She looked at the whole big picture to find out where Mom’s pain was, if the pain was in the evening or if she woke up with pain, when the pain hit, and how severe it was,” said daughter Jenny Eck, a registered nurse. 

The relief, in Susan’s situation, was a timed-release medication to help improve her quality of life. “After I had the appointment with Dr. Remster, I began getting up in the morning feeling more rested,” Susan said.

A New Outlook on Life

Susan is glad she could receive the specialized care close to home. “Dr. Remster was so caring and concerned about my well-being,” Susan said. “She met with me at the Genesis Hematology & Cancer Care Center so I didn’t have to make another appointment or go to another doctor’s office.”

Susan is back helping out on the farm and enjoying her family. “I’m more relaxed, and I handle things a lot easier than before. I have a positive attitude now,” Susan said. “With help from the doctors and nurses and God on my side – I’m going to get through this.”