You have cancer.
Words that strike fear and dread in anyone who hears them.
Kathleen Howe of Pentwater knows firsthand. She was diagnosed with rectal cancer in October 2014.
She cites the personalized and compassionate care she received from Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Cancer & Hematology for helping to reduce her fears and calm her anxiety.
“When you have cancer, it’s easy to feel alone,” said Howe. “But I never felt that way because of the physicians, staff and volunteers.”
And now, with her chemotherapy treatments nearly over, Howe says she’s going to miss her caregivers.
“They’re warm, loving and very caring. They truly want to know how things are going, how I’m feeling and if everything is okay. They’re absolutely wonderful. I feel like I’ve been covered in love.”
In fact, Great Lakes Caring recently recognized the staff with a quality care award.
One reason for such outstanding, compassionate patient care is that many of the staff and volunteers understand the struggles patients face because of their own personal cancer journeys.
Nancy Lundberg started volunteering in 2013, just one year after being diagnosed with brain cancer. As a retired surgical nurse, volunteering with cancer patients was a natural fit.
“With my illness, I have difficulties and can’t work. Volunteering allows me to still be able to help people,” she said. “As a nurse, you always have that in your blood.”
Lundberg brings fresh flowers to the cancer center each week when she volunteers to add a personal touch and brighten spirits.
“After I had my own cancer surgery, I wanted to find a way to help others who are going through the same struggles I experienced,” she said.