A Home Away From Home When Dealing with Cancer

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Cancer recovery calls for a place where you can relax and recover during treatment, or better yet, a home away from home. Karen Warman, a breast cancer survivor, joins this Patient Power program to share her story and describe her experience at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and the Pete Gross House. Debbie Fraley, house project coordinator at The Pete Gross House. The Pete Gross House and the new SCCA House were built to serve patients and their families who are receiving their care or undergoing treatment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Karen was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in September of 2007. After doing extensive research, she sought out experts at SCCA. Her first appointment was in October 2007, where she met her oncologist. On that day, she was given a year to live. Today, Karen is doing well and is involved in several clinical trials, accompanied by monthly check-ups. Karen decided to stay at the Pete Gross House while recovering and believes it was a very wise decision. Karen describes her experience as always feeling like she was part of a team, “you don’t get that everywhere” she says.

Ms. Fraley talks about the benefits to patients and their families at the Pete Gross House and the new SCCA House. If you’ve been just diagnosed with cancer, learn how facilities like these are helping cancer patients near and far.

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Transcript

Andrew Schorr:

If you choose to go far from home, possibly for cancer care that's lifesaving, good choice, but how do you assure yourself that you have a home like setting to help you with support as you go through that cancer care? We'll find out all about it on Patient Power coming up next.

Andrew Schorr:

Hello. This is Andrew Schorr with another edition of Patient Power sponsored by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Now, being a cancer patient I know, and I think anybody who has been touched by a serious condition where there might be treatment maybe over many months, and it's scary, the ideal would be you have it around the corner and you get to sleep in your own bed and all your family and friends are there, but sometimes it can't be that way. And one reason it can't be that way is, as you do your research, it may be that the best care maybe to save your life, maybe to lengthen your life, give you a better quality of life, may be somewhere else, may be far away. And if you make that choice, which may be a very wise choice, then the question is besides the visits to the doctor or maybe at some point a stay in the hospital, what about the support to help you recover and feel as good as you can and also not feel alone? Well, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance like some other major centers, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is certainly helping lead the way, has been working on that for a number of years to try to create home like settings for people so they know they're not alone and they can feel secure that they're in a clean environment because certainly their immune systems may be weakened during cancer care, and they can be assisted as they're going through maybe one of the toughest times in their life. So I want to introduce you to Karen Warman. Karen joins us from , Grove, Texas today where she's visiting her grandchildren. It's near the Louisiana border, about an hour and a half east of Houston. And Karen is thrilled to be meeting six month old Donovan, right, Karen?

Karen:

Yes. Yes.

Andrew Schorr:

And what makes it really special because you're meeting him for the first time and then seeing the other grandkids is you've had quite a two years since 2007 when you were diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, right?

Karen:

Correct. Uh huh.

Andrew Schorr:

Let's tell the story of the diagnosis in La Crosse, Wisconsin and then eventually getting care at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Now, let me see if I have this right. You used to be an operator at a power plant in Wisconsin.

Karen:

Correct. Yes, I was.

Andrew Schorr:

But you and the love of your life, Denny, you retired to Idaho, but you still went back every year to La Crosse, Wisconsin for medical checkups, right?

Karen:

Yep. That's where our family doctors were, and we would visit family and just have our checkups while we were there.

Andrew Schorr:

So there you go in September of 2007. You go back to La Crosse, you see the gynecologist, everything is fine. Primary care doctor, everything is fine. Get a mammogram. What happened?

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