Throughout the end of March and beginning of April 2013 I have been involved with different activities for the PFCC at UCH. The first of which being involved with OR training involving the PFCC. I have been able to give some feedback to nurses and other health professionals who work in the OR and I have been able to relate my own OR experiences and giving them feedback on what is and what is not helpful all from the perspective of a patient and what they can do to improve the patient experience. Going through surgery can be a different experience each time, but when you have health professionals that can ease your fears and make you as comfortable as possible it is a great help.
In addition, the hospital is also going through a major transition adding on an additional inpatient tower. Some really amazing things are happening at UCH with the addition of the new tower. They’ve installed new equipment, patient rooms and I’m just so impressed with the improvements that this is going to provide to patients. With that being said, they have had volunteers giving safety tours to the hospital staff on all the various floors so they are aware of where everything is and so I have been involved with that as well. I have mostly been giving tours of the surgical floor and the Neuro ICU. The new patient waiting room for surgery is such an improvement over the old one, with much more privacy and they now have consultation rooms where surgeons can discuss cases with the families in a more private setting.
Throughout November and December 2012 I have been in the process in joining the Patient and Family Care Council (PFCC) at UCH (University of Colorado Hospital). It has been a process, but I am so grateful to Tommy Stewart for getting me involved and wished that I could have been involved a lot sooner. Tommy is another thyroid cancer survivor that I have met while going to the ThyCA meetings in Denver, Colorado. It has been so refreshing being able to have a voice and to collaborate ideas with other members of this council that can benefit cancer patients and make their experiences better. In addition to serving on this council, I have been involved in assisting in other areas of the Cancer Center as well. By focusing on others whose cancer situation is a whole lot worse than mine, I see this as an opportunity in giving back to those who have helped me in my journey and I hope that I can help others in theirs.
When you lose yourself in helping others your own problems seem so minor and in some respect you also find yourself and know what you can accomplish with the right perspective. This really has been a turning point for me in my journey; it has allowed me to leave the adversity I have faced behind and to move in a more positive direction. My hope is that if I can persevere and move on, that anyone facing a similar situation can do the same and I hope that it provides inspiration and encouragement to others that there is life after cancer. Just because one receives that cancer diagnosis does not mean the end. What matters is how we face these trials and that we not only endure them, but to endure them well and remember that we are NEVER alone in this fight. There is always hope and that has what has helped me to continue moving forward.
It is now about mid-February 2013, and I being that I have worked with the PFCC at UCH there have been other doors opened other doors for me as well. I recently met with some folks at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs to help establish Volunteer Patient Advisors to be closely involved with the various councils they have and I am excited to be a part of this. Most of my volunteer paperwork from UCH has been transferred to Memorial (being that Memorial is now a part of University of Colorado Health) and so it won’t be necessary for me to start from scratch and redo that paperwork which is necessary for volunteer work at Memorial. Even though I have only been involved with PFCC a short time, I hope that I can make a difference with some ideas that can benefits patients and others in the community.