Paul's Place: Support For Families
At Home, Away from Home.
Our story starts in 1999 when I was living in Austin, TX and my father was living in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. In mid-September, my father was diagnosed with Burkett’s Lymphoma. I would come to find out later that the doctors did not expect him to make it past the weekend. He responded very well to a new a relatively new treatment to stabilize him enough to start chemotherapy. He continued to do well with the treatment so for the next 3 months he stayed in ICU.
By this time, I had let my apartment go in Austin. I had stayed with a friend for the first weeks in Houston. The nurses told me about a program that offered temporary, fully furnished apartments close to the Houston Medical Center that was offered to families of patients receiving treatment at any of the hospitals. It was a GODSEND! No longer did I feel guilty for sharing a small 1-bedroom apartment with a medical student, nor did I have to worry about paying for a hotel with money I did not have. So since my father was doing well enough, he could be discharged from the hospital in
between chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, he was still not well enough to drive to Austin or south Texas. So we continued in our “home away from home" for another 10 weeks. Overall, the sanctuary at our home away from home helped my father actually beat the cancer after 6 months of treatment.
However, the treatment proved too much for my father’s transplanted heart. On March 11, 2000, my father had passed away from a heart attack. He was just 2 months short of having the transplanted heart 10 years. I will always treasure the 6 months I got to spend with my father. At one time he told my mom that I was his angel through the whole ordeal. He didn’t think he could have survived the first few months if I hadn’t been there to help him.
So in honor of my father, I want to be able to provide that comfort for other adult patients and their caregivers/families. I want to be able to help provide education to the caregivers on how they can learn how to be a catalyst for the healing process for their loved one through nutrition, counseling/support, and even through massage/touch.