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Hospice & Palliative Care

  1. This Dying Man Has Never Been Happier

    This Dying Man Has Never Been Happier

    This note arrived in the mailbox, and this is definitely not the first time we've heard these sentiments. There's something to be said for having your heart cracked wide open by all the love, care and appreciation that can surround a person who knows he/she is dying. Read on:

    "I am a 69 year old man, in the hospital at the moment getting 5 days of chemotherapy treatment for another recurrence of a cancer that I've been fighting for 5 years. Realistically speaking, I probably have less than 6 months to live.

    "I have an inspiring story of my own although it is obviously not about finding a miracle cure. I want to tell about the importance of friends and family, how they make all the difference, even though they can't cure this disease. I have been transformed by their love, concern and generous giving of time and work to me and my wife. It overwhelms me at times in a good way.

    "I have always been a strong, silent type but lately my heart is touched many times a day. Tears fill my eyes from the affection and kindness people show. I understand I matter to them and that I contributed to their lives in a positive way. It is as if I can see myself and my life from outside myself, and it looks good. I am a happy man.

    "My dear wife of 48 years shakes her head at the new me. My two daughters and son-in-law as well. I have meaningful conversations like never before. I thought this would be a worthwhile perspective for your readers. Blessings.


    Robert M.

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  2. One Man’s Emergence from Grief and Heartbreak

    One Man’s Emergence from Grief and Heartbreak

    We got this really beautiful note last week from a man who'd suffered the terrible loss of his soul-mate and life partner to complications from Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It's a wonderfully honest and eloquent description of a person's journey through grief and heartbreak to healing and growth - and very inspiring. Here it is:

    "This isn't a question - it's a great big Thank You Note!

    "My soul-mate and life partner, died in May of this year due to complications from chemo and radiation treatments for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (actual cause of death was end-stage lung disease - not a nice condition).

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  3. Guided Imagery Proves a Big Help with Grief

    This note was handed to BR by a participant at a workshop:

    Eight years ago I lost my son, Brian, when he was 23 years old.  Some time afterwards, I found your Grief imagery.  I listened to it many times over, and it was a lifeline.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    My experience with the imagery not only helped me with my loss, but inspired me to change careers.  I am now a hypnotherapist. Thank you again!

    I am also a hospice volunteer and a monitor on an online grief support group.  I recommend imagery to all.  

    J. C.

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  4. Hospice Imagery Helps Mom with Son’s Suicide

    We thought this was a wonderfully creative use of our guided imagery for Hospice and Palliative Care, which guides the listener through the process of taking care of unfinished business, leaving loved ones and life as we know it.  

    Check out what this therapist did in working with a mother suffering from traumatic grief of 2 years duration, in the wake of her son’s suicide.

    Hi Belleruth,

    We met in December when I took your workshop at the last NICABM conference in Hilton Head.

    I just wanted to let you know that your Hospice CD, was very helpful with a client of mine who has been grieving her beloved son's suicide for over 2 years.

    I asked her to listen to the guided meditation as his proxy, imagining him being able to go through the journey on it.  She was transformed after doing so.

    Your work touches many lives! Thanks for all you do.


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  5. What CDs Reduce Hospice Fear?


    Dear Belleruth,

    I have a friend in hospice care (heart probs) - sadly young at 59 who has decided not to opt for a heart transplant but is still not ready to let go.  Is there a CD you could recommend to help him relax and fear less?  I think the hospice one is too final... he's not there yet... but he will benefit from that one eventually. Right now he has trouble falling asleep b/c he's afraid he won't wake up - something for general relaxation?

    - Virginia.


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  6. Patricia Neal: One Swell Dame

    Patricia Neal - photo by David ShankbonePatricia Neal died last week. She summered on the Vineyard for as long as I can remember, a beloved, friendly, down-to-earth woman who contributed to the life and welfare of this island on a regular basis. Just this past Monday, she allowed her excellent company at dinner to be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the island’s Impossible Dreams fundraiser. I have a set of her candlesticks from the house-and-chachke sale she hosted at her home for Vineyard House, a halfway residence for people in recovery. She knew that people would spring for a traipse through her house, and she gladly offered it.

    I love what her kids said her last words to them were.

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  7. Guided Imagery Helps Cancer Patients Breathe Easier (Literally)

    Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing used a one-group, repeated measures design to investigate the efficacy of guided imagery (GI) with theta music (M) on 53 advanced cancer patients suffering from dyspnea (difficulty breathing).
    The intervention consisted of four periods: (a) pretest; (b) intervention with peaceful non-M; (c) intervention with 10 min of GI with M (GI/M), with the first and last 3 min being M only (i.e., the middle 4 min was GI/M); and (d) posttest.

    Dyspnea outcomes were measured with the Modified Borg Scale (MBS) for self-reported evaluation of dyspneic symptoms.

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  8. Massage Therapy & Imagery Improve Quality of Life at End of Life (Doh)

    Researchers from the University of Washington’s, School of Public Health and Community Medicine reviewed the literature for evidence that massage therapy and mind-body therapies improve quality of life for seriously ill patients at the end of life.  

    A systematic review of randomized, controlled trials of massage and mind-body therapies yielded 27 clinical trials testing massage or mind-body interventions. Of these, 26 showed significant improvements in symptoms such as anxiety, emotional distress, comfort, nausea and pain. However, results were often inconsistent across studies, and there were variations in methodology, so it was difficult to judge the clinical significance of the results.

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