Erlanger offering palliative care to patients to keep hope alive during treatment
April Lewis loves the children's classic "Alice in Wonderland." It's pretty clear by her tattoos.
April Lewis says, "It's the whole idea you can get away from reality and make your own world."
April needed to do just that after she discovered a lump during a self breast exam in June of 2018. She immediately went to the doctor.
Lewis says, "And the very next day he called me and told me it was double invasive carcinoma and it was about stage 3."
April's thoughts immediately turned to her two young daughters.
Lewis says, "I thought about my daughters. That was the first thing I thought of, worried about them."
April then turned her attention to treatment and beating this disease. She not only saw her doctors, but also a palliative care team.
Jacqui Schollenberger says, "We walk with pairing hope and worry. Certainly hope is something we want people to continue to have, but they're also worried about what they are going through and what's to come."
Jacqui Schollenberger is a palliative care social worker at Erlanger. She says palliative care takes a holistic approach to a patient's treatment and well-being.
Schollenberger says, "We're looking at the symptoms that come along with a serious illness and how to alleviate and lift the burden of it; the symptoms as well as any side effects from treatment they may be going through."
"It made it that much easier. They were very honest with me, told me everything to expect and they were spot on and it made everything go with ease," Lewis said. "So whether it be physical, the nausea or the pain or emotional, there was somebody there to help me."
April underwent 16 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation and a mastectomy.
To help her celebrate her last rounds of chemo, the staff went the extra mile, dressing up as the characters from her favorite children's classic "Alice in Wonderland."
Lewis says, "It was liberating and exciting. It was closing a chapter of this cancer book I had just opened. It was moving on to the next step."
And that's just what April is doing.
Lewis says, "I am taking everyday in as much as I can, living life to the fullest. I look at things differently now. Things that used to bother me don't bother me now."