If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
Positivity is a strange thing. It’s easy to say, but hard to maintain. Just ask Ronda and her mother, Carrol. On three different occasions, Ronda Nerswick was told she wasn’t going to make it through the week. Yet, a year later, Ronda’s condition is improving. With the help of her Arbor Hospice team, Ronda and her mother are staying positive and taking life a day at a time, even when odds are stacked against them.
In 2011, Ronda was diagnosed with reticulosarcoma, cancer of the bone marrow. She quickly began chemotherapy, with the hope of warding off the aggressive cancer. But Ronda experienced additional set-backs. She developed a blood clot in her leg, required surgery to stop bleeding in her brain and learned the cancer spread to her spinal fluid. After beginning the most aggressive type of chemotherapy, involving five days of treatment 24 hours a day, Ronda was rushed to the hospital for another surgery in which doctors said she had a 15 percent chance of making it through. Still, Ronda chose the surgery.
After surviving the surgery, Ronda decided to receive the compassionate care she needed from Arbor Hospice. Bed-ridden and in need of symptom management, Ronda moved into The Residence of Arbor Hospice, and she and her mother quickly learned what Arbor Hospice had to offer. It wasn’t about how Ronda wanted to die, but how she wanted to live. Arbor Hospice focused on how Ronda and her family wanted to live each day, and when Ronda wanted to go home, we made it happen, just in time for Christmas.
“Arbor Hospice took care of everything,” Carrol said. “They arranged for a hospital bed and other equipment to be delivered, and the nurse met us at home when we arrived. You don’t have enough paper for me to explain how much we appreciate the Arbor Hospice team. The nurse, aide, volunteers, massage therapist, are all just so wonderful. They have done so much to keep us positive and Ronda comfortable.”
Under Arbor Hospice’s care, Ronda’s surgery wounds healed; she was comfortable and pain free. The hospice aide played an essential role in bathing Ronda and teaching her mother how to properly move and care for her daughter. In fact, it was the Arbor Hospice team that showed Ronda how to build strength in her legs after being bed-ridden for over a year.
“Sometimes all you can do is stay positive and that’s what we’re doing,” Carrol said. “Ronda wants to walk again, so that’s what we’re working towards. We’re taking it a day at a time, finding something to laugh about, something to be positive about.”
Ronda and Carrol have much to be positive about these days. In August 2012, Ronda signed off of Arbor Hospice’s care and enrolled in rehabilitation. After following proper muscle building strategies, Ronda is up and out of bed, on her own. And she’s walking again.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Arbor Hospice,” Ronda said. “When I came to Arbor Hospice, my pain and symptoms were out of control. The Arbor Hospice team made me comfortable and helped me take control of my life, and I am so thankful for that. And I know when I need them again, Arbor Hospice will let me live out my life the way I want to.”
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