Age: 52

Issue: Was grieving after recently losing her husband to a stroke and treating her own cancer

Chronic Illness: Diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago. Now recovering

Result: “I feel joyful and am able to laugh heartily again.  I think about the future and all the things I will do with my family.”

Althea is a 52 years old mother and grandmother. She recently lost her husband to a stroke and was herself diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago. She has recovered from the surgery and treatments. She heard about the HealthyLifetime program from her women’s Church group. While Althea feels healthy now, this was the first time she faced a serious illness of her own – and the worry about reoccurrence of her cancer and the grief of her husband’s loss has her feeling vulnerable.

Althea has good support from her adult children and her Church – but she wanted more focused help to ‘feel herself again’ and figure out how to stay stronger for the future. She very much wants to have many more years to come to enjoy her grandchildren and family. While not at all wealthy, Althea felt that an investment in this future was a good one.

First Visits

After her first two virtual visits with the Nurse Coach where they discussed her survey results, her goals and concerns, Althea realized that the months of managing her ill husband before he passed and her own cancer treatments left her with constant fatigue which seemed to define her life right now – thinking about what she didn’t feel like doing rather than what might be possible for her to do.

Althea and her Health Coach talked about the ‘yes buts’ and got to the ‘what ifs’ in planning her day a little differently. Althea found herself laughing out loud for the first time in a good long time as she ‘heard’ herself talk this through and made some humorous reflections. She and her Nurse Coach talked about activities increasing slowly, wearing her favorite and comfortable clothes, and resting in the beautiful spot on her porch in the afternoon with a favorite cup of South African tea to relax after her morning activity. Althea found her morning activity tolerance increased quite a bit over the course of 3-4 weeks. Her afternoon rest was later each day.

Discovering New Habits

Althea and her Nurse Coach worked on several other things including what she was eating. She had lost much interest in food with her cancer treatments and the Nurse Health Coach helped her find foods that were tasty again. She learned a new pattern of eating that was more comfortable given her activities now – and she regularly scheduled visits with her Church group friends and time with her grandchildren. After about five sessions, Althea found her tiredness only appeared in the evenings now – and she was sleeping much better and more soundly.

Althea says the program helped her find her strength and hope again. She feels joyful, is able to laugh heartily again which her friends comment on, and she thinks about the future and all the things she will do with her family. She also notes all the improvements in her health – she doesn’t get so tired at all anymore, she eats and sleeps better, and is strong enough to live the way she wants to. But she says, “I took my health for granted before I got cancer, but now I realize that health is what you need to do all the things you want in life.”