Survivorship

Richard Van Hollebeke

Dick had struggled with many issues as a result of his cancer treatment. He didn't feel comfortable going back to his oncologist after so many years, yet he wasn't sure if his primary care doctor would be familiar with his cancer related problems.

The issue Dick had struggled with the most was digestive dysfunction. These disturbances had affected his ability to work, his relationship with his wife, and his overall quality of life. "For many years my biggest concern, no matter what the occasion, was finding a bathroom in an emergency. I had come to believe that this condition would exist for the rest of my life," Dick said. "Now please don't let that suggest that I live a sedentary lifestyle; quite the opposite. At age 67 I'm still working, I swim several times a week, ride my bike, sing and am active in my community."

As part of his visit to the survivorship clinic, he was given education about his cancer treatment and its late effects. Dick was also connected to resources in the community, including several specialists. The referral to a nutritionist proved to make quite a difference in his life.

After some dietary changes, his symptoms are nearly gone; he is able to work more effectively and enjoy activities that he had given up on. Dick and his wife, Monda, are thrilled with the improvement in their quality of life. "I now know that I do have control over my digestive system," he said. "I was amazed to find that, by watching what I eat, I am able to regain much of what I thought was lost forever. I still have more to learn but things are much better now."

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