Amy Culley has worked as a nurse here at Baylor Scott & White Health for more than 10 years. More than two years ago, she received the worst news of her life. At age 38, she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Since that time, she has become a passionate advocate for supportive and palliative care and encouraged us to help her spread the word about how life-changing these services are for people like her with life-limiting or chronic illnesses.
Amy has given us a wonderfully selfless gift: to share this video of her journey and how supportive and palliative care has improved her quality of life for the days she has remaining. As Amy says:
“At some point, they may help me manage my end of life issues, but right now, they’re helping me manage my life.”
Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day dedicated to spreading awareness about planning for end of life–at any age or stage. Although Amy is not at this stage in her care yet, her story is a great example that serious illness can affect anyone at any age.
Someday, almost all of us will become seriously ill. And 80 percent of persons with serious illness–or those who experience a traumatic accident–at some point may lose the ability to communicate and make their treatment preferences known. For families who must make tough medical decisions for their loved ones without the guidance of a living will, these can be some of the most difficult burdens they have ever had to bear. Would your loved ones or doctors know your Plan B? A living will helps you tell others how you wish to be treated if in the future you are so sick that you can no longer communicate.
Help your family and help yourself by thinking about your advance care plan and then documenting your desires with a living will or other advance directive. Free resources are available to help you make a living will or other advance directive.
On our website, you can learn more about the supportive and palliative care program at Baylor Scott & White Health.