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Through Life’s Challenging Seasons, We’re Here to Help.

The Patient that Taught Me to See

Being new to Four Seasons at the time, I was constantly in awe of every opportunity I was given to visit with our patients. This particular patient and visit were ones that changed my perception and opened my eyes. This patient was a well-traveled lady and retired having crossed off many buckets on her professional and personal list in life. In more recent years she had been diagnosed with cancer and had been experiencing grave amounts of pain. That was about the time she decided to participate in one of our pain studies to try to alleviate her symptoms and find her “new normal.”

It was right before a holiday when I was out visiting with her and I still remember clearly sitting at her kitchen table and the conversations we had that morning. The saddened look on her face as she explained that she loved her family, but she would rather not spend the holiday with them was heartbreaking. She went on and said because they no longer laughed and had real conversations with her as before, she had decided to stay home, alone, this year. The family’s conversations had become focused on her disease and their pitied looks made her uncomfortable. She explained to me further that she intended to volunteer for the holiday with strangers that didn’t know her issues, that didn’t know she was sick, so that she could just be her and not some awful disease.

That is when I realized that when life becomes defined by an illness, we slowly lose ourselves to the battle and that was something this patient was not going to accept. She said to me that morning, “I’m still alive and I still have something to offer and that’s why I chose to do this study for Four Seasons.” Her words impacted me, my life, and my career and to this day every time I go out to see a patient, I always make sure to have conversations around them. I ask them questions about their lives and who they are. It is through those conversations, that journey I have learned some fascinating things about people we have the honor of serving and working alongside in Clinical Research. Looking back, years later, I am forever grateful to this fine lady for helping me open my eyes and truly “see.”

– Contributed by a Four Seasons Staff Member