Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cancer Treatment Gives Patient Back Her Quality of Life

After being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given 6 months to live, Gillian duPont said she realized that her doctors had stopped treating her disease. “They had given up on me,” she said.

Gillian took a turn for the worse one night and was taken by ambulance to Fauquier Hospital, where she met Dr. Syed Salman Ali, of Fauquier Health Hematology/Oncology. She found hope that morning.
“My cancer is being treated and I feel good most of the time. I adore Dr. Ali. He is enthusiastic, energetic, and very patient oriented — accessible, straightforward, and truly interested in every one of his patients. He monitors everything carefully, is positive and encouraging. We are a team. We made a deal that we’re in this together. We agree that my quality of life matters.”

As Gillian scratches the ears of a pet therapy dog visiting the Infusion Center, she talks eloquently of the free-flowing comfort of the center, the caring, sensitive nurses who have earned her trust, and fellow patients who share news and stories as they receive their chemotherapy treatments. But she knows there is serious medicine going on as well. “Once, when I had a bad reaction to some medicine, there was a complete emergency team on the spot in seconds. And Dr. Ali is almost always just a few steps away.”

In recent months, with Dr. Ali’s blessing, Gillian has traveled to England on the cruise ship Queen Mary II and to India with her sister. “We ate fabulous dinners, walked on the beach and went dancing. One day while we were swimming in the sea, the sun was shining, the water was so blue. I looked in my sister’s eyes and recognized it as a beautiful moment. Dr. Ali gave me that, and many more as well.”

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