So I dove into my role as peer mentor for stomach cancer. Survivors were few, and no other volunteers of the sort were on staff. As soon as a patient or caregiver requested assistance, details known about the patient’s diagnosis were provided. At the time the patient or family requests our support, it is already urgent, so it was up to me to contact them immediately and regularly.
In every one of my cases, the relationship was positive. Since the patient or caregiver approached Hope & Cope for help, we never imposed our services. The foundation also offers wellness classes, events, and a place like home for patients to relax in a stress-and-hospital-free environment. A home next to the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal was acquired and renovated, providing a convenient location to accommodate various free classes and activities. All of its services are also available to patients who are treated at other hospitals.
Early on, there was a patient who had expressed to me that she would refuse treatment, and after one month and a half of conversations, I could no longer reach her. Through Hope & Cope, I was able to reach her in hospital. Following only a couple of brief exchanges, the patient died days later.
Another gentleman, who I was in contact with for over three and a half years, looked forward to our phone calls, but after a second death sentence, felt I could no longer help him. He felt I didn’t understand how it was to receive such news a second time. Respectfully, I gave him his space, but after a few days, he contacted Hope & Cope so that I would communicate with him again. Unfortunately, he too passed sometime after.
I mentored a lovely woman who I spoke to for just over a year, and when she was in palliative care, she really wanted to meet me. I did visit her at the hospital, and then again at her funeral with her family.
Thank you all for being supportive in my journey. I wish you great health and happiness.
Note that I will not be posting next Tuesday, but hope you’ll return on March 13 for more excerpts from my memoir.