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In-Home Care for Breast Cancer Patients

Feb 19, 2014 | Posted by BCS

Venigna Villegas, 43, is like many women: she’s used to giving help, not receiving it. A single mother on a single secretarial income living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two daughters in California, she’s focused on their needs.

So when she was diagnosed in January with breast cancer, she was worried – about them. “I didn’t want to be a burden,” she says, knowing that lumpectomy surgery and lymph node removal would limit the use of her arms and her ability to get to work. She also hadn’t bargained for the additional news after her first surgery just weeks ago: a pathology report revealing a second tumor, and a second, immediate surgery.

“I knew I had to get better, and in order for me to get better soon, I knew I needed to get help.” A simple Internet search led her to the Breast Cancer Society, she says. “I had no idea anything like the In-Home Care program was out there.”

The Breast Cancer Society’s in-home care for breast cancer patients is designed to alleviate stress and also focuses on physical and emotional needs during treatment or after surgery. Some of the short-term, non-medical ways the program can assist:

  • Meal preparation
  • Medication pick-up and delivery
  • Medical appointment transport
  • Bathing assistance
  • Grooming assistance
  • Bedding changes

It wasn’t easy, says Villegas, a private and independent woman, getting used to the idea of having strangers in her house, doing things she’d normally take care of herself. “But I’m so glad I did it. It gave me a sense of peace. I didn’t get so frustrated that I had to depend on others. Because the workers, they were here for me. I was number one for them.”

Villegas says her in-home providers, Meredith and Kathy, were indispensible while she was sick and sore and unable to move. They helped with meal preparation, laundry and light cleaning, and also assisted with trips to the pharmacy the first few weeks. “Having In-Home Care here for me, it was a big blessing.”

Moreover Villegas says she couldn’t be happier with the response of the organization overall. “Christine at the Breast Cancer Society has been wonderful. Though it wasn’t part of the In-Home Care program, when she learned I had no bed and was sleeping on the floor, Christine researched and had one delivered to me within days.”

The biggest lesson Villegas says she learned? “In the middle of this battle, I have seen how people are willing to help, and it’s very touching. And mostly, I learned that I can accept help.”

Read more in our In-Home Care brochure.



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