Life Changes with One Blood Test
Three years ago, a routine blood test performed by Janice’s general practitioner led to a diagnosis of a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – a rare cancer of the GI tract.
“Life changes with one blood test,” said Janice.
Certainly, since her diagnosis, many things have changed, but Janice’s outlook stays positive. “You just have to be adaptable.”
Adapting to the Changes
Janice, born in England, just north of London, knows a thing or two about adapting. Nearly half a century ago, she moved to the United States to marry her husband, Tom. It took time for Janice to adjust to the move to the states, “I was homesick for some time,” she recalled, but eventually, she adapted. “Now I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” Janice added, with a delicate British lilt still laced through her speech.
A few years ago, the couple moved from Pennsylvania to retire in a seaside city in Delaware. Then that blood test came along.
“What I imagined life would be in retirement has changed,” Janice said. But, as is her nature, she adapted.
Whereas Janice always loved doing aerobics, now she does tai chi and yoga. She says she spent a lifetime enjoying working hard, and even did a stint at the British Embassy in Japan many years ago. Now she attends a weekly cancer support group to talk with others about coping with the disease.
Navigating the Journey
In March 2015, Janice switched to a new cancer therapy and became a US Bioservices patient. She credits US Bioservices specialty pharmacy with helping her navigate the medication change and the path her rare disease diagnosis set for her three years ago.
“They’ve been my anchor in all this because it’s been a journey,” she said of US Bioservices. “When people say that cancer is a journey, it is.”
She adds that the journey isn’t just about cancer, but “all the things that go with it,” including getting the medication you need, when you need it.
“It is a different way of life,” Janice explained. “Life changes and US Bioservices has been wonderful. They’ve called me on time. They’ve delivered on time.”
Janice also appreciates the assistance she receives from US Bioservices as a patient with a rare disease.
“One thing I’ve found with having this rare kind of cancer, when I say I have GIST to some people, they don’t even know what I’m talking about,” Janice said.
Fortunately for Janice, the telephonic nurses at US Bioservices not only know what Janice is talking about, they have compassion from years of experience working with patients with cancer and rare diseases, plus practical guidelines to share with patients from their years of working in clinical settings.
In addition to calls to set up refills, Janice receives regular calls from Maria, her personally assigned registered nurse, who checks in on Janice’s condition, and medication adherence, plus provides education on everything from medication to nutrition to side effect management. The two have established an easy rapport and Maria has been able to help Janice work through difficult side effects, including hand and foot syndrome.
Janice said she likes the instruction she’s received from Maria on how her specific drug therapy works, how to take the medication, proper handling of the drug, and how to dispose of it. “US Bioservices has always been willing to help me,” Janice said. “Maria has been wonderful.”
About US Bioservices Telephonic Nurses
US Bioservices telephonic nursing team is led by a board-certified oncology nurse supervisor with practice setting experience in direct patient care. The team of registered nurses understands the high acuity level of oncology patients and our responsibility to diligently monitor patients for issues including anemia, gastrointestinal issues, weight changes, and location and severity of pain. These trusted professionals work in partnership with healthcare providers to help patients overcome challenges and achieve the best outcomes.
The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 26,300 stomach cancer cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Of those, between 5,000 and 6,000 or around 20% are gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) cases, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.