Comfort, Compassion Aid Cancer Healing Process

Having cancer and receiving chemotherapy treatment is scary beyond comprehension. There are horror stories from those who have been through it and what you see on TV and movies.

That’s according to Matthew Miller, who lives with hairy cell leukemia and receives chemotherapy at the UnityPoint Health Allen Hospital – Community Cancer Center. He knows about being scared. He also knows a good attitude can help lead to good results, and it is infinitely easier to maintain a good attitude when surrounded by people who care.

Much of what happens at the Community Cancer Center comes down to medicine and science. A significant portion remains filled by “a thousand little things,” as Miller puts it. As a self-described people watcher, he described what brought him peace while receiving his infusion treatments of Cladribine and Rituxan.

“I saw the scheduler come around and deliver everyone’s schedule for their next appointment and happily answer questions anyone had.”

“I watched the nurses try to ease people’s fears and anxiety while also doing paperwork, keeping track of the status of each patient, wiping down and disinfecting the chairs, fetching pillows, blankets, a fan or anything else anyone wanted that was within their power to get.”

“My first Rituxan infusion ran late due to a possible reaction along the way. Two nurses stayed the entire time and neither seemed the least put off about needing to stay after everyone had left. They actually remained outwardly cheerful and helped me feel less guilty about keeping them after hours.”

Having a competent team of doctors and nurses makes a difference, no doubt. To feel that the staff – from the receptionist who knows patients by name to the director who stops down to chat and offer assistance – actually cares about patients as people creates a wonderful feeling.

Miller was originally diagnosed just after Thanksgiving 2013. He received treatment at two other facilities before moving to the Waterloo area in 2016. With no glaring negatives about any of his experiences on this journey, he acknowledges there is something special about Allen Hospital and his relationship with oncologist Anusha Reddy Madadi, MD and primary care physician Khushman Dodd, MD.

The Community Cancer Center recently moved all of its infusion services from Allen Hospital to its outpatient facility where convenience, comfort and warmth aid the healing process. Just ask Matthew Miller.