A Caregiver's Battle With Peritoneal Cancer
Kathleen had been a caregiver for 35 years before her peritoneal cancer diagnosis forced her to retire. At 16, her daughter, Cheyenne, stepped into the caregiver role.
“I’m very proud to make the Diplomat Difference.”
— Cheyenne, Diplomat Employee & Caregiver
But when Kathleen was diagnosed with neuropathy in 2009, Cheyenne knew her mom would have to make some career changes.
“The pins and needles and numbness in her hands made it very difficult for her to safely handle patients and get them up and out of bed,” Cheyenne said. Kathleen’s condition required her to move to an administrative position at the hospital. “Moving to a desk job devastated [my mom],” Cheyenne said. “She wanted to be around patients, not bound to a desk.” While she was still coping with the loss of her nursing position, Kathleen’s world changed again when she learned she had cancer.
Breaking the News
“My mom started losing weight,” Cheyenne explained. “She had been feeling nauseous for a while, and it was hard to get out of bed.” They went to several physicians before Kathleen had an MRI scan that showed several masses. “The doctors told us not to worry, that there was a good chance the masses they had found were benign,” Cheyenne said. But a follow-up appointment confirmed their worst fear.
“I was only 16 at the time, and I remember my mom’s doctor telling her, ‘You might want to ask your daughter to leave the room.’ My mom told me I could stay and that’s when the doctor told my mom she had stage two peritoneal cancer.”
“A lot of questions went through my head then,” Cheyenne said. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my God, my mom has cancer. Is she going to die?’”
After 35 years as a nurse, Kathleen’s cancer diagnosis led to her retirement. But her oncology treatment was expensive, and Cheyenne, still in high school, was worried about how she and her mom would pay for it. “After my mom’s cancer diagnosis, it was like our roles were reversed,” Cheyenne remembered. “I had to take care of her. My mom got very depressed; she wouldn’t eat or take her medicine.”
Cheyenne scheduled all her mom’s appointments, cooked meals, and tried to make sure she took her medicine. “I was afraid to go to school because I was so worried that my mom wouldn’t be there if I left the house. I felt very alone.”
Finding Support With Diplomat
When Cheyenne and her mom met with an oncologist, he recommended filling prescriptions with Diplomat.
“From the first phone call, we knew we had found more than a place that would fill my mom’s medication,” Cheyenne said. “Diplomat handled everything with her doctors and insurance company and even reached out to manufacturers to get her copay cards and make her treatment more affordable. They’ve definitely helped lift some of the burden from me as a caregiver.”
About two months after Kathleen began filling prescriptions through Diplomat, Cheyenne mentioned that her mom was having difficulty opening her medication bottles. “The Diplomat representative asked if I wanted the medication packaged differently. It was absolutely amazing to me that [Diplomat] would go through the trouble of packaging her pills differently just to help her become more independent.”
Being a Part of the Diplomat Difference
Diplomat’s role in Kathleen’s care had a tremendous impact on Cheyenne. “The difference [Diplomat] made in my mom’s life inspired me to join the company so I can make that difference for someone else.”
Cheyenne joined Diplomat as a member of the contact center in May 2019. “Every day, someone at work asks me how my mom is doing and it really hits home how much of a family Diplomat is,” Cheyenne said. “ I’m very proud to make the Diplomat Difference.”
Kathleen has been filling her medication with Diplomat for seven years now. “My mom always enjoys calling in to refill her medication,” said Cheyenne. “She knows that she’ll be connected to someone who truly cares about her and her recovery.”