A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family
“Wake up. Kick cancer. Repeat. I’ve got this.”
That is the mantra printed on a T-shirt Daniel Alderette, 36, wears as he receives chemotherapy treatment at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. For the next six months, this will be an integral part of his routine: 28 days of chemotherapy, 28 days off.
On Jan. 5, 2018, Daniel and his wife Jessica drove to the Tacoma General Emergency Department because he had been experiencing flu-like symptoms for more than a week. Instead of the flu diagnosis they were expecting, Daniel was diagnosed with a rare sub-type of blood cancer — acute promyelocytic leukemia. His treatment began immediately with chemotherapy treatments four times a day.
A cancer diagnosis, especially one as aggressive as Daniel’s, puts mental, emotional and financial stress on patients and their families. With two young children and a reduced income because of Daniel’s rigorous treatment schedule, the Alderettes were relieved when they met oncology social worker Betsy Allen.
“Betsy took a lot of stress off us,” says Jessica. “The first day we met her, she offered us so many resources. We’ve received a lot of assistance that we would not have known about without her help.”
Social workers like Betsy help remove barriers to care. They work with families and individuals to connect them with resources, many of which are supported by donations, that can relieve the stress associated with treatment. Betsy connected the family with financial assistance to help with their rent.
Betsy also asked the Mary Bridge Child Life Services team to check in on the Alderette children: Danica, 10, and Carter, 7. Children are especially sensitive to major life changes. Child Life Services, also supported by donors, works to minimize stress and anxiety on children and families.
Child Life Specialist Kristen Bishop filled backpacks for Danica and Carter with crayons and books with age-appropriate information about their dad’s diagnosis.
“The services that they’ve given to support us both financially and for our kids allow us to focus solely on his treatment, on Daniel getting better,” Jessica explains. “We’ve got this!”
Cancer care at MultiCare
Join us September 15 at Rock the Foundation, which benefits MultiCare Regional Cancer Center.
You can also contribute to providing comfort and resources to cancer patients in your community by making a donation to Where the Need is Greatest.
About The Author
Kortney Scroger is a communication specialist for the MultiCare Foundations. She writes stories that connect readers to the impact of giving. You can reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author