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Hospice Helps Family

Gary Cybulski planned to retire and start his own carpentry business, but he never got the chance. The 52-year-old was diagnosed with glioblastoma cancer last October. The diagnosis is a grim one, since patients are seldom given much more than a year to live.

But Gary’s death was far too imminent, says one of his sons, Jamie Cybulski, 23.

“Disbelief”, says Jamie of his reaction to learning his dad had an inoperable brain tumour. “There had been no cancer in our family that we can remember. You’re just numb, you can’t believe it, but you believed he’d fight with every ounce in his body.”

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments took place in October and November at the Ottawa General Hospital as his dad started to lose weight rapidly.

He was then moved to Renfrew Victoria Hospital before it was suggested he be transferred to Hospice Renfrew Palliative Care, where he was admitted in late December.

“At that point I was very skeptical,” admits Jamie. “At that point we were relying on hope…but we heard enough stories, that the whole atmosphere at the Hospice was good”.

Restless in the hospital, at Hospice he seemed more content. “He just completely calmed down within 24 hours”, recalls Jamie, who attributes the change to the quieter atmosphere, but particularly to the presence of personal support worker Emily Hass, who sat through the first night beside the anxious new resident.

On Jan.5, 2011 Gary died. “They took care of him, but us too” says Jamie of the Hospice staff. “Just the little things, like having coffee on and little treats. It definitely made an awful situation a little less terrible.”

As quoted in the November 2011 Hospice Renfrew Newsletter

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