Betty Blaufuss had successfully beaten lung cancer with a CyberKnife treatment before – but three years later, when doctors found cancer in her other lung, they said the next step would be a challenging round of chemotherapy.
“I had said all along I didn’t want to do chemo,” Betty says. “On the drive home from the doctor, I asked my daughter if I was selfish to refuse treatment. She, and my two other children, said it was up to me.”
Betty decided to forgo chemotherapy. Instead, her doctor contacted Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice.
“I asked them, ‘How long can I last on hospice?’ They answered, ‘As long as it takes,’” Betty says. While she uses Inogen oxygen around the clock to cope with COPD and emphysema, the Samaritan care team helps Betty, who is widowed and lives alone, deal with pain and other needs. Lisa Paxia, RN, monitors Betty’s vitals, and social worker Eriko Oba-Daniele, MSW, talks with Betty about any concerns, and helped her set up a family care directive.
Thanks to Samaritan, Betty is able to stay at her home which also houses her extensive Campbell’s collection. To the delight of the Samaritan staff who have seen it, Betty’s assembly of collectibles from Campbell Soup Company takes up an entire room in her house, featuring everything from salt and pepper shakers and mugs to throw rugs and lamps. Betty, whose maiden name was Campbell, started the collection in 1974, and it’s grown to hundreds of items over the years. “Growing up, it was me and my two brothers,” she remembers. “I thought the Campbell’s Soup Kids were us – we were the Campbells, after all!”
With the aid of Samaritan, Betty lives comfortably at home. Before the restrictions of COVID-19, she was able to host her children and grandchildren for dinner and visits. While those visits are temporarily paused, she can still comfortably complete her sewing and needlework, puzzles and of course, organize her Campbell’s collection.
And while not every day is easy, Betty says she is grateful for what she is still able to do. “I have good days and bad days like everyone else. Some days, getting up and getting dressed can be exhausting. Some days, taking a shower, I have to talk myself into it,” she laughs. “But I’m an optimist. I make lists – I always do better when I feel I have purpose. The lists might have flexible deadlines, but I still try to follow them!
“Samaritan has been awesome,” she adds. “I’m truly blessed to have them.”