“If hospice had not helped, I don’t think we would have made it.”

Marie Spoelstra, Patient

“They’re there for me, and I’m so thankful.” – Marie, hospice patient

In 1989, Marie Spoelstra’s husband, Frank, found out he had bone cancer. After 43 years of marriage, Marie and her three children only had six short weeks with him before he passed away. Hospice of Barry Community came to help Marie care for Frank during those final weeks. Marie recalls the journey before Frank died in her arms. He would say, ‘help me, help me,’ and I said back to him, “I’ll go with you as far as I can go.”

26 years later, Marie was diagnosed with cancer – stage-four liver cancer. She had been remarried to Ted in 1992, who was a tremendous support during Marie’s diagnosis. After careful consideration and discussion with her husband and children, she decided not to receive treatment. No stranger to hospice care, Marie again welcomed the care of Bronson at Home Hospice of Barry Community. Remembering her husband’s situation, Marie says, “If hospice had not helped, I don’t think we would have made it.”

In April of 2015, Marie was given only four to five months to live. Now, more than a year later, she says she is still laughing and the hospice nurses laugh with her. “They’re there for me, and I’m so thankful. I feel I can call them anytime, and they’d be right there.”

Tracy Rine-Cole, one of Marie’s hospice nurses, visits on a weekly basis. “Studies have shown that patients live longer and have better quality of life with hospice than without. Marie is great example as she has far surpassed the length of time she was given to live. Bronson at Home helps her with symptom and pain management, support with end-of-life planning and personal care needs such as showering. This kind of support gives Marie more energy to do the things she wants to do with her life, which is the goal for most everybody – to live the most we can with the time we have left. It’s an honor to be able to help Marie do that.”

Marie has eight grandchildren, over 20 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren. She is so thankful to be a grandmother. She is grateful for beating the odds and having extra time to spend with her family. Bronson at Home has helped her continue her life in the comfort of her own home. “I’ve had quite a life. God is good; he’ll take me through this.”

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