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Quality of Life Support

Palliative care is making all the difference

Laguna Hills resident Kellie Buckley was in her early 30s and had recently given birth to her fourth child when she enrolled in nursing school. Today, a decade later, Kellie serves as an oncology nurse at another one of our sister ministries where she was born.

“I’ve been part of the Providence family since day one, and I love it,” smiles Kellie.

Kellie and Travis, her husband of 25 years, are happily busy with their kids — two in college, one in high school and one in elementary school — and a menagerie of family pets.

“I’m not a weird cat lady,” she laughs, “but we have dogs, cats, ducks, tortoises and parrots. We’ve got it all!”

Spreading the word

At the height of the pandemic in 2021, Kellie woke up with the worst headache of her life. Travis rushed her to Providence Mission Hospital, where she was admitted to the neuro ICU with an extremely swollen brain. A subsequent biopsy revealed malignant astrocytoma,  a brain tumor.

The diagnosis was the beginning of an ongoing health journey in which palliative care has played a crucial role. “It was terrifying,” she remembers. “Palliative care has made all the difference for not only me but for my family.”

Led with the compassionate guidance of Vrinda Bhasin, M.D., and Kristine Kowalski, clinical nurse specialist and palliative care coordinator, the Walter A. Craig Center for Palliative Care at Providence Mission Hospital has stood by Kellie to help alleviate her pain and enhance her quality of life as she continues with her treatment. Dr. Bhasin even helped Kellie plan her bucket-list family vacation to Disneyland — helping her arrange a doable schedule and connecting her to resources.

“As a nurse, I knew about palliative care, but many who need it don’t know it’s available. I want to change that,” says Kellie. From specialized nutrition to stress management, palliative care focuses on easing the patient’s way through the healing journey.

Thanks to the Walter A. Craig Center for Palliative Care, patients like Kellie can continue to embrace their healing journey. “I remember my first day. I immediately felt heard and stronger because of the most loving and helpful group of caregivers you can imagine. I walked out of there with the sense that, with this extra layer of love and support, my family and I would be okay.”

To learn more about the life-affirming work of our palliative care team, please contact the Foundation at 949-365-2469 or email Stephanie.LondonKrogius@providence.org.

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Call: (949) 364-7783
Address: 27700 Medical Center Road, Medical Office Building 3, Suite 364,
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Email: missionfoundation@providence.org

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