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Patients and Caregiver Stories

Providence St. Joseph rolls out new end-of-life initiatives

Dr. Ira Byock would make weeklong trips to his hometown in New Jersey to drive his dad to radiation therapy as he battled pancreatic cancer.

The daily 2½-hour ritual would stir up memories as Byock and his dad took the side roads through familiar neighborhoods. His father would talk about selling the family business, a small cigarette wholesale and vending business built from scratch. He shared what it was like to be dying, striking a similar tone to when he taught Byock the difference between right and wrong decades earlier.

During one appointment, Byock's dad rested his eyes as they waited in the cancer center, and said, "They give you only six months to live, and then, little by little, they take it back from you."

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