To family and friends, Denise Baffoe Murray was known for being the glue that held everyone together. She could light up a room the minute she walked in. Happily married with children and grandchildren, things were wonderful for Denise. Three years ago, the Murray family’s world was turned upside down with an unexpected twist of fate.
In 2013, Denise sought treatment at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) to aid her in her battle with bladder cancer. Members of her care team at LCMH included: urologist Frederick Wohlberg, M.D., oncologist Jayanthi Ramadurai, M.D. and surgeon Gerald Cahill, M.D. After undergoing a vigorous treatment plan, she was confirmed to be cancer-free. However, one year later, in the fall of 2014, the cancer had returned – this time, with no response to treatment.
“Throughout her journey, my mom would always tell me that she believed God takes you at your very special moment and that she was at peace with God’s will,” said Brydie O’Keefe, daughter of Denise. “I never quite understood this, until I came to the realization that this was my mom’s moment.”
On March 23, 2015, Denise had been experiencing severe pain. With heightened concern, Brydie made the difficult decision to pick up the phone and call Carol Tassone, RN, BSN, CHPN. Nurse Manager for Hospice at LCMH.
“Carol remained on the phone with me for two hours as I made what was the hardest phone call of my life. She was patient, reassuring and truly a Godsend,” said Brydie. “Carol helped me realize that this didn’t mean my mom was giving up on her battle, but that it was simply time for her to hang up her superwoman cape.”
On March 24, 2015, Denise began in-home LCMH Hospice care. For both Brydie and Denise, that initial trip home from Little Company of Mary Hospital was a difficult one.
“Little Company of Mary became our second home,” said Brydie. “Everyone we encountered there was so kind and comforting throughout my mom’s journey – it was hard to leave the Hospital that day knowing we would not return there for further treatments.”
However, once at home, there was an immediate sense of comfort.
“My mom was an artist, so we placed her artwork all around the house,” said Brydie. “My mom’s birthday was on March 29th, so we were able to celebrate her final birthdayon Earth in a way she loved. LCMH Hospice allowed that for both my mom and our family.”
The LCMH Hospice Team is available 24/7 to patients and their families and is comprised of physicians, registered nurses, chaplains, licensed medical social workers, home health aides, volunteers, home medical equipment technicians, pharmacists, dieticians, and rehabilitation therapists. The Hospice Program continues their mission with the holistic care-giving goals that focus on a patient’s comfort, as well as the personal and emotional needs of their families during that sensitive time.
Denise Baffoe Murray’s battle ended on April 14, 2015, while surrounded by family in her home. During this most difficult time, LCMH Hospice was able to provide personalized care in a comforting, loving environment for Denise and the Murray family.
“The LCMH Hospice Team truly cared for my mom in a way I thought only my own family could. It was during this time I realized that, to them, this wasn’t just a job,” said Brydie. “The people on the LCMH Hospice team truly are living angels – And for that, I will be forever grateful.”
About one month later, on the day of Little Company of Mary’s annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk on Mother’s Day, Brydie found out she was pregnant with baby number three. Born on January 7, 2016, Charlie Bear O’Keefe came into Brydie’s life reminding her that life does go on. “Charlie really brought the entire journey with my mom full circle, and he is my constant reminder that she is here watching over us each and every day,” said Brydie.
About Little Company of Mary Hospice:
The Hospice Program at LCMH mirrors a tradition that started in the late 1800’s when Venerable Mary Potter founded the Sisters of Little Company of Mary, offering personal care to the sick and dying. Little Company of Mary Home Based Services is proud to continue this legacy of care through home care and hospice. Hospice neither prolongs nor hastens death – It promotes quality of life through compassion and dignity, while recognizing each patient’s and family’s unique needs. Little Company of Mary’s dedicated Hospice Team is specially trained in this concept of holistic care. In 2010, the Sister Nancy Boyle Award for Excellence was presented to Little Company of Mary’s Hospice Program for their exemplary dedication to providing compassionate care to patients and their families, during a life-limiting illness. To learn more, or to speak with someone from LCMH Hospice, call 708.229.HOME (4663).