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Ara-C Treatment From the Dorm Made all the Difference for a College Freshman With Cancer

When a teenager is preparing to go to college, the last thing they want to think about is medical concerns – but for one patient, regular chemotherapy infusions were necessary during the first semester of his freshman year to treat the acute lymphoblastic leukemia he had been diagnosed with his senior year of high school.

Coordinating care

After initially receiving an order for PHS to only provide the drug due to the location of the patient’s college campus, the infusion nursing team was soon brought into the patient’s care plan due to lack of an agency in the area who felt comfortable administering the medication in the dorm setting.

For three consecutive days, two weeks in a row, PHS infusion nurses Doreen and Sarah went to the patient’s college campus nearly an hour and a half away from the PHS Roseville office to administer the Ara-C infusion – a chemotherapy medication used to treat certain types of leukemia and lymphoma.

“There were a number of extra little nuances that we had to consider and coordinate that we don’t typically need to account for, but it was undoubtedly worth it to help this young man be able to continue fulfilling his dreams while fighting such an unexpected diagnosis,” said Sarah.

When lab work was needed on the weekends to monitor the patient during chemotherapy treatments, PHS helped arrange for the on-campus doctor to do his blood work and send it directly to his doctor for processing – again making the process as seamless as possible for everyone involved.

A long way from home

It can be hard enough for a parent to prepare for their child to go to college – but in this situation, they were also trusting and empowering their son to live independently while receiving medication that would save his life. PHS didn’t take this trust in providing care to their son lightly.

“With this patient, we were the nurse and caregiver all in one – making sure he was taking care of himself and maintaining his weight,” remembered Doreen. “Since he was not only managing the symptoms of this medication but also adapting to independent life in the dorm (with his parents over an hour away), we were always looking out for his overall wellbeing.”

Today, the patient is no longer on service with PHS as he continues his journey – an outcome we love to see for all of our patients as we help them receive the care they need so they can continue to live a normal life, pursuing their goals and dreams.


Originally published: May 9, 2019

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