Nurse Practitioner Angela Sousa, MSN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, demonstrates the profound difference that one person can have in the life of a cancer patient. Her compassionate understanding has helped her patient, Patricia Alario, face a difficult journey with comfort and dignity.
In 2013, Patricia was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare cancer of the bile duct. She has been receiving treatment at the Mass General Cancer Center since her diagnosis. During this time, her daughter became engaged, and Patricia asked her care team about the timing of the wedding. When it was decided that the wedding should be scheduled soon, Patricia was distraught, and was referred to Angela Sousa in the Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic. Patricia remembers their first meeting. “Angela said, ‘So, I hear you have a wedding,’ and I began to sob uncontrollably. Something I had never done. By the end of the visit I was a new person.”
Angela adjusted some medication, talked with Patricia, and had a calming, positive effect on her. Her exceptional care did not stop there. If Patricia ended up in the emergency department, Angela was there to meet her. Today, with the help of her liver team, Patricia is doing very well. But she understands that her diagnosis is incurable, and credits Angela for helping her to accept this realization and come to terms with it.
Married with three children, Patricia is grateful for the support that Angela has given to her family and friends as well. And she believes that anyone lucky enough to have Angela at their side is in wonderful hands. “She always has a smile and such a comforting effect on me, and I am sure it’s the same way with her other patients.”