Saving a life is sometimes simple

The Amazing Difference


Lisa had been battling Acute Adult Myeloid Leukemia for some time. Eight months prior to her first contact with Amaze, she underwent a bone marrow transplant. While the transplant was deemed to be successful, Lisa’s extreme inability to swallow pills had been a major obstacle to recovery. She needed to be taking more than 40 pills a day and just could not do it. It was more than just a gag reflex—Lisa suffered from a severe phobia when it came to swallowing pills and unfortunately, the medications she desperately needed are not available in liquid form.  While in the hospital, medications were fed to her through a feeding tube. Outside the hospital, she simply could not get them down. She’s been readmitted to the hospital several times and recently decided to move to hospice care. As crazy as it sounds, without the medications, Lisa was facing her final days. With the medication, she has a good chance of recovery.

While calling Amaze might not be someone’s first instinct when they are already under the care of medical professionals, Lisa was feeling desperate. No one was listening to her. It was like everyone was a robot, telling her that she just had to swallow the pills. So, she called to talk to a member of Amaze’s Medical Team.

Knowing that Lisa’s life was literally on the line, Amaze listened intently, asking about everything that had been tried. Finally, the Amaze team realized that the one thing that hadn’t been tried was Valium. Amaze talked to Lisa about asking her doctor to give her some Valium before asking her to swallow the pills. Valium not only relaxed Lisa, but also relaxed the muscles in her throat, relieving the gag reflex.  And low-and-behold, it worked like a charm

Lisa needs to be on her medications for four or five months. Already, the dose of Valium has been reduced to find the minimum level necessary for Lisa to get her meds down.

Sometimes what a patient most needs is someone to listen, someone to think, and someone to be their partner in solving problems. For one reason or another, Lisa was not getting that partnership from her medical providers. Sometimes it takes a team. Sometimes it takes someone with a fresh perspective. That’s Amaze’s role—to be your partner—one that’s completely independent and with nothing but your best interests in mind.

Now that Lisa is taking her pills, we’ll be monitoring her progress closely while hoping for a speedy recovery.

Story Update

The message back from the patient’s physician at the Colorado Cancer Blood Institute, Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center several weeks later was that they had dialed in the Valium to the minimum necessary dose and that the patient was not only out of hospice but should thrive. According to the doctor the rate at which the patient’s body was deteriorating, she would not have survived more than a few more days. She is not tired or weak anymore and she is sleeping at night. She is already down to 35 pills per day due to her rapid improvement. They expect that in three-to-five months, she’ll be taking only five pills per day.

That’s the promise of Amaze: Better care, lower costs, without limits on choice.

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