By: Option Care
May 30, 2019

After overcoming ovarian cancer in 1995, retired nurse Lydia Zwilling found herself facing an arduous battle to reclaim her health. Nearly a quarter million women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year and for most, treatment goes according to plan. Unfortunately, some like Lydia, experience complications that last a lifetime.

While radiation therapy may have saved Lydia’s life, it also burned her small intestine and contributed to complications that ultimately caused her kidneys to fail. She had to be put on dialysis for two years before she was able to receive a kidney transplant in 2006.

Doctors also had to remove the burned portion of her small intestine, leaving her with just three functioning feet of her bowel. Diagnosed with short bowel syndrome (SBS), Lydia started to experience dramatic weight loss because her body could no longer absorb adequate nutrition. At 72 pounds, she was emaciated and unable to regain any weight. She became home-bound.

“I felt deeply frustrated,” Lydia said. “After beating a life-threatening cancer, I still had no strength or energy. I decided it was time to take some action to see what could make me better.”

In 2006, Lydia was introduced to Option Care by her attending physician and put on total parenteral nutrition (TPN), which gives her the nutrition she needs through intravenous delivery.

“TPN made an immediate difference in my overall health,” Lydia said. “I finally started to feel like myself again.”

Lydia and her husband are registered nurses so they are able to handle her TPN treatments and labs from home, self-infusing five days a week for nine hours at night. Lydia works closely with her care team at Option Care to receive additional antibiotics when she needs them. They also coordinate directly with her physicians to communicate any changes in her treatment.

“After many years with Option Care as my infusion provider, I’ve developed a close relationship with my care team and we’ve gotten to know each other on a personal level,” Lydia said. “You can tell that they care about what is going on with me and not just my medical health. I have complete confidence in their abilities to provide me with the best care possible.”

As a grateful cancer survivor, Lydia is thriving thanks to TPN. She credits her involvement with Option Care as enabling her to regain a near normal life. She is now able to visit her grandchildren who live six and a half hours away as well as escape the cold Minnesota winters for vacations in Florida and Arizona. Option Care supports Lydia by working with her to ensure she has access to necessary medications while she’s traveling.

“I can get out and get back a little bit of my life that I had before,” Lydia said. “It’s important to spend your energy on trying to get yourself better. Option Care home infusion helps me do that.”

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