Mary Beth Krivanek
Founder--Advance Healthcare Planning
BA Sociology, Shorter College, MS Conflict Management, Kennesaw State University, ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education, Emory University, Certified in DISC Human Behavior and Motivators.
I had an early start on understanding the workings of health care as a child born with a disability. My mother was my first example of patient advocacy and a good one at that. I became aware while working as a chaplain at a hospital in Atlanta, that many people are unprepared for the hospital experience, and even more so, the end of life. Most of my experience is with patients in the ICU and palliative patients and my own personal experience. Unfortunately, I also had to face my own possible death when I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer nine years ago. My first thought was my four children. I was a single mom. Would I live long enough for my five year old to remember me? Would I see my children graduate high school, get married and see my grandchildren?
I know that not everyone gets the happy ending. The unknowing can be very frightening. My first appointment with the oncologist was to talk about treatment and prognosis. At this point the most important matter was the best medical care. Once that was worked out, I needed help getting through the day to day of living while possibly dying. I was blessed with a wonderful support group of family and friends. I could talk very candidly with my sister about my fears of dying, my hopes, what I wanted for my children and if I didn’t get all that I hoped for, how I wanted my death celebrated. Working in the hospital, I quickly became aware that not everyone has that support or has it close by.
That is the purpose for what I seek to provide for others. First and foremost, please don’t leave the discussions until your final days or leave it to your family to decide your care at end of life. You might not have the cognizance to make your own decisions and it is very difficult for your loved ones to do so. This can be very painful and cause great agony for the ones you love. I want to speak on this matter to as many as will listen; church groups, retirement homes, assisted living. Please contact me at email@example.com or 770.954.5554 to schedule a time.