Ted Belaska

Ted talks about how his Home-based Palliative Care team is helping him with side effects of his cancer and cancer treatment and also helping him visit his family in Detroit.

My name is Ted Balaska. I used to be in construction. I was a carpenter, a journeyman carpenter. Building custom homes up there in Serrano and El Dorado Hills there. And I really liked that. It was good work and had plenty of it. Just can’t do any more of it now. It’d hurt too bad anymore.

I was born in Detroit, Michigan. My family all lives there in Michigan, I live in California. And, uh, I’m going to go back and visit them in about 3 to 4 months. Go back and visit my dad for the summer. We’re going fishing. I’m getting back on those Great Lakes and hitting the fishing again. At least once.  I wasn’t able to do it last year, I was too sick. This year I want to.

I’m not really gonna get fixed. The doctor’s trying all the options and all the stuff like that. I’m on chemo treatment right now. And that seems to be really good. She’s liking the way that’s working and stuff like that. The way it’s administered and stuff, it goes right to the cancer and only the cancer itself, it doesn’t go to everywhere else in the body.

The first time I heard of palliative care, I heard of it from my doctor. I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I just figured it was going to be just a bunch of old nurses and, you know,  and, they would wash me and, you know,  give me food. But it’s not like that at all. They’re kinda like above that. They help me out quite a bit actually. I was still in a lot of pain when I’d come home. And when they’d come and visit, I was able to see them more often–well, they were able to come here more often than me to see the doctor. And I would be able to have more time to explain to them. And let them know what’s happening and they could talk to the doctor. You know, they really helped me manage my pain. Pain was the biggest problem that needed to be taken care of. And soon as we got all that taken care of I was able to take a breath and relax. And it’s all good now. I’m glad they came around.

The palliative care team is really hands-on, and anything I need or even possibly could need, you know, they’re doing it. They make sure, like when they were here today, they’re making sure my prescriptions were all okay down at the pharmacy. And my other nurse was talking to my insurance company about a ride to my doctor’s appointment, so if there was papers that need to be faxed over, she took care of all that. And it’s just stuff that I don’t have to worry about. They just don’t want me to worry about nothing.

My trip to Michigan is going to have to be in between the treatment if we’re doing them every two weeks. And my dad doesn’t like it when it’s only two weeks; it’s too short. Last time I was there me and my dad went to Canada and jumped on Lake Erie. We just had a blast out there, oh man. Must’ve caught about 100 fish.