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New Lease on Life in Hospice - KOAM TV 7

New Lease on Life in Hospice

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COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS -

Michael Follett has already surpassed his life expectancy. 

"Soon as you go to hospice you're supposed to die in 6 months," Michael said sitting beside his wife, Linda. "And that's been what, over a year ago?"

And he's not waiting on the reaper for anything. 

"We already had my funeral," Michael said. Even with a funeral behind him, Michael has a renewed lust for life. And it started when he quit treating his illness. 

About a year ago, Michael struggled to function after his 6th round of chemo therapy. "He couldn't talk, he couldn't walk, he didn't eat," Linda said. 
He ended treatment, began hospice. His provider, Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, says it encourages patients to not be passive during end-of-life care.

"A lot of people just have that stigma that goes with hospice and think that hospice is the end," Community Development Specialist of Harry Hynes Memorial, Melissa Johnston said. "And so many people have signed on to hospice and have had a truly different end of life experience."

This past April, a social worker from Hynes Memorial helped Michael earn a grant from Little Pink Houses of Hope. The non-profit sent Michael and his wife on a trip with other survivors and caregivers to a beach in North Carolina. A grant from Dream Foundation paid for travel. 

"And they provide the food, activities, everything you need there," Linda said. 

"Most important thing is you're around other people with the same thing. I've never been around anybody with stage 4 cancer," Michael said. 

And after seeing how others in a similar situation are living, he said he values the quality of the life he has left over the quantity.

"Most people view hospice as living to dying," Michael said. "I see it as dying to living."

"It's just exciting. It's like we said yesterday, 'I feel like living now'," Linda said. 

"Making the best out of your last days," Michael said. 

Michael has started a blog to document his days, post-treatment. 

His wife, Linda, is also donating 10-percent of proceeds from her business to Little Pink Houses of Hope, which it will use to help fund travel expenses.

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