She’s half the woman she used to be

Tiara Jenkins has lost 215 pounds: “I’m not afraid to actually go out in public anymore.”

Tiara Jenkins remembers the day her life began to change. It was in February 2017 when she stepped on the scale and watched as it hit 445 pounds.

“It was like a lightbulb went on. I knew I had to do something.”

What she did was lose 215 pounds, the first 50 on her own and the rest with help from gastric bypass surgery at IU Health Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss Clinic, under the care of Dr. Ambar Banerjee.

Previous Coverage

  • Taking steps to better health – July 13, 2017
  • Weighing Down: She’s On Her Way – July 26, 2017
  • Weight Loss – New Lease On Life – January 29, 2018

We have shared portions of Jenkins’ story before but thought it was time for an update.

The 27-year-old Indianapolis resident says she has 10 more pounds to lose off her 6-foot frame to reach her goal weight of 220. When that happens, it will be the first time she’s been out of the obese range since she was about 5 years old, she said.

“I was always the obese kid. Food was a big comfort to me. It was a go-to for my entire family, and I was just brought up on eating whatever, whenever.”

She compared her family’s eating habits to that of the mythical Hobbits. “We would have two breakfasts, a lunch, another lunch and then a dinner.”

It’s no wonder her weight ballooned over the years. As it went up, her confidence plummeted.

“I always wanted to kind of lock myself away from everyone, but now it’s like I actually want to go out and do things.”

She traded her all-black wardrobe for brighter colors and patterns. She colored her hair. She even got a tattoo after losing 200 pounds. It says: “She became her hero.”

“I didn’t have much of a style before; now I love shopping. I’m not afraid to actually go out in public anymore.”

Jenkins, who works as an assistant manager at a shoe store and practices photography on the side, said her life has changed dramatically.

“That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for. I’m definitely more outgoing, more confident. I just have my life back. I know that sounds really cliché, but I do, I have a life back.”

She hopes to eventually get a college degree in business so she can make photography her career.

Jenkins went to see Dr. Banerjee, assistant professor of surgery at IU Health North Hospital, in January, for her one-year follow-up. He is pleased with her progress.

“She continues to do well and remains committed toward her health by following dietary and lifestyle changes, which are keys to success after this surgery,” he said. “She is indeed an amazing success story and an inspiration for all patients who are currently dealing with obesity and its associated morbidities.”

Jenkins continues to give and get support from fellow bariatric patients on Facebook and in person at group meetings. She works out five times a week, and she does meal prep for the week in advance so she always has something ready to go when she’s hungry.

“It’s a whole new world,” she said. “You have to eat a certain way, and you didn’t believe that after surgery a cheese stick would fill you up, but it did. It’s been a whole mind game ever since.”

Now she just has to distinguish between “head hunger” and actual hunger before she reaches for a snack.

As her relationship with food has changed, so has her relationship with her family.

“Our relationship is good; it’s actually a lot better, mostly because I’m not an angry person anymore. That’s one of the things I’ve come to see is I was really angry before.”

Now, she’s looking ahead to new adventures. She’s looking ahead to her new life.

-– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist

Pediatrics receives amazing donation

The pediatric department at IU Health Arnett Hospital received an amazing donation from the Alorica team. The department received 44 BluebeePals and several treat bags. The BluebeePal is an interactive plush learning tool that pairs with all apps with a narrative. The mouth and head moves while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.

Being hospitalized is a stressful experience for children and parents. A trip to the emergency room or an inpatient stay may include a number of evaluations, tests and procedures.

“Our unit greatly appreciates the time and thoughtfulness put into these donations,” stated Susan Ziulkowski, RN. “These sweet little bags and bears will help us break the ice with some of our very frightened and sick little ones. These kinds of donations bring smiles to their faces and allow us to gain a little bit of their trust on a level they can understand. I loved seeing an organization from our community loving on our little patients by donating such thoughtful, generous items. “

The donation came from Making Lives Better with Alorica (MLBA). MLBA empowers its employees at each location to support local causes that matter most to them.  We appreciate MLBA for our patients. 

IU Health Foundation Exceeds First-year Goal by 331%

In 2018 – its first full year – the Indiana University Health Foundation raised $19,070,185, which exceeded the philanthropic goal set by system and Foundation leadership by more than 300 percent. This includes commitments raised through the Foundation as well as government grant dollars raised on behalf of IU Health.

As a result, a grants program primarily available in Central Indiana will be expanded statewide to support hospitals in all regions of IU Health. Details of this program are being finalized now and will be made available in the second quarter of this year. 

“From Monticello to Paoli and from Lafayette to Portland, IU Health patients and caregivers are reaping the benefits of philanthropic giving from generous donors,” said Crystal Hinson Miller, president, IU Health Foundation. “More than $10 million was distributed to support our mission this year.” 

IU Health Foundation raises funds to help IU Health and adult hospitals statewide achieve its goal of making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. According to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings annual report, Indiana ranks as the 41st healthiest state in the U.S. Addressing such challenges as behavioral health outcomes and the rampant opioid crisis, tobacco use, infant mortality and obesity will help improve that ranking, as well as a broader investment in social determinants of health that impact Hoosiers statewide. 

The Foundation’s efforts raised money for patient care, clinical education, innovation, and community health programs throughout the state. The following are a few highlights. 

  • Statewide:  $1.4 million through a state-directed award to IU Health makes peer recovery coaches available in every IU Health emergency department statewide. These coaches have special training and personal experience with recovery. A growing service within substance use disorder treatment, peer recovery coaching helps address the addiction crisis one patient at a time. 
  • Suburban Indianapolis:  A $10 million gift will make it possible for more people to access renowned cancer care in Hamilton County and surrounding areas. The Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer Center at IU Health North will be an all-in-one facility providing integrated cancer care for patients and their families. Opening in Carmel in 2020, the center will offer radiation oncology spaces and infusion rooms as well as integrated health services.
  • West Central Indiana:  More than $330,000 received through the estate of a grateful patient will benefit patient care at IU Health White Memorial Hospital.
  • East Central Indiana:  The completed integration of IU Health Jay Hospital into the IU Health Foundation family will bring benefit to Portland and the surrounding area through a $10,000 matching gift from the IU Health Foundation toward donations for patient support.
  • South Central Indiana: A $10,000 gift to IU Health Bloomington Hospice will provide custom recliners for patients and patient families in hospice care. This gift was made possible from a family who was grateful for the care they and their father received while in hospice care.
  • Indianapolis:  A $500,000 gift to IU Health Adult Academic Health Center will expand the Lynda A. Merriman Award for Compassionate Care program system-wide.

IU Health Foundation was created in late 2017 to raise funds to improve Hoosiers’ health and help Indiana become one of the healthiest states in the nation. It has combined 15 hospital foundations and giving programs representing IU Health hospitals throughout Indiana. The result is an increase in our capacity to build upon community relationships, ensuring local giving stays local, while engaging donors interested in transformative giving to impact our state’s greatest health challenges. To learn more, visit

Special graduation in NICU

A story that will warm your heart just in time for Valentine’s Day!

A special day for little Makayla Howard and her family, when she was finally able to go home after being in the IU Health Arnett Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the first two months of her life.

Makayla and family celebrated their last day in the NICU with her very own graduation ceremony, completed with a little cap and gown!

Makayla made her debut into the world at 29 weeks. Born 11 weeks early, weighing in at only 3 lbs 3 oz, Makayla needed some help from our NICU team to help her grow stronger and healthier. Now at 37 weeks, and 6 lbs 1 oz, she is happy, healthy and ready to go home. Team members lined the hallways to help celebrate this success!

The adorable cap and gown were hand cut, stitched and sewn by Girl Scout Troop 3556. They got the wonderful idea from their troop leader and one of our own, Amy Corbett, a NICU nurse at IU Health Arnett Hospital. Amy also worked with the IU Health Foundation to help continue funding materials for the caps and gowns for our future graduates. She even worked with Gigi’s Cupcakes and Project Sweet Peas to donate some goodies and sweet treats for the celebration. A huge thank you to all who helped us and will continue to help celebrate our youngest patients!

Watch the video on our Facebook page. 

Grateful Family Donates to Hospice Bloomington

Charles Boling, a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired history teacher, was already experiencing Parkinson’s Disease, when he suffered a broken hip in 2016. His daughter Elizabeth and her siblings Daniel and Malinda were advised to seek hospice care.

Elizabeth Boling, a professor at Indiana University Bloomington and the closest to her father geographically, sought help from IU Health Bloomington Hospice. “Hospice saved our lives,” she said. 

For 20 months, Elizabeth Boling was continually impressed by the many ways hospice staff exceeded her expectations. Their first act was installing a hospital bed for Mr. Boling’s safety, then acquiring and installing a lift for caregivers to use when moving him. Elizabeth Boling said hospice staff provided comfort, solace and strength at every stage of this uncertain and exhausting journey. 

“The folks who worked with us clearly cared about my father,” she said. “They talked to him as a person, not just another sick old man. It was clear that they cared about the quality of his life down to the last day of it.” 

When her father passed away in October 2018, Elizabeth Boling and her siblings gifted $10,000 from his estate to Bloomington Hospice, the oldest and largest provider of end-of-life services in South Central Indiana, and the only remaining not-for-profit hospice in the region. 

Charles Boling died with dignity, and his children have ensured that others can do the same. To learn how you can make a contribution that honors IU Health caregivers, visit

Baby on the way: Cancer didn’t get in the way

They thought they’d wait to start a family but after a cancer diagnosis, this couple believes their expectancy is going as planned.

Kayla Mollo was a student at IU Bloomington and picking up hours as a server at a popular craft beer pub on College Ave. Evan Mollo worked in concrete and excavating and helped the owners get the new bar open. Afterward, he stayed on to help staff the doors of the popular hang out.

That was more than six years ago. It didn’t take them long to know that this was a match to last a lifetime.

“Evan is pretty shy. I’m the total opposite,” said Kayla, who grew up in Owen County. Evan grew up in Brown County.  “I always think it’s funny because people wonder how he reached out to me. We knew each other for a good year and half before we started dating,” said Kayla.

Last May, inside Greenwood’s romantic rustic Bay Horse Inn Barn, overlooking 35 acres, the couple exchanged vows. About 200 family members attended their wedding where the bride, groom, and attendants were dressed in neutral champagne colors, accented with gray.   

The couple enjoyed trips to French Lick, trying out craft beers, and remodeling their rural Brown County home. They dreamed of raising a family in the country – enjoying outdoor activities like boating and camping.

They didn’t think they’d start a family right away. But in November they discovered Kayla was expecting what will be the first grandchild on her side of the family. Kayla has a younger brother; Evan has an older brother.

“We always said for our first anniversary we’d take a trip and then wait until summer to start a family,” said Kayla, 27. “For whatever reason, something told us we should go ahead and try. It happened quickly.” They learned that she is due August 6.

On December 27 – a month after they found out they were expecting – they received more news. Evan, who turned 30 in October, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“I had some back pain but I work in construction so I just thought is was from work,” said Evan. But the pain lasted a couple weeks and spread to his groin. Two days before Christmas they made a trip to urgent care. He was sent home with an antibiotic and referred to an urologist. An ultra sound showed elevated tumor markers and on December 28 he went in for a radical inguinal orchiectomy to remove the tumor. He is under the care of IU Health urologist Dr. Timothy Masterson and oncologist Dr. Lawrence Einhorn and is undergoing chemotherapy at IU Health Simon Cancer Center.

“This was totally unexpected,” said Kayla. “We both thought it was a hernia. When you start to Google symptoms testicular cancer pops up but we didn’t want to think the worst.”

Evan met Dr. Einhorn for the first time in mid-January.

“From the first time I met him I felt comfortable. I was busy thinking about being a father and he gave me the assurance that this is curable,” said Evan. “There’s no need to panic – just keep on thinking positive about our family and our future.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

Postpartum Depression: Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle

IU Health Arnett recently launched a new support group to help mothers suffering from Perinatal Mood Anxiety – it is one piece of a larger puzzle that helps aid in behavioral health for women.

She was tired. She was angry. She lashed out.

But Amy Emerson didn’t feel comfortable talking about her feelings within her circle of family and friends.

“Sometimes you think people will judge you or worry about you. At the time I didn’t have a lot of friends who were mothers. I didn’t have a lot of people who could understand that I was overwhelmed,” said Emerson. She had just had her first child, Mason, a March baby. A former teacher, Emerson was staying home to care for her son. The days were long. She felt isolated. She talked to her mom and her husband, James, but the talks were not the same as sharing with other new moms.

“Before I had my son, I was diagnosed with depression. I knew I was at a high risk for depression but they said to wait two weeks to see if it kicks in after the baby was born,” said Emerson.

In fact, Emerson was suffering from postpartum depression. She turned to a support group at IU Health North where she surrounded herself with other new moms – also coping with similar symptoms.

“Research shows one in seven women will develop postpartum depression and one in 10 fathers will develop postpartum depression,” said Rosa Banuelos, a social worker on the mother-baby floor at IU Health Arnett. The hospital recently received a $5,600 grant from IU Health Foundation to launch a similar support group for women and new mothers suffering from Perinatal Mood Anxiety Disorder (PMAD).   

Symptoms of PMAD include tearfulness, inability to sleep; little or no energy; feelings of guilt or shame; and suicidal thoughts. New mothers are referred to the program by caregivers who administer a simple question and answer test the “Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale” (EPDS). Patients rate their feelings from the previous seven days on a scale that includes: “Most of the time” or “Not at all.” They are asked to respond to such comments as “I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things,” or “I have felt sad and miserable.”

One question is “The thought of harming myself has occurred to me” – quite often, sometimes, hardly ever, never. “Any mom who scores 12 or above receives an automatic consult with a social worker,” said Banuelos, one of the facilitators for the Arnett group. And if a mom scores more than a zero (never) on the question of thoughts of harming herself, then there is automatic cause for concern, said Banuelos.

The Arnett group began meeting in mid-January. It meets the first and third Friday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon at the hospital and is open to all mothers.

“The purpose is to bring mothers together who are suffering from mental health emotions during or after pregnancy,” said Banuelos. “They are in a safe and supportive environment with other women who understand what they are going through. We’re just a piece of the puzzle to wellness, a way to help them understand that they are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. If mothers hear that message they can start the road to recovery. There are many pieces to that puzzle – family support, community support – all important pieces.”

The support group is ongoing and mothers can attend a few times or as often as they wish.

Emerson attended the support group for a year when her son was born. Last August she had a second child – a girl – and she again attended the support group. “The group makes you feel not so abnormal – you know that there are other women going through it with you. And the group facilitator helps explain the feelings and dispel the things society stigmatizes. People think because you have a new baby you should be happy all the time but sometimes there are feelings beyond your control,” said Emerson, 34.  

“You are dealing with so many issues – your body is changing and you can’t always exercise, you can’t get enough sleep, you are breastfeeding and sometimes it’s difficult – it’s just great to have other moms that say, ‘I get it.’”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email

What Is 3D And 4D Ultrasound

 If you are keen on knowing the growth stage, size and other such things then you certainly would like to have an ultrasound done of the fetus. These ultrasound scans are of different types while ordinary ultrasound show only still pictures when you choose 3D options, you can see the moving images of the unborn fetus. On the other hand, if you choose the 4D you also can get to know the time of the pregnancy. While 2D ultrasound is the most common one, many parents would like to see the movements happening inside the womb and this is where the role of 3D ultrasound scans becomes very important. We will try more about this form of imaging for the benefit of our readers. This will help them to make a choice whether to go in for 2D ultrasound imaging.

What Makes 3D So Different

There are a few points which make 3D ultrasound so very different from the 2G form. To begin with, you would be seeing the skin instead of the insides which is the case with 2G technology. You will be in a position to find out the shape of the baby’s nose, mouth and could also find out if she is sticking the tongue out or yawning or doing other such facial activities.

Are They Safe

This is a common question when it comes to 3D scans. Though there are some myths surrounding it, there are reasons to believe that it is perfectly safe. It is perhaps as safe as 2G scan if not more. While the quality of images in a 3D scan is much sharper and real, it would not be advisable to use it just for fun and souvenir purposes. Many parents often go in for a number of 3D ultrasound before the actual pregnancy. This is not recommended because by doing so you will be exposing your child to unwanted ultrasound exposure. You must bear in mind that some ultrasound could take as much as 45 minutes and more and this could be exceeding the safety limits that have been set. Hence, you must use these 3d 4d ultrasound fort Walton beach scans only for certain purposes and only on the recommendation and suggestion of the doctor.

They Could Trace Out Abnormalities

3D, as well as 4D scans are used to trace out abnormalities because of the sharpness of the pictures. They could help in identifying any abnormalities. They are often found to be useful in identifying any problem related to cleft lip and other such problems. It could also be useful in identifying any deformities in the hands and legs. This can help quite a bit in repairing and correcting the problem once the baby is born.

It Also Could Help In Identifying Heart Problems

3D and 4d ultrasound fort Walton beach FL scans can also be able to have a closer look at the heart, lungs, kidney, and brain which are referred to as vital organs of the body. It could help to find out if there are any problems in these critical internal organs so that proactive steps could be taken if and when required.

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Meet our newest team member

Career Day at school was quickly approaching and Holley wanted to be just like her Mom, Samantha Barnett, BSN, an emergency room nurse at IU Health White Memorial. Holley admires how her Mom helps to save lives every day. In order to make her daughter’s wish a reality, Barnett spent the night altering and sewing her daughter a custom set of IU Health scrubs so they could match for Career Day at school. Holley even has her own ID badge.

Barnett’s fellow team members were not surprised by her dedication when they saw the pictures, “Barnett is truly a nurse and Mom worthy of recognition. She tirelessly provides compassionate and excellent care to her patients every day.”

Child Caregiver: “They’re Like My Kids”

Megan LaTurner, has always been a caregiver, but now she’s the one who is receiving the attention of her team in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of University Hospital.

As she worked a puzzle on a recent cold and snowy day, Megan LaTurner was surprised by a warm hug from patient care assistant Emily Ramsey.

Normally, LaTurner is the one giving hugs, wiping tears and kissing boo-boos. She received an elementary education degree from the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne and has made a career in childcare.

“When I was in elementary school I needed speech therapy and it really made an impression on me – just that little bit of extra help. I love children and so that’s what I’ve always wanted to do – work with kids,” said LaTurner, 32, who is married to Adam LaTurner. Together they have a three-year-old son.

She met Adam at a friend’s house. “I showed up with pizza and he started calling me ‘pizza girl.’ It sort of stuck,” said LaTurner of Auburn, IN. Eventually they got married and life was good. They enjoyed doing outdoor activities with their son and Adam’s two children.

And LaTurner loved her daycare children. She usually had as many as four little ones ranging in age from six months to six years in her care. “There were some days I’d spend 12-13 hours with a couple of them,” said LaTurner. Parents tell her she’s “compassionate,” and “caring” and “would do anything” for their kids. “We’d go to the park together, take walks to get shredded frozen ice treats and I’d let them pick their favorite colors for flavoring. We’d make pizzas and decorate for holidays.”

It was one of the most difficult things she ever imagined when LaTurner had to tell her parents that she could no longer watch their children.

The community rallied – wearing orange “Team Megan” bracelets, selling candies, planning softball tournaments and chicken and noodle dinners – all to support LaTurner and her family.

It was Aug. 10, 2018 when LaTurner’s husband called an ambulance to their home after she complained of severe back and shoulder pain. She was rushed to a local hospital where tests confirmed she has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer where the marrow makes too many white blood cells. Under the care of IU Health hematologist/oncologist Dr. Mohammad Abu Zaid, she is receiving chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

“This a good place to be if you have to go through this,” said LaTurner. “I like my doctor and everyone here has been so warm and supportive. There are still a lot of tough days – like when I miss my son.”

To help her focus she got a tattoo on her left forearm with an orange ribbon, symbolizing leukemia awareness, with the word “Hope.” Her husband also got a large tattoo on his calf that reads: “Your fight is my fight.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email