Former CNN Anchor – Research Brought Him To IU Health

He spent years reporting some of the most significant events in US history. David (Dave) Kirschner knows that the world isn’t as big as it might at first seem, and getting the best healthcare can be as close as one day of travel.

The assassination of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr.; the terrorist attacks of 9/11; and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina are all part of Kirschner’s career in journalism.

They all became more global than local – connected by world news reports.

Kirschner obtained his journalism degree from the University of Florida but has been interested in news and current events since his teen years.

“At age 13 I was fascinated with local disc jockeys and used to hang around the radio stations in Savannah, Ga. where I grew up,” said Kirschner who now lives in Atlanta. He was a disc jockey in college and then launched his career at Atlanta’s WSB-Radio.

“I was just out of college, 22-years-old, had been there two weeks when John F. Kennedy was shot. I thought I’d never cover any bigger news story and then 9/11 happened,” said Kirschner. He went on to work as an editor and anchor at CNN Radio Network, where he also reported the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He retired in 2008.

About the same time he had a prostate cancer scare.

“My family knows my history of research when it comes to medical issues,” said Kirschner, who has been married to his wife Elaine for almost 50 years. Together they have a son and a daughter and three grandchildren. “That scare was several years ago. My urologist didn’t give me much hope so my journalism skills kicked in and I plowed my way through the Internet and went to two other out-of-state doctors. It turned out to be nothing but my family knows I’ll get on a plane and go where the best doctors are,” said Kirschner, 77.

So when Kirschner was diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) he began researching the best treatment options. Also known as enlarged prostate, the condition causes the prostate to squeeze the urethra weakening the bladder. Over time the bladder can lose the ability to empty completely.  

Kirschner’s local urologist suggested a Transurethral Resection of the prostate (TURP). The procedure involves using a special instrument to trim away excess prostate tissue blocking the urine flow.

“My father had the TURP. It’s a major surgery and I swore I would not have it. I started researching alternatives and found HoLEP and Dr. Amy Krambeck at IU Health,” said Kirschner. IU Health was the first hospital in the United States to offer HoLEP.  Dr. James Lingeman brought the procedure from New Zealand in the late 90’s. IU Health also provides the largest training program for HoLEP in the U.S. taking two 2-year fellows a year, said Dr. Krambeck. She performs approximately 200-250 procedures per year or 15-20 cases per month.

Holmium Laser Prostrate Surgery (HoLep) is a modern alternative for patients with bladder outflow obstruction. It is less invasive and requires a shorter hospital stay than the TURP procedure.

“In general, to master the HoLEP procedure it requires specialized training.  Most physicians who offer HoLEP have done a 1-2 year fellowship training program, said Dr. Krambeck. “Other physicians who offer the surgery may have taken a mini fellowship or other types of specialized training.” She estimates fewer that 100 surgeons in the US perform HoLEP.

The best candidates are patients with an obstructing prostate, said Dr. Krambeck. HoLep can be performed in patients who have failed other procedures, such as TURP, Rezum, UroLift, and can also safely be performed in patients on blood thinners for other conditions, said Dr. Krambeck. “No prostate is too small or too large for HoLEP.”

After reading abstracts and researching the procedure, Kirschner set his mind to coming to IU Health as a patient of Dr. Krambeck.

Accompanied by his son, Kirschner flew to Indianapolis on Nov. 15, 2018 and after one night’s hospital stay, he returned home to Atlanta. “I was going to stay in Indianapolis a few more days to make sure I was fully recovered but Dr. Krambeck saw no reason for me to delay my return. I was doing fine. This is a doctor I didn’t see until the day before surgery, but she has it mapped out for people from out of town. Everything I had read and researched was true.”

Even for a man who has covered major events around the globe, the thought of a hospital stay was intimidating.

“I haven’t been in the hospital that much. The last time I had general anesthesia was 20 years ago. I was petrified,” said Kirschner.  “Before surgery I told Dr. Zachary Cohen, my anesthesiologist, about my fears and he listened and helped calm my nerves. When I woke up there was no nausea, no vomiting, no after effects,” said Kirschner. In a letter of appreciation, he listed each person who took part in his surgery from IV to recovery, including Dr. Krambeck’s assistant, nurse Ashley Ross.

“I have friends who go to the doctor and the doctor says ‘this is what we need to do’ and they do it. I’m a different breed of cat,” said Kirschner. “I have doctors who say to do something and then I go home and research. My job led me to do research so I’ve learned to get second and third opinions. I can’t say enough about IU Health. The staff was amazing and even the food was good. I feel like I hit the jackpot and I would refer anyone to IU Health and Dr. Krambeck.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

She knew her body, and she knew something was wrong

School principal is recovering after treatment for ovarian cancer.

Moira Clark has always taken care of herself. She watches her weight, eats the right kinds of foods and exercises. So when her body quietly started telling her something was wrong, she listened.

The bloating in her abdomen, the gastrointestinal issues – they weren’t normal for her. And she refused to dismiss the changes as simply a natural part of getting older.

She told her doctor, “Something is wrong.” She was 15 pounds heavier than she’d ever been, even when she was pregnant years earlier. Yet, she couldn’t eat much. It got to the point where even an orange would leave her feeling full.

A colonoscopy revealed nothing, but Clark wasn’t satisfied. She went back to the doctor, who offered to schedule a CT scan. Within hours, she had the answer. A tumor in her ovaries. It was cancer.

Breast cancer gets a lot of attention; ovarian cancer, not so much. Clark herself didn’t know much about it. But the insidious disease didn’t get the nickname “silent killer” for nothing.

“When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know to be scared,” she said. She was frightened of the word cancer, of course, but she didn’t know then how ovarian cancer sneaks up on its victims, quietly doing its damage before a woman is any the wiser. Doctors refer to it as asymptomatic, and in many if not most cases, they don’t find it until it is in late stage 3 or stage 4, when it is most difficult to treat.

“What happened to me was I started to get this bloating around my middle,” said Clark, 62. “My normal weight gain was never around my middle. It was in my hips and thighs, so I knew that wasn’t right. But for many women who do gain in their middle, they might think it’s normal and they don’t go soon enough to the doctor. By the time they find it, it’s too late.”

Clark’s cancer was stage 3, but Dr. Jeanne Schilder, a gynecological oncologist with IU Health University Hospital, told Clark she was lucky. She wasn’t a typical stage 3 patient because there were no tumors growing outside of her reproductive organs, though there were microscopic cancer cells found in her lymph nodes.

“I think that was because I advocated for myself because I knew that what was happening to my body was not normal for me,” Clark said. “Then I told my story. I reached out to my sorority sisters, to my neighbors, to my co-workers, to my family.”

One surgery and six chemotherapy treatments later at IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Clark returned to work as principal of Maplewood Elementary in Wayne Township in July. It does her heart good (not to mention her mind and body) to be back at school, where 100 staff members and 800 children cheered her on during her treatment.

“From the day I left March 1 until I returned to school in mid-July, I got a card, a letter, an email, a text from someone in this building every day,” said the 2015 Indiana Principal of the Year.

One student even dyed his hair teal (the color for ovarian cancer awareness) in her honor.

Words fail her initially when she is asked about her experience at the Simon Cancer Center.

“I can’t tell you enough wonderful things about it. I just found it to be an extraordinary experience,” she said. “I felt like I could call anytime and they would call me back, and it was very personalized care. They focused on taking care of the whole person.”

Being a cancer survivor comes with new responsibilities, in her mind. Mainly, educating others. So she shares her story with friends, neighbors and colleagues, with anyone who will listen. Not to get attention, but to raise awareness of a disease that is diagnosed in an estimated 20,000 women in the U.S. every year. The five-year survival rate for all types of ovarian cancer is 47 percent, according to the American Cancer Society, but the longer it goes undetected, the worse the odds.

She is adamant that women speak up for themselves if they fear something is not right. And despite the general agreement that a Pap test (which can detect cervical cancer) is not needed annually, a pelvic exam is still important, she said.

Because of her willingness to talk about her illness, Clark inspired two other women in her circle to seek testing after each recognized the same symptoms in their bodies. Tumors were found in both women – one was not cancerous, the other was found at stage 1. Both are on their way to a full recovery.

“It’s about advocating and not being afraid to tell your story,” Clark said. “It’s about using your voice.”

Throughout her journey, she has been task-oriented, focused on the next step in treatment, not allowing her emotions to get the best of her.

In fact, the one and only time she cried was after she finished chemo, she said. It was a phone call from a hospital scheduler that prompted it. She needed to go in for another CT scan.

“I said, ‘Oh, OK, a CT scan.’ I got off the phone and burst into tears,” she said. “It was because I had the memory of the first CT scan, and I wasn’t feeling well, and it was a horrible experience. All those memories came flooding back.”

But this scan came back clear, and for that, Clark is grateful. As she greets kindergartners in the school library on a Monday afternoon, she is reminded of how much she loves her life and her job.

The few months she took off during her illness taught her something. “I learned that I don’t want to retire. I love it here. We have such purpose, and you can feel the love.”

And she learned something else.

“Once you have cancer, you realize how many people get cancer every day. When you’re on the front end of it and you don’t know what the experience will bring, for a survivor to say ‘you can get through this,’ that’s super important.”

— By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
   Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

How to Relieve Stress Neck Pain – Useful Tips And Suggestions

Stress is something that has become an integral part of our daily lives. Stress could be attributed to various reasons and it could be because of work-pressure related problems and even problems in the domestic front. Stress manifests itself in many ways and thousands of people could suffer from stress neck pain and for many, it could be partially or even totally debilitating. According to Frisco chiropractor and experts beginning from the skull to the topmost portion of the shoulders, there are chances that the neck could become a center of pain. In many cases, the pain is caused by worries and stress. Unfortunately for many, the underlying reason does not get noticed and this could create many problems. Hence we will try and find out ways and means by which this problem can be addressed effectively.

Important To Understand How Pain And Stress Are Related

Put in plain and simple words, any pain that is aggravated by emotional or psychological factors could be classified as pain caused by stress and tension. There could be situations where an initial pain in the neck could have been caused by injuries to the tissues or muscles of the neck. However, if the pain continues beyond a reasonable period of time and drags onto weeks then it is important to find out the underlying cause. In many cases, it could be attributed to some hidden factors and more often than not stress could be the culprit. This is a typical situation where the pain continues even after the injured tissue or muscle has healed. Hence one needs to understand that there is a close connection between stress and pain, especially in the neck and shoulder areas.

Chronic Pain – Things To Be Aware

Experts are of the opinion that neck pain that is induced by stress is caused after all by physical factors. It is believed that there is always a constant but low level of activity happening in and around the Trapezius muscles. These muscles stretch to the upper shoulders from the back of the neck. Experts also have researched and found out that muscle activity and neck pain very rarely have a correlation except in the cases of injury caused by external or internal reasons. Hence, there are good reasons to believe that in most of the cases, nagging neck pain occurs because of increased levels of stress and tension. Unless this is understood well and the root cause is identified, the next level of treatment would be difficult.

Learn To Go Slow And Prioritize

Life is hectic for most of us and this could be the main reason for stress and tension. This leads to its obvious manifestations and neck pain is one of them. Hence, one needs to take things easy and they should learn to prioritize the tasks. Taking a few days off and relaxing in some beach or hill resorts would not be a bad idea.

Conclusion

Hence at the end of the day, there are many ways and means by which stress-related neck pain can be effectively managed, tackled and perhaps even cured in many cases.

Back Pain and Injuries – Causes and Prevention

Back Pain and Injuries – Causes and Prevention

During the 10th annual Health and Fitness Summit and Exposition at American College of Sports Medicine, Michael R. Bracko, Ed.D, FACSM discussed stress as one of the leading causes of increasing cases for back pain and injuries. However, with a proper fitness program and healthy lifestyle, one can prevent back injuries to a great extent.

During research, it has been observed that nearly 80% of the population in North America would have suffered from back injuries and pain at some point in time in their lives. In fact, a high percentage of the suggested population must have already suffered from Owasso chronic back pain in the last six months. People who are in their late 40s might face activity limitations which are again most frequently caused by back problems. Even though 80% of people recover from their back pain within 3-6 weeks of their injury, it has been analyzed that nearly $31 million is spent on aftercare and physiotherapies to prevent back pain in the future.

So how do stress trigger back pain and related injuries? This has always been one of the most interesting connections to explore. Apparently, it has been seen that stress manifests itself to cause muscle tension in the body. It makes us feel lazy and worried about threats that may or may not be real. When stress takes over our mind, there’s a huge chance that one may not be able to cope up with it easily that leads to more health complications, mainly physiological. Thus, increasing stress levels at home and at the office most often create back problems. Perhaps, managing stress and working in peace with it can help people keep back problems at bay. Let’s take a look at some causes and prevention of back pain.

Individual Risk Factors for Back Injuries and Pain

In addition to stress, there can be plenty of other reasons that can trigger back pain and injuries. Even rigorous workout, recreation activities and excess sleep can cause back problems. Let’s take a look at other factors that can contribute to the condition:

  •         Lack of proper sleep/fatigue
  •         Emotional instability
  •         Family problems
  •         Substance or drug abuse
  •         Less physical activity
  •         More physical activity
  •         Improper muscle endurance
  •         Excessive weight

Occupational Risk Causes And Prevention Of Back Pain

This should be obvious as there are plenty of occupations and activities that require an employee to put extra pressure on his back. Truck drivers, IT consultant, nurses, and security guards are some professions that can lead to a high rate of back injuries. Factors that contribute to this condition include:

  •         Heavy physical job
  •         Sitting and standing
  •         Repetitive work
  •         Fatigue/poor muscle endurance
  •         Slipping, falling or tripping
  •         Twisting while the spine is loaded
  •         Vibration while driving
  •         Lack of work satisfaction
  •         Lack of motivation
  •         Mental fatigue

In order to prevent occupational back injuries, one should sit in an ergonomically-sound chair with the knees, hips, ankles, and elbows placed at 90-100 degree approximately.

They Hold the Hands of International Patients

Maria Siddons and Hamzah Radwan work behind-the-scenes of IU Health. Few people know that they are the ones who help patients who travel thousands of miles away from home.

There’s a world map inside IU Health’s University Hospital sixth floor offices. It may not mean a whole lot to many but to Maria Siddons and Hamzah Radwan, it represents their passion. Siddons and Radwan serve as destination service coordinators for IU Health.

What does that mean? It means they have welcomed, comforted, and served patients from close to 50 different countries.

When a male patient from China learns about Dr. Lawrence Einhorn’s successful treatment of testicular cancer using a mix of high does chemotherapies and peripheral stem cell transplant, he reaches out to destination services. By the time the patient contacts Siddons or Radwan, he has already researched physicians around the world and knows that IU Health provides the answer – sometimes the last hope. But traveling 10,000 miles for treatment isn’t the same as driving across town or even across state lines.

That’s where Siddons and Radwan come in.

“Every day patients are coming to a country where people speak a different language, have different cultural and societal norms. Knowing that we make a difference for people who would otherwise be helpless is what keeps us going. We know we make a difference because we hear it from patients, staff members and providers,” said Radwan, who speaks fluent Arabic. He graduated from the Kelley School of Business in 2013 and came to IU Health as a contract navigator for a year before his appointment as a full-time destination service coordinator in 2015.

At the time, IU Health was receiving a number of patient referrals from the Middle East by way of the US Embassy. A big part of Radwan’s job was to serve as an interpreter for the patients, assist with registration and help them navigate their stay inside and outside the hospital. Those roles are still key but over the years, many more have been added as patients’ needs arise.

Radwan still remembers one of his first patients who traveled from the Middle East for a liver transplant in 2014.

“I spent the majority of my time with this patient inside and outside the hospital and after an six-month stay, I went to visit the family in the Middle East. It also happens to be where my family is from. Two years after that they attended my engagement in Jordan,” said Radwan, who is married to a teacher, Heba Taan. “You spend so much time with the family that you build lasting connections. They become like your family.”

Some patients speak English, are more familiar with the United States and need minimal assistance, but Radwan and Siddons are available – whatever the needs may be.

“We have patients from Canada who need little help from us. Sometimes there are special requests like assisting a niece get transportation to the States,” said Siddons. Transportation, housing, and grocery shopping, insurance issues – anything a typical patient may need – that’s where Siddons and Radwan come in. Their contact with the patient begins long before they are registered at IU Health, and continues long after their hospital stay. Many remain in the States for many months during their recovery. When they return to their homeland Radwan and Siddons are as close as a phone call.

Siddons, from Venezuela, speaks fluent Spanish, and received a degree in business administration. She later obtained her LPN and worked as a bilingual triage nurse at various hospitals before joining IU Health in 2014. She and her husband David have three boys – 14, 11, and 6.

Next to the world map are a number of personal notes – many are hand-written “thank you” messages from patients and families. In a typical month, Siddons and Radwan have about four patients they are assisting. It has been as high as 20.

“Wherever they come from, we are the last resource in some cases,” said Siddons. “We have world-renowned physicians and the reputations are what we want to uphold.”

There are typical patients and there have been patients of notoriety that have been served by IU Heath.

“We don’t treat people the wealthiest because they deserve it. We do it for humanity, not because the patient is special. We do it because we want to be there for them. These are people in need,” said Siddons. Like Radwan, her relationships with patients are long lasting. By the time they make the decision to come to IU Health, many patients have already negotiated with international insurances for coverage, re-financed their home, applied for loans, or accepted help from their communities.

“They come to us at a time they are vulnerable. They know they can depend on us,” said Siddons. “I just received a text message yesterday from a woman in El Salvador. Her husband had completed chemotherapy and has a new image he wants to share with our doctors. She simply wanted to know ‘what’s next?

“They are grateful we are part of their lives and we are grateful that we can show them that we are a community that cares.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Eight years out – Cancer patient turns to genomic testing

When her breast cancer returned after eight years, Tipton resident Brenda Raver turned to IU Health’s Precision Genomics team for a specialized treatment plan.

There’s a picture of Brenda Raver wearing a purple and white striped top. In her arms she’s holding her newborn grandson. Her smile hides the fact that the picture was taken on what she calls one of the “worst days and one of the best days” of her life.

Graham Thomas was born June 27, 2017 and he’s helped Raver get through some tough times. The day he entered the world Raver was beginning four treatments of Adriamycin + Cytoxan – a combined chemotherapy drug. After eight years, with no symptoms or issues, she felt a lump in the area at the top of her right clavicle. It was May 2017. Raver contacted IU Health’s Dr. Jennifer Morgan who ordered a CT scan and a neck biopsy. For the second time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first bout was in 2007. This time the diagnosis was Stage 4 metaplastic sarcomatoid carcinoma, Stage 4, a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer.

By August, another scan showed little reduction in the mass, so she began 12 cycles of Taxol chemotherapy, known to interfere with the growth of cancer cells and slow the growth of and spread in the body. But after the treatment, there was still little change in the cancerous area. So December 2017, she underwent a lengthy surgery – a modified neck dissection and a right auxiliary lymphadenectomy.   

“They removed 34 lymph nodes between my neck area and under my arm,” said Raver, who was in the surgical care of IU Health Drs. Kandice Ludwig and Hadley Ritter. She then had 28 radiation treatments under the care of IU Health radiation oncologist Dr. Surjeet Pohar. At the end of December 2017 Raver met with IU Health hematologist/oncologist Dr. Bryan Schneider director of the Precision Genomics Program. By sequencing a patient’s genome, precision genomics physicians can create a treatment plan specific to the care of patients with metastatic cancer.

For Raver, that meant a recommendation of Xeloda, an oral chemotherapy drug. She started the drug in April of 2018 – 14 days on and seven days off. 

“Through it all, my worst side effect was severe fatigue,” said Raver. She also suffers with lymphedema in my right arm and some neuropathy in her feet due to the Taxol. The only side effects of the Xeloda have been dry palms, hands and feet. She applies ointment to sooth the discomfort.

“The benefits of the drug far outweigh the side effects,” said Raver. “The lymphedema in my arm and the neuropathy in my feet are nothing compared to being so sick. Yes, I’m tired of putting chemicals in my body but I’m grateful for the advances they’ve made in the last eight years.”

Raver says she will remain on the drug as long as it is working. “I will have a PET scan every 90 days. The last two scans have been clear. They know from my molecular structure that this drug is inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in my body. That’s a good thing,” said Raver, who turned 62 on January 5.

These days she enjoys babysitting her grandson, and looks forward to celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary to husband Mark a trip to Hawaii this summer. Together they have a daughter, and a son – the father of Graham Thomas.

A Purdue graduate, she is part of a family that bleeds black and gold. She enjoys watching college and professional football, and favors both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints – because Purdue’s Drew Brees serves as the team’s quarterback. She’s also a Cubs fan.

“I stay busy and I enjoy life. I like to garden in the summer and host a lot of family gatherings. I’m thankful I can still do those things I love,” said Raver. “I can’t say enough about the wonderful care and treatment I have received from the IU Health staff. That includes everyone from all of my doctors, nurses, technicians and administrative staff – especially, Dr. Morgan and her office staff. Everyone has treated me with utmost respect and concern for my continued healing and improved health.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Lung cancer patient: “IU Health saved my life”

Rich Emmons credits IU Health and a simple cost-effective scan with saving his life.

He’s semi-retired and the insurance didn’t quite cover the cost of his lung scan, so Rich Emmons thought he’d have to skip it. That is until he learned that IU Health offers the screenings for $49.

“It was dumb luck that I fell upon a sign in the hospital promoting the screenings,” said Emmons, of Markle – a town that spans both Huntington and Wells Counties along Interstate 69. The majority of his career was spent working in international transportation with the Fort Wayne Airport. Before he retired in 2016, Emmons’ wife reminded him to get caught up on all his health care – that included a lung screening. The scan came out clear but he was encouraged to continue with the annual screening.

Since his retirement, Emmons has been driving a bus transporting residents from various nursing homes to area hospitals. He just happened to be at IU Health Ball Memorial when he saw the sign promoting the $49 screening.

“I’m on my wife’s insurance and our out-of-pocket would have been about $300. So I went for the $49 screening and had results sent to my doctor,” said Emmons, who turned 61 this month. “I was immediately put in touch with an oncologist. They did a biopsy and I was diagnosed with stage 3A lung cancer.”

Emmons has been a smoker since the age of 12. “There’s no question it was caused by smoking. I’m not proud of that at all,” said Emmons. “I’ve never tried to quit smoking. I didn’t want to ever quit. I’m from a generation of the late 60s and early 70s where that’s just what you did in your teen years. It didn’t become an issue. I can remember watching Johnny Carson Shows and they were all smoking. By the time people started making it a big deal I felt that what damage was done was done.”

The $49 lung screenings are part of a campaign to advocate for patient health. Smoking-related illnesses claim more than 11,000 Indiana residents each year and tobacco use results in well over $7 billion in health costs annually. As the state’s largest healthcare system, IU Health is committed to reducing the number of people who smoke and dissuading others from starting. So IU Health joins the statewide campaign against tobacco use, including the effort to increase cigarette tax to $2 a pack. Increasing the price of cigarettes has proven to deter smoking especially among youths. The campaign against smoking promotes reduced incidents of cancer, pulmonary disease, infant mortality, and other health-related issues.

Emmons’ diagnosis was a wake up call. “As soon as we found out I had cancer, the first doctor I saw was a pulmonary doctor who put me on Chantix, a prescription medicine to help me stop smoking,” said Emmons. “It does really well. I went from two and half packs of cigarettes a day to three cigarettes a day and now I still smoke one or two a day but that’s it. I see that going away. I don’t crave it.”

He says he’s doing it for his family. He has been married to Suzette for 36 years. Together they have one son, one daughter and a two-year-old grandson. “My wife and daughter were devastated when we found out I had cancer. I’m the rock of the family. This isn’t supposed to happen to me,” said Emmons.

The biopsy showed the small cell cancer was in the upper right lobe of his lung and had attached itself to the chest wall. According to the American Cancer Society smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 10-15% of lung cancers, and the majority are related to cigarette smoking. Small Cell Lung Cancer can metastasize rapidly and spread to other parts of the body.

Since Emmons’ diagnosis in August, he went through 30 rounds of radiation and recently completed his final round of chemotherapy.  He will have another scan this month.

“They feel pretty confident they killed it and the chances of it coming back are 50/50. The next step will be to begin prophylactic radiation on my brain to prevent spreading,” said Emmons.

“I feel very, very fortunate. I’m not completely out of the woods but that little sign at IU Health saved my life. My doctor said without treatment I may have been gone in six months. I want to be around to watch my grandson grow up.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Facts You Need to Know about Dentures

Back in the 1800s, people had to make do with animal teeth if they ever lost their own set. Since then, dentures have made steady progress from being made out of porcelain to the current staple, acrylic resin. In this write-up, we will discuss everything there is to know about dentures and the various types that are used around the world.

 What Are Dentures?

 Simply put, dentures serve as replacements for missing teeth and OKC Teeth Whitening. One may lose natural teeth due to a variety of reasons. This may include – gum related diseases. Injuries or tooth decay. Like we stated before, dentures back in the day weren’t as precise as the ones that are manufactured today. While they still don’t feel real once applied, they do resemble and look like real teeth cosmetically. They are also comfortable and fit in perfectly, allowing your facial muscles to retain their original profile. In certain cases, they also help improve the look of your smile.

 How Do Dentures Work?

 Before you begin to know how dentures actually work, you must understand that are different types – conventional dentures, immediate dentures, and partial dentures. We will discuss more on the types later. For now, let’s focus on their operation.

 There is a common misconception that dentures stick because of the extensive use of special adhesives. This isn’t true for the most part. Gums and tissues inside your provide natural suction, and this suction is more than sufficient for any kind of dentures to be perfectly in places. Only in the case of a severely altered bone structure will someone need achieves, and that is usually a sign of an impending replacement.

 How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?

 Initially, the dentures may seem to be extremely loose when put in place. This is due to the fact that your cheeks and tongue are still learning to keep them in place. There might also be an overproduction of saliva. The first month is usually known informally as the learning month – since the patient undergoes a learning process of some sorts. Even everyday functions such as eating and speaking will feel like a task.

 Having said that, the amount of time that is required to comfortably adjust to new dentures varies greatly for each individual. For some, the period may only last a few weeks, and in other cases, the learning process goes on for months during which modifications are also done.

 How Long Do Dentures Last?

 Dentures are usually great when it comes to quality and longevity. Since they are made out of durable, artificial materials, they never really deteriorate with time unless you subject them to unfavorable environments while storing them at night. The only time you may need a replacement is when your mouth changes dramatically. In such cases, measurements will have to be taken again for a new denture to be cast. But it is important for patients to realize that this is a natural process. When people grow old, their body changes and dentures will need to be tweaked to maintain the same level of comfort.

 

 

$47,000 in IU Health Arnett Hospital Grants to Benefit Area Health

The IU Health Arnett Hospital Philanthropy Council, in partnership with the IU Health Foundation, has announced five grants to support hospital initiatives and improve health throughout the region. The funded programs focus on the health of infants and their mothers, patients undergoing chemotherapy and victims of sexual assault. The grants were awarded from IU Health Arnett Hospital’s area of greatest need fund, which supports priorities identified by hospital leaders.

“These grants fund specialized equipment and training that enable our excellent clinicians to deliver even better care,” said Julie Paolillo, director of philanthropy for IU Health West Central Region. “Philanthropy allows us to go the extra mile to meet challenges in our region and in our state.”

 Each initiative aligns with the IU Health systemwide goals of making Indiana one of the healthiest states in the nation.

 The following projects were funded: 

  • $29,864 to establish the IU Health Arnett Center of Hope, where nurses specially trained in sexual assault examinations will use the Cortex-Flo Camera System to accurately document and provide evidence in cases of assault.
  • $6,600 to launch a support group for pregnant women and new mothers suffering from Perinatal Mood Anxiety disorder, which will result in better outcomes for both mother and child.
  • $4,845 to purchase a Premature Anne Task Trainer Twin Pack. These mannequins are modeled after premature infants and will provide more opportunities for nurses to prepare for a variety of scenarios.
  • $4,165 to enable an IU Health Arnett RN to complete training to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and help new mothers with breastfeeding and lactation issues.
  • $1,530 to provide chemotherapy training and certification for 12 registered nurses, so they can administer on-site treatments at IU Health Arnett.

You can help meet health challenges in your own community by contributing to your local IU Health hospital’s area of greatest need. To learn more, visit iuhealthfoundation.org.

Thirty years of nursing – humor calms their nerves

Nurse Steve Allgood, who works in intervention radiology has learned over the years that keeping things light is the best way to put patients at ease.

When they get to him, patients are receiving biopsies and CAT scans. They know there could be some unpleasant news from the results. It’s not Steve Allgood’s job to deliver the news – good or bad. It’s his job to keep patients safe and secure.

“I start my day by preparing rooms for biopsies and then I monitor the patient during sedation, and transport the patient to recovery,” said Allgood, who has been a nurse for 30 years. He started his career working in ICU and then moved to the cardiac cath lab – working at IU Health North and IU Health West – before coming to University Hospital.

His primary patients are those diagnosed with cancer. Over the years, he’s learned that when patients come in for biopsies or scans they are nervous. Their mind is on the results. He doesn’t offer them results – most results take about three to five days and are reported by the patient’s physician.

“Most patients have been diagnosed, some not, but something’s happened and they’ve had a CT scan and need a biopsy to find out what it is,” said Allgood. “I really try to be myself and I’m a jokester. I try to keep the humor in the air. It helps alleviate the stress. Most people say the joking calms them. I think if you‘re way too serious it scares the patient and does not ease the tension of what they are going through.”

He’s also known to ease the nerves by sharing his life story.

“I grew up poor in Puerto Rico. My mother is Puerto Rican and she took me there to live. I started working in a slaughter house at age of 12 to help out at home,” said Allgood. At a young age, he served in the US Air Force, in search of an education to improve his life and earned a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Science. He worked for a time as an engineer manufacturing military aircraft and then decided to go to nursing school.

“At the time there was a nursing shortage and 12 pages of newspaper ads for nurses. I was a single man in a hospital full of women,” said Allgood.

Over time he has become known around his department for his ability to start an IV on most any patient. “It can be a challenge but I probably start 25 a day because I get called into a lot of procedures and departments to offer assistance”

More about Allgood:

  • What makes him a good nurse: “I care about the people I take care of and what they’re going through.”
  • Personal: He married his wife Debra December of 2017. They met salsa dancing. He has two daughters, 21 and 23.
  • Hobbies: In addition to salsa dancing with his wife, Allgood restores old muscle cars and has been scuba diving for nearly 50 years. 
  • What would surprise people to learn: “Most are pretty surprised to learn I’m Puerto Rican. I speak fluent Spanish – grew up speaking it.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.