Radiology Manager – Seeing Life Through A Lens

Michelle Alting, radiology manager at IU Health University Hospital is also a photographer.

There’s a simple piece of paper tacked above Michelle Alting’s workstation in the basement of IU Health University Hospital. It describes the qualities of a great leader. The list includes words like “Inspire,” “Teach,” “Protect,” “Remove Obstacles for Advancement,” and “Be Human.”

There’s a quote too: “If you cultivate these characteristics, you’ll become the unforgettable leader that people will respect and remember for the rest of their careers.”

It’s a reminder to Alting where she started at IU Health 28 years ago. She was in school to become a radiology technologist taking x-rays. From there she cross-trained in mammography and CT, became a team lead in fluoroscopy, and then became a supervisor over diagnostic radiology and mammography. Twelve years ago she became the manager over all of radiology.

It’s a career that found her at a young age. She watched a family member in the care of providers at Riley Hospital and knew she wanted to be a caregiver.

“I knew then that I wanted to work in the medical profession and help others,” said Alting. “I love radiology. It offers lots of opportunities because there are so many different areas where we are able to help in the patient’s diagnosis.”

Many of her patients come to IU Health for cancer treatments. She knows her role can have a profound impact on their experience.

“I’ve learned to be a good listener. Everybody has a story and it makes a big difference if you just listen,” said Alting. That affirmation comes back to her daily but she remembers one patient in particular who came in quiet and scared.

“I just held his hand and afterward his wife said, ‘you must have healing hands because you made a big difference today,’” said Alting, who grew up on the Southside of Indianapolis with a younger sister and two older brothers. She graduated from Roncalli High School and then started a career in radiology.

“I love this department. I love the people who work here – a lot of them have been here a long time. Some of the physicians were residents when I started and are now staff physicians,” said Alting.

What’s changed over the years? “We still focus on the best patient care but the equipment is more sophisticated and makes for a better diagnosis. There are a lot of good things that have happened here for patients – and a lot of miracles – people who have been here and are healed by the work here every day.”

And what about that manager role?

“She is probably the best boss I’ve had,” said Tina Ehrensberger, diagnostic radiology technician. “She has all these irons in the fire and yet she manages to stay calm. She really embodies the ideas that she thinks are important.”

More about Alting:

  • She has been married to Steve Alting for 28 years. They have two sons Tyler, 25 and Landon, 21.
  • She enjoys photography and has taken several senior pictures and photographed a few weddings.
  • Her late father Jerry DeHebreard’s father came from France and opened a French restaurant in Martinsville. Her mother is Beann DeHebreard. “Mom has always been the glue that held everything together. She really took care of all of us.”
  • What might surprise people to learn? “There’s a special place in my heart for the homeless. I don’t always talk about it but it is something I’m passionate about. During cold weather we do a big push to collect warm clothes to distribute. I used to dream of owning a big shelter.”

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

IU Health Board Announces Community Health Grants

The Indiana University Health Board of Directors has announced recipients of its Community Health Improvement Grants. With these grants, nearly $750,000 will fund projects that address IU Health priorities—behavioral health/substance abuse, obesity, tobacco use, and infant mortality—as well as community-specific needs.

“The thoughtfulness and collaboration demonstrated in these grant applications further demonstrates my confidence that IU Health is leading the way to solve Indiana’s big health challenges,” said Dennis Murphy, president and chief executive officer of IU Health. “I congratulate the recipients and look forward to seeing solutions that can be rolled out statewide.”

The grants, administered by the Indiana University Health Foundation, will go to:

  • Family Vitality Initiative development and implementation, IU Health South Central Region, $230,000 over two years. By bringing together existing healthcare providers, social workers and researchers, this integrated program will take a holistic approach to addressing substance-related healthcare issues, especially among the most vulnerable populations of women and children. The South Central Region has seen alarming increases in the numbers of infants who test positive for opiates at birth, opioid-related encounters in each emergency department, and mothers struggling with addiction including smoking.
  • Hope Healthcare Services Program, IU Health West, $203,000 over two years. Hope Healthcare Services in Avon is the only entity in Hendricks County that provides primary medical and dental care to uninsured patients. It is staffed entirely by volunteer clinicians, many of them IU Health team members, and helps more than 900 patients a year out of nearly 15,000 uninsured adults in Hendricks County. This grant will fund the clinic’s first-ever employee, a nurse practitioner, allowing for consistent operating hours, and behavioral health services on-site and via tele-health. With this staffed clinic, they anticipate seeing more than 4,000 patients per year. 
  • Perinatal Coordinator to address infant mortality, IU Health East Central Region, $124,000 over two years. This grant funds a new staff member will focus on infants and children in Delaware, Blackford and Jay counties. This includes facilitating inter-professional collaboration, educating hospital staff, increasing collaboration with supporting agencies involved with bereavement, safe sleep, tobacco-free and addiction programs, and tracking outcomes in the areas of birthweight, birth defects and mortality.
  • Continuum of Mental Health Care Program, IU Health West Central Region, $85,247 for one year. In terms of mental illness and access to mental health care, Indiana ranks 48th out of 51 states. In its pilot year, this project will increase capacity to provide screening, support and counseling in Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties by partnering with local providers—Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition, Learning Network of Clinton County, and Open Door Clinic— to offer technical assistance and training.
  • Prescription Drug Take-back Program, IU Health East Central Region, $49,000 over four years. Grant funds will be used to place secure drug take-back kiosks at IU Health pharmacies in Yorktown, Hartford City and two locations in Muncie. Such kiosks make the disposal of medications—including opioids and other controlled substances ripe for abuse and theft—safer and more convenient. The region’s single kiosk now takes in an average of 1,000 pounds of medicine a year; the new kiosks have the potential to collect 4,000 pounds.
  • Fishers Fire Department, Paramedicine Behavioral Response Program, IU Health North Central Region, $43,680 for one year. This pilot project expands the city’s existing paramedicine program to provide direct follow-up and support services for mental health patients. Paramedics specially trained in crisis intervention will act as patient advocates and navigators. The program will also introduce new protocols that decrease patient stress and anxiety during emergency responses, and will divert patients to behavioral services instead of emergency departments when appropriate.

The IU Health Community Health Grants seek to improve community health by supporting collaboration among IU Health Regional Hospital Boards and Community Health Committees, and local resources and programs. 

Grants are awarded to programs that seem most likely to improve access to health services, enhance the health of the community, advance medical or healthcare knowledge, and relieve or reduce the burden of government or other community efforts. Grantees must also build capacity for addressing these community health issues going forward. 

The IU Health Community Health Grants Selection Committee is comprised of the chairs of the Values, Governance and Quality committees of the IU Health Board.

For more information on philanthropy’s critical role in addressing healthcare issues in Indiana, visit iuhealthfoundation.org.

A Special Kind of Love Story

Gregory Cynova hadn’t seen his high school prom date for more than 40 years, but when they reconnected they knew they’d be together forever.

Wearing a Santa hat, Gregory Cynova talks enthusiastically about a recent visit with the jolly old elf. He gets a little giddy when he mentions surprising the nurses at IU Health Simon Cancer Center with trays of holiday cookies, and he grins when he tells that he will complete chemotherapy the end of the month.

But when he talks about Linda – his bride of five years – Cynova’s whole face lights up.

Gregory and Linda were born in the same hospital, attended Junction City High School in Kansas – even went to prom together – and both graduated with the class of 1965. They enrolled in Kansas State University but after two years, Gregory went on to Concordia Lutheran University and Linda remained at Kansas State where she got a degree in education. She later served as a public school teacher in Oklahoma and Kansas for 30 years with a focus on Kindergarten, First- and Second-graders. Gregory was a parochial school teacher for eight years before attending seminary in Fort Wayne.  He served two congregations, Our Savior Lutheran Church, in Evansville for almost 16 years; and Trinity Lutheran Church, in Fort Wayne for 19 years.  He retired at the beginning of 2013 and moved to Franklin to be closer to his daughter, Lisa Cynova.

Both Gregory and Linda married other people and life went on. But it wasn’t without a few bumps in the road.

Gregory was married for 42 years to his first wife. In addition to his daughter, they have a son, Tim, who was born in the same three-month span as Linda’s only son, Scott. She was married for 17 years.

Two days before Gregory’s 40th anniversary his first wife was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (brain cancer). She died two days after their 42nd anniversary.

Linda and Gregory were 22 when they last saw each other.  After his wife died, Gregory went through his class reunion directory to find Linda’s address and wrote her a letter. She was still living in Kansas. They continued to exchange emails for about nine months. In April of 2013, Gregory made the trip to Kansas and they were engaged.

“I officially asked her to marry me on the porch of the Junction City, KS Cracker Barrel, the town where we were both born and raised,” said Gregory.

On June 9, 2013 they were married in a private garden wedding in Evansville. Linda wore a colorful sleeveless dress and a big white hat.

“I wanted to elope but he wanted a wedding,” said Linda. “All of our family attended and it was truly a special day.”

Life was good. The couple enjoyed eating out and traveling – Martha’s Vineyard, Mackinac Island, Mich., and Albuquerque, N.M.  

But on April 25, 2018, Gregory was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His primary physician referred him to IU Health’s Dr. Michael House and on May 22 he underwent the Whipple procedure – a surgery to remove cancerous tumors.

“I spent 30 days in the hospital due to a couple of setbacks,” said Gregory. “My care was exceptional. That’s why I stayed at IU Health for my chemo and future health needs.” Since 2010 he receives Gamma Globulin infusions every three weeks due to a compromised immune system. And Linda is by his side.

“I pursued her in high school but she found someone else,” said Gregory. “I don’t care how long it was. I was determined to make her my bride. We’re both 71 and its never too late.”

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

All about Adult Braces

Braces are not only for the children. Anyone can wear braces. Braces not only create a beautiful smile but also encourage better oral health for a long time.  It is also recommended to improve one’s orafacial appearance. Patients with orthodontic problems can get benefit from treatment at any age. However the ideal time of wearing braces is between 10 to 14 years. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids arrive screened by an orthodontist at the age about 7 because express childhood is the best age because of treatment.  Adults can wear OKC braces to correct minor problems.  Initially you might feel little discomfort. You might feel difficulty eating or speaking.

Braces provide same treatment to the adults as the children. Treatment can take longer time for adults than it does for children. If you didn’t receive any treatment from an orthodontist when you were a child with orthodontic problem such as crooked teeth, underbites or overbites, joint disorder etc, you can choose wearing a brace now. After removing braces you might have to wear a retainer to maintain the treatment result after braces are removed.

Orthodontics is a speciality of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of the teeth and jaws to improve one’s appearance. Crooked tooth are difficult to keep clean and results in tooth decay and different bacterial infection in the gum causing gum diseases.

Choose Braces wisely – Braces are custom made

Depending upon the complexity of the treatment you will have to choose Shawnee  braces for yourself. Also consider the costs involved, How much the braces will correct your problem, How long will you need to wear the braces etc.

Metal braces are most reliable to correct your teeth.  It is the most common. It is attached to the front of the teeth. These have progressed since early days and now these are much lighter. Such used to make of steel that are attached each to teeth using a case of cement. The brackets are linked to each other with an arcwire which puts pressure on the teeth causing move slowly into correct place. The arcwires are connected to the brackets using elastic which an orthodontist change. Clear ceramic braces are also worn on the front of the teeth but they blend with color of the teeth. It gives an unnoticeable appearance. It works in the same way as the traditional one. Only the brackets are made from transparent ceramic material. This makes it a popular pick.

Lingual braces have brackets attaching to the back of teeth. These are hidden.  It is not visible from front.  Invisible braces are clear customised and removable appliances. They will not trap food as they are removable. It is very important to keep your braces clean. Always make sure that you clear the braces properly in order to avoid tooth decalcification. Decalcification of teeth takes place when the level of calcium in your teeth drops. It leaves white spots on your teeth.  These are called aligners. Each aligner is worn for about 2 weeks. One with mild spacing problem in teeth might choose this particular type.

 

Former College Administrator Gets Advice: “Go See Dr. House”

Diagnosed with colorectal cancer Kimberly “Kim” Parker, a former college administrator, took the advice of others and became a patient of Dr. Michael House who specializes in surgical oncology.

“What are you doing here? You’re so young.”

It wasn’t exactly what Kimberly “Kim” Parker wanted to hear. But she knew it was true. She was 38 and she was sitting in the office of a proctologist, a doctor who specializes in disorders of the anus, rectum, and colon.

She had been having abnormal bleeding and an initial screening returned a diagnosis of a fissure. She went home with some topical cream but when her condition didn’t change, she returned to her doctor. A colonoscopy was ordered and she heard the news from surgeons: She has colorectal cancer. It was a year ago this month.

She started chemotherapy and radiation at another hospital but things didn’t go as planned. She was diagnosed with a dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency (DPD). Chemotherapy drugs build up in the body and result in severe side effects in patients with DPD.  Twenty-four hours before she was scheduled for an abdominoperineal resection (APR) to remove the cancerous area, surgery was canceled. A scan showed spots on her liver.

“The doctors were at a loss. This changed everything,” said Parker. There was talk of contacting a doctor at IU Health and then there was more talk from other people – to contact the same doctor. His name was Dr. Michael House – who specializes in surgical oncology.  Specifically, Dr. House’s clinical interests are focused on surgical oncology including the management of primary and secondary hepatic neoplasms, bile duct tumors, benign and malignant diseases of the pancreas, gastric cancer, and sarcoma.  He is a principal or co-investigator of eight clinical studies and trials at IU School of Medicine, and is co-director of the IU Health Pancreatic Cancer Program. 

***

Parker, the mother of daughters Cora, 10 and Molly, 8 has been married to Andrew Parker for 16 years. They met while studying at Milligan College, a Christian liberal arts college in upper east Tennessee. Parker studied human relations with a leadership minor and went on to obtain her masters in divinity. After graduation she worked at her alma mater in student development with a focus on student activities and campus life. She went on to work at Indiana Wesleyan University in student affairs where her husband serves as associate vice president and dean of students. 

After more than a decade working in student development, Kim Parker wanted to spend more time with her two daughters so she developed a spiritual direction practice that offered more flexibility with her work schedule. Her experience with contemplative retreats, yoga, and personal development has helped her navigate a diagnosis that she never expected in her 30s.

“Throughout this journey, I am continually confronted by two realities—the fragility of life and the strength of love and community. Life can change in an instant and it is only through the love and support of those in your ‘village’ that we can walk through adversity in a healthy and successful manner,” said Andrew Parker. “Amidst the uncertainty, the unknowing, she maintains hope and is able to see beauty and wonder in the world around her.”

***

The day Kim Parker called Dr. House he was getting ready to join his family on a spring trip to Disney World. But he had an opening, and Parker got in. He suggested two surgeries at once – one rectal and one liver. She was told she had about a four percent chance it would not be a success.

“I immediately had a good feeling about Dr. House so I switched to IU Health,” said Parker. IU Health’s Dr. Paul Helft serves as her oncologist.

“Dr. Helft was also a large reason why I switched to IU Health,” said Parker. “When I met him the first time, I was very impressed with his interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence. He felt as much like a therapist as a doctor to me. His depth of care was like none I had ever experienced from a doctor. Both Dr. Helft and Dr. House have been pivotal parts of my journey and care.”

Her surgery resulted in a bile leak, and another spot of cancer was found on her liver that was removed during the procedure.

“I healed up from that and focused on a plan to go back to chemotherapy. But then they found more spots on my lungs. I can’t do surgery at this point, so my oncologist has indicated that we’re essentially trying to buy time with the chemotherapy,” said Parker. But she remains hopeful.  A recent scan showed no more growths in the pelvis and abdomen and the lung spots are stable.

“I think I made the best decision to come to Dr. House. Everyone was right,” said Parker. “He knows his stuff  – is super knowledgeable and wants to do the best for his patients. He does it so sacrificially. He even called me from Disney World to see how I felt. He’s very positive and optimistic. That’s exactly what I need right now.”

Her family and spirituality have kept her facing forward. In addition to her daughters and husband, her mom and dad – Linda and Don Becker – have been critical to her support system.

“I think the biggest thing I keep coming back to that centers me and grounds me is first of all I think my own underlying faith and spirituality give me a sense of knowing I’m not alone and to trust in that,” said Parker. “And to trust enough to be present in the moment I’m in. At this point that’s all you have. You don’t realize until you go through something like this how rich you are – what you have every second of the day so I try to relish the moment and all the gifts it has to offer. That’s the best way I’ve learned to make each day happen.”

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

Complexity of Stroke Increases with Dementia Patients

Time Was of the Essence

With a light in her eye, Francis Tamborrino walked into the patient room with her son, Bob Tamborrino, by her side. She was smiling.

“What did you have for breakfast?” the staff asked. Still smiling, she tilted her head in thought but didn’t answer. After a few moments Bob replied, “I asked her earlier and she said she could only remember that it was good.”

“Well, all of the food is good there,” his mom responded.

Francis moved back to Bloomington in 2015 to be near family. Soon after, she started to exhibit memory loss. She was diagnosed with dementia in 2016.

Now, this 87-year-old lives in an apartment at Redbud Hills Retirement Community in Bloomington where she has meals with friends and a standing hair appointment on Fridays. She also visits her family multiple times a week.

This schedule was interrupted at 5:15 pm on November 7, 2017 while she and her friends were waiting for dessert, her favorite part of dinner.

The house manager noticed that Francis was slumped in her chair in the dining room. The right side of her face was drooping, her right arm and leg were weak and it was hard for her to speak. She acted quickly to get her medical attention. Within minutes, Francis was being treated for a stroke by specially-trained medical technicians with the IU Health Stroke Response Team.

IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians provider Mehyar Mehrizi, MD was the on-call neurologist when Francis was brought to the IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency Department. Bob says the team was quick, efficient and “worked as if she were the only patient in the emergency room.”

“Dr. Mehrizi said the words, ‘If this were my mother, this is what I would do,’” said Bob. He immediately consented and the team got to work. In Bloomington, she was given medication to break up the blood clot in her main arteries and then sent by Lifeline to Indianapolis, due to the complexity of the situation.

When Bob arrived at IU Health Methodist Hospital, his mother was resting in recovery.

She stayed there for eight days before returning to her apartment.

“She had an excellent outcome,” says Dr. Mehrizi. “She was completely paralyzed on the right side and now she can move her extremities without any weakness.”

While stroke survivors can have many long-term effects, Francis’s family has only noticed some worsening of her short-term memory. 

Francis has recovered in leaps and bounds since the stroke and has now returned to her independent living at Redbud.

Bob said his mother “continues to receive the highest level of care imaginable from her doctors at IU Health. She actually looks forward to her appointments.”

And other than forgetting exactly what she had for breakfast, it’s almost as if the stroke never happened

Answers from Neurologist Dr. Mehyar Mehrizi

Do you need to look for symptoms other than FAST (Facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, time to call 911) when treating patients with dementia or another debilitating condition?

“The same symptoms apply to patients with dementia or without dementia with regards to evaluating for stroke.”

Noticing if there is a rapid decline in speech abilities is important for people living with dementia who may already have speech difficulties.

How is caring for a stroke patient different when they have already had dementia?

“It is more difficult because the patient will need much closer assistance to make sure they are taking the medications prescribed to reduce risk for future strokes. Also it can be difficult to notice changes in speech or comprehension in someone who has dementia as opposed to the average person.”

Is after-stroke care different?

“The care should be the same, but it is more difficult because patients with dementia have a baseline cognitive problem that may otherwise not be there in the average person who has experienced a stroke. It is also more difficult to assess recovery in a dementia patient as they do not have a typical baseline cognitive status.”

What do you wish all stroke survivors knew about life after a stroke?

“We should think of stroke as a warning sign of an unhealthy lifestyle. It should remind us to pay closer attention and make appropriate changes to living a healthier lifestyle whether it be healthier diet, more exercise, smoking cessation or all of the above.”

What are some early signs of dementia?

“Early signs of dementia include forgetfulness beyond simple inattentiveness or trouble concentrating and trouble with higher cognitive functions such as balancing checkbook and managing finances.”

Local Dementia and Stroke Support

Alzheimer’s Resource Service (ARS)

ARS provides support, resources and assistance to people living with dementias, their caregivers and their families. All services are offered to the community free of charge.

Learn more about ARS.

Caregiver University

ARS provides free Caregiver University sessions in Lawrence and Monroe counties. These events cover useful topics for caregivers, family members and loved ones of people living with dementia.

Find information about upcoming sessions.

Rock Steady Boxing

IU Health offers two levels of classes for different stages of health and physical fitness, and each class builds camaraderie and mutual support among participants. For more information about classes in Bloomington, call 812.353.5664.

Watch a short video on the Rock Steady program.

After-stroke Care

IU Health Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center East offers expert Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy services to south central Indiana. Specialized Community Mobility for Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation with occupational therapists and speech therapy focusing on cognition/executive functioning, as well as speaking and swallowing dysfunction are only a few of the services offered. Call 812.353.3278 for more information.

Featured IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians provider seeing patients for Neurology:
Mehyar Mehrizi, MD
812.676.4460

Kick This Season’s Influenza: Protect Your Family by Getting Vaccinated

Tens of thousands of people die from flu-related complications every year in the United States, many of the victims being 65 years or older. The elderly, the very young, pregnant women and people who are chronically ill have a higher risk of serious flu-related complications.

But it can also be fatal for the young and healthy. The Center for Disease Control reported a total of 169 influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the United States during the 2017-18 winter flu season.

“Every year, the flu viruses cause millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of unfortunate deaths,” said Riley Physicians pediatrician Jeremy Mescher, MD. “CDC data from the 2017-18 season suggests that at least 85 percent of the children who passed away from complications of influenza last year had not received the flu vaccine.”

To reduce the chance of any person getting and passing on the virus, the influenza vaccine is recommended.

Like Clockwork

The influenza virus changes every year, so every year the flu vaccination changes in order to better protect people from the virus strains that are most likely to be in their communities. Last year’s vaccination isn’t likely to cover the strain of flu that is in your community this year. That’s why everyone needs to get their flu shot annually.

“We at Riley Physicians are in support of the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement regarding annual immunization of everyone ages six months and older with the influenza vaccine, including children and
adolescents,” said Dr. Mescher.

Two Weeks 

It can take up to two weeks for the influenza vaccine to create antibodies to fight the flu. People who get their vaccine in early October, or as soon as the vaccine is available, have a better chance of their antibodies working at optimal levels during the brunt of flu season. The Center for Disease Control recommends administering the seasonal influenza vaccine to all age groups as soon as it becomes available.

Common Misconceptions

One area of concern is pregnant women and new mothers. Pregnant women are encouraged to get vaccinated since serious flu complications could develop.

New mothers should also get the vaccine to decrease the possibility of passing the flu virus to their newborn children. 

Another common misconception is that the flu shot can give someone the flu. The injection you receive contains a dead influenza virus, so it can’t give you the flu.

“One of the most common concerns from families is, ‘we received the flu shot last year, and we got the flu,” said Dr. Mescher. “The flu shot can have side effects including fever, headache, and muscle aches. However, a flu vaccine will not cause the flu illness, or any of the complications of the flu.”

Catching the Flu

When a person catches the flu, the symptoms come on very quickly and can be mild or severe. Symptoms may include: fever, cough, sore throat, headaches, tiredness, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose and stuffy nose.

Even people who don’t exhibit flu symptoms can pass on the flu virus to their friends, family and community members. While they don’t feel sick, the virus is still using them as stepping stones, infecting people who could have serious complications from the flu.

Protecting others

The flu vaccine doesn’t just protect the individual taking the precaution, it also protects those around him or her.

Another way to protect others from influenza and other illnesses is by practicing hand hygiene. Viruses and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye, but they can pack quite a punch when they attack the immune system.

The spread of germs can be as simple as a child sneezing into her hand before touching a doorknob. The next person to open the door then brushes their hand over his or her nose. The end  result: a few days later the person is sick in bed.

Washing hands thoroughly with warm water and using hand sanitizer correctly kills bacteria and viruses encountered in everyday life. Sneezing or coughing into a tissue or into the inside of your arm and staying home when you’re sick also limits the spread of the virus.

Regularly disinfecting items such as cell phones, steering wheels, remote controls, door knobs and keyboards are other ways to fight the flu virus.

“Ultimately, receiving the flu shot each fall is the best way to protect oneself and one’s family against the flu,” said Dr. Mescher. “Please talk to your pediatrician regarding when they anticipate having the vaccine in the office for the 2018-19 season.”

Use these tips to help fight influenza this flu season and make your community a safer and healthier place.

Featured Riley Physicians provider:
Jeremy Mescher, MD
812.335.2434

Nurse worked in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean

LaFonda “Fonda” Lillard was once a traveling nurse working in Hawaii and Baltimore. Now she serves patients at IU Health Coleman Center for Women.

People who know her would be surprised to learn that LaFonda “Fonda” Lillard once went snorkeling in the North Pacific Ocean. She’s afraid of water. For three months she served as a traveling nurse in Hawaii. She also had a stint in Baltimore working as a clinical nurse. But the bulk of her career has been with labor and delivery.

She recently joined the team at Coleman Center for Women at IU Health University Hospital where she works with new and expectant moms, along with female patients with other health needs.

Lillard grew up in Ft. Wayne and graduated from the former Paul Harding High School. She is the oldest of three girls – including a sister that is 14 years younger. Lillard said she was shy in high school but excelled in science.

“My middle sister said I fulfill the role of big sister well,” said Lillard. “I’m very nurturing and I think nursing came naturally.” She obtained her nursing degree from Ball State University, worked in med/surg. for three years and then jumped right into labor and delivery.

“I wanted to work with patients one-on-one and with labor and delivery you are working with patients who are well. You are a bridge for them during this important stage of their lives,” said Lillard.

What advice would she like to give to every new mom? “Their time with their baby is their time and how they want to spend that is up to them. They’ll get a lot of advice from family but that time is up to them.”

What advice would she like to give to every woman? “Take good care of your body.”

More about Lillard:

  • She has a 12-year-old Golden retriever named “Nala” who weighs 80 pounds but thinks she’s a 10-pound lap dog.
  • She loves spending time with family and friends.
  • She enjoys working on crafts and makes homemade gifts.
  • She loves watching super hero movies especially those based on DC and Marvel comics.

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

How To Overcome The Stress Neck Pain

The best way to overcome stress neck pain is to treat both the mind and the body. Treating the mind could help reduce stress and tension, while treating the body could help overcome the physical manifestations which often come in the form of Oklahoma chronic neck pain. Here are a few proven and time-tested exercises which could be useful in more ways than one.

Neck Stretches

 Neck stretches if done regularly can help loosen the muscle and tissue tightness and give the much needed relief from neck pain caused by various factors including stress. It also could help to keep the range of motion in tact as far as the muscles of the neck are concerned. While doing these exercises it is always better to take Owasso  Chiropractor expert opinion. Identifying the right trigger point exercises for the pain is vital and important.

Taking The Help of Cognitive Behavior Therapy

 Opting for cognitive behavioral therapy has been known to help those who are suffering from stress and tension. It could help them to develop thought patterns and habits that are healthy. One could even try and take help from an online or brick and mortar support forum. You can share your problems and concerns and there are many who would be willing to offer a supportive hand to alleviate the problem.

Importance Of Meditation

 Meditation is a proven and time-tested method by which one can overcome stress and tension. It certainly can help to soothe the nerves and play a vital role in calming ones thought and anxieties. There are quite a few videos and other resource materials available on the internet which certainly could be helpful in more ways than one.

Acupuncture And Massaging

 There is no doubt that a combination of Oklahoma City acupuncture and massaging can certainly play a big role in relieving stress and tension. It also is known to play a positive role in easing and relaxing the tightness of the shoulder and neck muscles. However, it has to be done under expert guidance and care because wrong massaging could lead to sprains and other problems. Pressure point therapy such as acupuncture is also known to help in more ways than one. Here again the role of experts is extremely important.

Taking Help From Friends And Family

 Neck pain caused by stress and tension might require the help and assistance of family members. They need to come out with a helping hand and share the load for some time. There are quite a few things that friends an d family members can do. Simple things like running errands or massaging the neck area and muscles could certainly be a big relief for the affected persons.

The Importance Of Exercise

 Exercise apart from helping the body to remain in shape, also assists the mind. Regular exercising releases and hormone called endorphins and these could result in dulling of pain and could also promote overall feeling of well being.

The Impact Of Low Impact Aerobic Exercise

There are a number of low impact aerobic exercises which could be done regularly under the help and assistance of doctors and physical trainers. They help in making the neck muscles supple and loosen the tightness which often develops because of lack of use and eve because of excessive build up of stress.

Before She Was a Candidate, Gene Therapy Was on Her Radar

Lori Ann Haalck was no stranger to a groundbreaking cancer treatment offered at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. She’s now among the first adult patients to receive gene therapy known as CAR-T cell.

Cancer is no stranger to Lori Haalck’s family. She comes from a blended family of six and has lost three siblings to cancer. Her father also lost his battle and her husband of 28 years, Heath Haalck, just completed treatments for prostate cancer.

“We’ve had a crazy couple of years. God just keeps us going,” said Haalck, 48.  She and her husband are the parents of two daughters – Alyssa, 22 and Brooke, 19. Both are students at IU Kokomo. Her mom Trisha Van Kamp has also been by her side.

“Our community has been very supportive,” said Haalck, who works as a stylist at La Revive Salon and Day Spa. The salon helped out by offering discounted products to customers. Heath Haalck is a captain with the Kokomo Police Department and head of the motorcycle unit. Friends and family members came together for a motorcycle rally and also a red carpet gala.

Haalck’s journey started in March of 2017. She was having back pain that was like nothing she’s every experienced. She first went to her family practitioner near her Howard County home. She ended up in ER and tests confirmed she has Diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma (DLBCL or DLBL), a cancer of B cells – the white blood cells responsible for producing antibodies. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among adults and accounts for about 4.3 percent of all new cancer cases.

“I don’t know what are typical symptoms because mine started in the bone. I felt the pain on my left side,” said Haalck. She first completed six weeks of R-Chop chemotherapy – a monoclonal antibody drug, a group of targeted therapies.  Within a month, she relapsed and the cancer was in her right femur. Last December she had a stem cell transplant and was clear for nine months. Then the cancer returned.

“It’s kind of crazy because when I was first diagnosed my daughter came to me and said ‘mom, you need to read this article on CART-T cell. This is what you need to have done,’” said Haalck. It wasn’t a feasible treatment then, but her daughters continued to research the treatment – one is a premed major and one is a biology/physiological science major.

“They both wrote papers on CART-T cell so by the time it became an option, it was already on our radar,” said Haalck. When she again relapsed, she started treatments under the care of IU Health hematologist/oncologist Dr. Michael Robertson.

CAR-T cell is the gene therapy that uses custom-made cells to attack a patient’s own specific cancer. CAR-T cell therapy allows doctors to isolate T-lymphocyte cells – the body’s cells that fight infections and are active in immune response. The T cells are then engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that targets a protein on a patient’s cancer cells, attaches to them and eventually kills them. Indiana University Health is the only site in Indiana to administer the treatment.

“I feel good other than a nasty taste in my mouth that can only be described as tomato soup and garlic,” said Haalck, just a day after her treatment. “I’ve been thrilled with the nurses and doctors here – how attentive they’ve been.”

She’s hopeful for the future. “My Goddaughter told me that she doesn’t need to pray for me anymore because Jesus told her I’ve been healed. I hope that is true,” said Haalck. “ I want to see my daughters finish college and get married. I want to enjoy grandchildren and I want to travel.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org. Follow her on Twitter @tjbanes.