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 iuhealth.org/foundation.

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 tfender1@iuhealth.org

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 tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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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Phone: (850) 244-2883

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 tfender1@iuhealth.org.

Texas Resident is Bringing Out the Boxing Gloves

Diagnosed with Stage III seminoma testicular cancer Texas resident Travis Visitew came to IU Health Simon Cancer Center seeking help from Dr. Lawrence Einhorn.

Hanging on the post of Travis Visitew’s bed inside the bone marrow transplant unit of IU Health University Hospital is a set of tiny pink and red boxing gloves. They were a gift from a family whose daughter was in and out of the hospital with complications resulting from Down syndrome.

The tiny little gloves serve as a reminder to Visitew and his wife or 12 years, Megan.

“Coincidentally, I got my first stem cell transplant on Dec. 26, which is Boxing Day,” said Visitew, who was raised in Alberta, Canada. The origins of Boxing Day date back to a time when aristocrats distributed Christmas boxes to their employees. Today, Canadians observe it as an extension to the Christmas holiday. But for Visitew, it was a chance at a new start.

The 5’10 father of three girls – ages 14, 11, and 8 – Visitew was once a running back on his high school football team and wrestled in a 167-lb weight class. He went on to play rugby while attending college in Montana. He earned his degree in engineering and began working as a petroleum engineer. His career took the family to Europe for a time and they eventually ended up in Midland, TX.

In November of 2017, Visitew played a full court basketball game with friends and woke up the next day with what he calls a “crazy back pain.” For a guy who typically has a high tolerance, the pain took him to the floor. At first he thought he had kidney stones or appendicitis. A CT Scan showed otherwise.

“I remember the words of the doctor so well, ‘I’m sorry Mr. Visitew but we found several large masses in your abdomen. There were no masses on my testicles but one mass in my abdomen was the size of a six-inch sub sandwich,” said Visitew.

Looking back, he says there were signs long ago – maybe as far back as 14 years ago. “One testicle was a different size than the other,” said Visitew. “When you’re young and you’re thinking of your future together and family, you don’t think about cancer and no one really talks about testicular cancer like they do breast cancer and some of the other cancers. This has definitely made us more aware,” said his wife.

Visitew completed rounds of chemotherapy in Texas. And from February until September 2018, it seemed he was in remission. Through a social media forum, Visitew learned about IU Health Simon Cancer Dr. Lawence Einhorn, known throughout the world for his successful treatment of testicular cancer – germ cell tumors – using a mix of high does chemotherapies and peripheral stem cell transplant.

Visitew first met Dr. Einhorn in April 2018. “He was just like the sweetest man and knew everything. He has a photographic memory – he recalled everything from my scans,” said Visitew. “It just gave me a sense of peace.”

At that time, Dr. Einhorn felt the chemotherapy had tackled Visitew’s cancer and he had about a 98 percent chance of recurrence. But by September the back pain returned and Visitew’s blood tests showed his markers were on the rise.  He had just changed jobs and was worried how his new company would react to the latest hurdle. But the support was overwhelming.

“We are so blessed,” said Megan Visitew. “We have had people come and hang our Christmas lights, prepare meals, plan fundraisers and help pay our travel expenses and medical bills. I have thought so often throughout this that there are so many causes raising money for research which is great, but it would be great if a percentage of that helped families pay for the expenses of travel and treatment.”

The boxing match was on. Travis’ buddies created t-shirts with the slogan: “Testicular Cancer Warriors.”

In early October Visitew returned to Indianapolis where Dr. Timothy Masterson performed surgery to remove the tumors in his abdomen. Later that same month, the pain returned – this time in his chest. By November, Visitew learned there were more tumors.

“I was freaking out. This was a year after my first diagnosis and I thought we tackled it,” said Visitew, 36. He and his wife returned to Indianapolis in early December and he began chemotherapy in preparation for the dual stem cell transplants. A scan after his first stem cell transplant showed the tumors are shrinking.

“She’s been here all but four days when she went back to be with the girls. I couldn’t do it without her. She’s super positive and makes me smile every day,” said Visitew. The girls, who are in the full-time care of a nanny, flew to Indianapolis after opening their Christmas gifts at home. Visitew and his wife keep in touch through Face time.

“Everyone here has been great but it’s still been tough being away from my girls,” said Visitew. “The nurses have been amazing helping me manage the side effects of the chemo. I feel like it’s been a terrible experience but in the end it’s going to be a good thing. Every day I’m in here I feel more grateful for getting a second chance, getting my priorities straight and remembering the importance of family.”

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

IU Health Tipton Hosts Korean Nursing Students

IU Health Tipton Hospital recently hosted nursing students from Korea. The Korean students are senior level nursing students, and each year they come for two weeks to visit Indiana University Kokomo (IUK). 

The nursing faculty takes a special interest in making their trip meaningful. Each year the students visit the IU Health Tipton Hospital clinical group and teams up with the IUK students to compare and contrast how our nurse’s training is similar or different from their training in Korea. This cultural experience is meaningful to both the Korean students as well as the IU Health Tipton staff. 

Our staff is so supportive to answer questions, include the students and really make the Korean students and instructors feel welcome. 

The students team up with an IUK clinical student for the morning. The student shows them how they care for the patient in our western culture. In Korea, the family takes care of hygienic needs and feeding the patient. They take care of ambulating the patient. 

The Korean students learned about fall risks, gait belts and nonskid footwear to prevent falls. They learned about chair alarms, bed alarms and hourly rounding to prevent falls. We showed them our med carts and the Pyxis machine that gives us access to meds on the floor. 

They were in awe about programming our Alaris pumps to assist us in safe delivery of meds to our patient. The patients enjoyed talking to the students and the interactions were very meaningful. The students love to communicate in the English language, and they are so pleased that others want to interact with them. 

The Korean students value relationships and giving presents to solidify these relationships. The pictures made the Korean students feel they were a part of the group, and IU Health Tipton gave them each a bear that has the logo of IU Health Tipton on the T-shirt. 

They loved the present, and we took a picture of them with their bears. It was personal and a way for them to remember their IU Health Tipton experience. The medical/surgical unit also bought their lunch in The Gathering Place. The students and instructor were so appreciative of our efforts to make them feel welcome.

Interpreter, Translator, Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges

Rafael Mendez sees his job as providing all patients and families with equal opportunities to quality healthcare. He does that by listening, teaching, and making communication accessible to all.

There’s a story about a patient who had diabetes. She had been working diligently to follow the guidelines of her dietitian. And yet, her condition wasn’t improving. She explained repeatedly that she had stayed within recommendations – cutting her starch intake. She had cut back to three tortillas a day – which should have reduced her carbohydrates significantly.

The dietitian was stumped. The patient was stumped.

Rafael Mendez was there to help with interpretation. As he heard the patient speak he recognized her accent. She wasn’t from Mexico; she was from Central America. 

“The tortillas in Central America are a whole lot bigger than the tortillas in Mexico. They were both talking about tortillas but they were talking about two different tortillas,” said Mendez. The revelation was all in a day’s work for Mendez, who has worked at IU Health since 2012. He started his career in medical interpretation working in California. In 1999 he moved to Indiana and worked for a time with the Hispanic Center helping families secure special assistance with utilities and housing. He also helped formalize a program that connected Spanish-speaking residents with language services and employment. He continued his work with the Indianapolis Public Library, designing and implementing programming and services for the growing immigrant population. At IU Health, Mendez is one of several interpreters/translators working with patients, families, and caregivers at Riley, Methodist and University Hospitals. He also works at the outlying clinics.

His days range from speaking with a mother in labor and delivery, to parents of a child in the cancer unit.

“There’s a lot of parent care/education, end-of-life and doctor updates that we are called for,” said Mendez. “We also do a lot of mental and behavioral health working with chaplains, and social workers. We even work with human resources sometimes when they are hiring staff.

“We don’t have chaplains, nutritionist or social workers that speak Spanish so to offer equal access to patients is so important. For me it is very motivating. When a chaplain goes into an English-speaking room, the service is so much more in depth, so meaningful. I feel like I can help create that feeling for Spanish-speaking patients.”

As he talks to Nallely Lopez Rivas, the mother of patient Brittany Midence Lopez, Mendez is animated and consoling. He wants to be sure she understands not only conditions but also pending treatments. He wants to give her assurance.

“It’s so important that we break down language barriers and make sure they know we are here for them,” said Mendez. “I think the thing I like best about my job is that

I can see results of what I do right away. There’s a sense of accomplishment that you are part of a team that is trying to give the best outcomes to patients and families.”

More about Mendez:

  • He is from El Salvador. His father died when he was young and his mother made her way to the United States seeking better opportunities for her family. She left Mendez and his two siblings with family and returned for them six years later. The family moved to Oakland, Calif. where Mendez attended Oakland public schools and then enrolled at UC Berkley. “Mom was smart in the sense she knew there were no opportunities in El Salvador.  She was brave. She not only had to make the trip to the United States, she had to leave behind the people she loved, and she also came to a place where she didn’t know anyone. She didn’t know the country and she didn’t know the language.”
  • Mendez is the father of five children ages 6 to 20. He has been married for 12 years to his wife Dulce.
  • He likes playing soccer and reading and learning about different cultures.

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

Circle of Support: Women With Cancer

The Cancer Resource Center at IU Health Simon Cancer Center recently introduced a new cancer support group for women.

They come from various walks of life. They are different ages. Some are newly diagnosed; others have been on their cancer journey for years. Some have shared their fears with family members; others have remained silent – that is until recently.

“I felt out of sorts when I got the news. I didn’t want to start treatment yet. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted to get grounded first, get used to the idea,” said one women who recently learned she has endometrial cancer.

They are all survivors and they are coming together the first Monday of the month for a support group just for women.

“Cancer can make a person feel so alone, even if they have an abundance of love and support,” said women’s health nurse practitioner Tricia Grabinski, who facilitates the group along with social worker Maggie Sutterfield. “My hope for this group is to provide a comforting environment where women in different stages of their journey can share their fears, frustrations, and challenges with other women who understand and empathize. They can embrace each other and help each other cope and adjust. Ultimately, I hope to expand this to include a peer mentoring program to form bonds between women with similar circumstances.”

The first night was spent getting acquainted and acknowledging commonalities – the fear of losing hair during chemotherapy, the lack of energy, the loss of appetites, and the reactions from family, friends and strangers. They’ve heard the diagnosis of cervical cancer, leukemia, lung and ovarian cancer. Most are surrounded by networks of providers and protectors. But still they are searching for the understanding that comes directly from those who are on similar journeys.

“This is my fourth time with cancer. The first time was when I was pregnant with my daughter,” said JoNell Stevenson, Carmel. “Early on I found another woman who provided great support. Later when I had a stem cell transplant another woman came into my life. It is true; your circle of support comes in all forms. I am looking forward to this group.”

The next Women’s Cancer Support Group will meet Feb. 4. Dinner and registration is from 5-6 p.m. The group meets from 6-7:30 p.m. in the first floor of IU Health Simon Cancer Center.

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