Let’s Play

by Lila Lazarus

“You’ll find more happiness growing down than up.” – Anonymous

Being an adult stinks. There’s pressure, stress, bills, constant obligations and a growing list of aches and pains. Going to work every day means putting on work clothes, sitting in the car, sitting in the office or cubicle, being serious, doing so many “important” things and then sitting in traffic on the way home again. So, I’ve made my decision. I’m going to be a kid for the rest of my life. Forget the fact that I’m more than a half-century old, I’m no longer going to act my age. (Actually, if I’m honest, I never have.) Continue reading “Let’s Play”

Be Present

One year after sharing his hopeful story, Kenn Sheats opens up about facing cancer recurrence

Sitting in a corner of Joe’s Java, Kenn Sheats sips on a latte. Sporting a baseball cap and button-down shirt, he’s trimmer than a year ago – a sign that his body has endured much change over the last 12 months, since the first time he publicly shared his cancer journey.

“I want today to be the best. Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe it’ll be worse. We’ll deal with it tomorrow, you know?” he said. Something in his smile suggests this pearl of wisdom was learned the hard way.

Today, Kenn is on the other side of his battle with mantle cell lymphoma, which took him on many twists and turns. His calendar is now full of follow-up visits, regular lab work, meticulous medication tracking and a much-anticipated return to his job as a patient access training coordinator for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. And, for all of it, he says, he is grateful. Continue reading “Be Present”

Leaders, Teachers, Healers

Meet Kathleen Beekman, MD, Medical Director of Infusion and Genetic Services, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Michigan, one of five kids.  I went to medical school and did my residency at the University of Michigan and earned an Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering.  I live with my husband, who is a hand surgeon, and our three children in an 1880s Victorian home that we restored.

How did you choose your specialty?
It came down to a combination of two things.  The first is that with oncology you have the chance to build relationships with your patients and the second is that oncology patients have a level of complexity that I find challenging.  Since my internship, I’ve always loved taking patient histories and hearing how they describe their symptoms.  Knowing how their symptoms connect to the latest knowledge of the disease and treatment is key to helping them.  There’s always something new to learn and ways to improve care and outcomes for patients. Continue reading “Leaders, Teachers, Healers”

Happy Me Month

by Lila Lazarus

This is the season of holidays for other people. First, I was buying Mother’s Day gifts. Then I’m looking for Father’s Day gifts. There are several graduation days on the calendar and a few wedding days, too. So I’m throwing out an idea for a new holiday: Me Day. Or maybe even Me Month. Hear me out.

Unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone.

This probably sounds so selfish or self-centered. And it’s supposed to. We’re so afraid to blatantly focus on No. 1. And when we do, we often feel guilty. But unless we take care of ourselves, we’re no good to anyone. We hear it so often in yoga: You can’t pour from an empty cup. We need to take care of ourselves first. Unless we really give ourselves some true TLC body, mind and spirit—we’re no good at work, at home or in the community. So here’s my suggestion: Take the next 30 days, (yes, a full month!) and focus on you. And in case your me-muscle is as out of shape as mine, here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Get a full night’s sleep every night for a month.  Can you even imagine that? I’d be happy to just get a full night’s sleep two or three days in a row. Your mood, productivity, relationships, waistline, EVERYTHING would improve. So many sleep studies have linked our bad sleeping habits to poor performance at work, car accidents, anger, depression, not to mention heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This one step could change the world.

IMG_2191[1]
That’s me meditating in the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas.
Meditate every morning.  It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. Even five minutes can change the course of your day by putting things in perspective. I know when I really commit to a morning mediation on a daily basis my day starts off with more energy and balance. I just feel happier. And there are so many meditation apps now that can help you through the process. And you can meditate anywhere.

Move. If you want to transform your body, mind and spirit—go for a walk every day. Stretch, do yoga, go for a run. It will boost your energy and help relieve anxiety and stress.

Don’t move. Make sure you also carve out time in your day to relax and restore. It doesn’t have to be a nap. It’s just a conscious slowing down. This is the hardest one for me. I need to make a conscious commitment to doing less.

Say no. I don’t think I even know how to pronounce the word “no.” But saying yes all the time is killing me. Saying yes is a great excuse not to take care of yourself. So during Me-Month I’m simply not available unless the request aligns with my mission and values. Sure, I’ll still have to work and keep up with responsibilities, but during certain sacred hours: early in the morning, during my normal workout time, and in the evenings, sorry, the answer is no.

Get to the doctor. It’s the last thing we have time for. Too many of us wait until we’re sick to get the care we need. And if you’re like me, you’re overdue for everything. I’m overdue for the dentist, the gynecologist, I still haven’t scheduled my physical, my mammogram (which is months overdue) or a bone density test. Last year my doctor gave me the paperwork for a colonoscopy and I never followed up. It’s on my to-do list every single day and yet, I never make the call. One hour at the doctor could add years to my life and help relieve any worries. During Me-Month all appointments will hereby be scheduled.

If we all get better in touch with ourselves, we’ll be way better at getting in touch with each other. Let me know what you think of Me-Month. I can already envision the Hallmark cards we could send to ourselves:  “In a world of change…open the card…Thank you for being my only constant.” Or just “Thinking of You Me!

Lila Lazarus Photo_resizedLila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.

Be Hopeful

John Huling returned to his favorite fishing hole after beating throat cancer

John Huling loves nature. When he’s not fixing cars at the auto repair shop, he’s either casting a line at the lake or tending to the vegetable garden at his Milan home.

John_Huling_01In 2016, John began experiencing severe ear pain and trouble swallowing. At first, John’s doctors didn’t find anything wrong. Seeking answers, he ended up at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. A CAT-scan revealed a tumor pushing on a nerve on the inside of John’s throat leading to the constant pain he was feeling.

The cancer diagnosis hit him like a sudden tug on his fishing pole and cast his future in doubt. Within hours, however, the cancer team at St. Joe’s Cancer Center had mobilized and developed a treatment plan for John.

“They told me about the tumor around midnight on a Thursday. By Friday afternoon, I already had a biopsy and was preparing for a trach,” John said. “I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting this and it all happened so fast”

“There were times I felt stressed. There were times I was afraid. I am very thankful to you for helping me through all of it. You listened. You cared. You all became like family to me.”

The trach, a surgically created hole in the front of the neck, provided relief from the mass impacting his airway. John met radiation oncologist Eva Bieniek, MD, and the rest of the St. Joe’s cancer team. He underwent weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, while relying on a feeding tube for nourishment.

Throughout his treatment, John took time off work as a mechanic but found solace tending to his vegetable garden. At first, John couldn’t speak and communicated through notes to his family and health care team.

“You and the entire team met with me to talk through my treatment plan, which addressed many of my questions and eased my fears,” John wrote in a letter to Dr. Bieniek. “There were times I felt stressed. There were times I was afraid. I am very thankful to you for helping me through all of it. You listened. You cared. You all became like family to me.”

This past summer, John returned to his favorite fishing hole and reflected on his cancer journey. The mist was thick in the cold morning air but the lake was pristine and calm. The sun was slowly starting to rise, like the new hope John had.

“I love to fish and that day was extra special. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know if I’d have another summer to fish. But now, I’m cancer free. It’s been a life changing year but I have a new lease on life.”

For more information about breast cancer prevention and treatment programs at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, visit www.stjoeshealth.org/cancercare. To speak with a representative, please call 1-877-712-HOPE.

Learn More

Register for 2018 Washtenaw County Heart Walk

2018-04-13 16_03_38-2018 Heart Walk Event Flyer (2).pdf - Adobe AcrobatANN ARBOR – Register for the American Heart Association’s Washtenaw County Heart Walk on Saturday, May 5 at Eastern Michigan University’s Rynearson Stadium. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is a proud sponsor of this annual event. See flyer

8 a.m. – Grounds Open / 5K Registration
8:30 a.m. – Timed 5K Begins
9 a.m. – Vendor Tables and Activities Begin

11 a.m. – Walk Begins
Free to Walk! | Timed 5K Run: $35
(5K includes finishers medal)

To register, visit: washtenawheartwalk.org

Join Us for our Summer Healthy Kick-Off – May 19

CANTON – Join us on Saturday, May 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. for our annual Healthy Kick-Off event at St. Joseph Mercy Canton Health Center. Print flyer

This free, fun-filled afternoon will feature bike helmets and fittings, digital fingerprinting, Health Exploration Station, health screenings, players from AFC Ann Arbor, a rock wall and teddy bear clinic.

Enjoy family fun including:

  • Arctic Edge Street Hockey
  • Family Exercise Mini Sessions
  • Free Bike Helmets and Fittings | Supply limited to first 100 kids
  • Health Exploration Station
  • Health Screenings: Skin Cancer, Blood Pressure and More
  • Meet Players from AFC Ann Arbor, Semi Pro Soccer Team
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Teddy Bear Clinic

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information, visit our website.

Get Rid of Your Bucket List

by Lila Lazarus

For years I talked about climbing Machu Picchu. I told people,“It’s on my bucket list.” I dreamed about it. I swore that one day I would find the time, the money, the adventurous travel partner, and live out my dream. But year after year, something else came up, or money was tight, or time was limited and it never happened. Machu Picchu became a symbol for me of not living my dreams. And as years turned into decades, I realized time is eventually going to run out. That’s the problem with bucket lists, they don’t have a time limit.

What’s on your bucket list? If you want to live your dreams in this lifetime, you first have to know what your dreams are. That’s what the bucket list is all about. It’s a blueprint of the life you wish you were living. But I no longer have one. Why? Because  a bucket list is a list of things you want to do someday, one day. It should be called “My Dream List.”  It’s a list of castles in the air, pie in the sky, pipe dreams that never turn into reality. I believe in living that list— not dreaming about it. Continue reading “Get Rid of Your Bucket List”

How Much Ibuprofen is Too Much?

by Karyn Repinski

This article was originally published on Sharecare.

Charan-CheemaNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are some of the most commonly used medications, with more than 30 billion doses taken annually in the US alone. Unfortunately, NSAIDs aren’t just widely used: they’re also widely abused, with nearly one out of seven users going over the daily limit, according to a January 2018 study from the Boston University School of Medicine.

That may not seem like a big deal, but NSAIDs can have serious side effects—even when taken as prescribed, says Charan K. Cheema, DO, a family medicine physician with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Saline, Michigan. And because side effects are dose-related, overdoing it makes them even more likely, leading to bigger problems than the aches, pain and fever you originally took the meds for.
Continue reading “How Much Ibuprofen is Too Much?”

Seed to Stomach Summer Camps offered at The Farm

camp kids adults hoopANN ARBOR – Come to The Farm at St. Joe’s for a learning and cooking adventure! We’ll explore fresh flavors, harvest delicious produce and create healthy snacks that are easy and fun to make. Each day includes hands-on activities as we discover why nutritious food is good for us, how food is grown and how we can develop our skills in the kitchen.

Session One: June 25-29
Session Two: August 13-17

Children attend with an adult. Please bring a water bottle for each participant.

Instructor: Laura Meisler, Education Coordinator, The Farm at St. Joe’s

Location:
The Farm at St. Joe’s
5557 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

Learn more about The Farm.