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.

 

Be Blessed

A routine self-exam leads to life-saving treatment for mother of two

Michelle Docherty found a lump in her breast during a self-exam. How could this be? Almost a year ago, Michelle’s mammogram was clear.

Things progressed quickly for the 47-year-old mother of two from Lake Orion.

Michelle called her OB/GYN on a Friday and saw her physician on Monday morning. A mammogram and biopsy occurred within days. On her kids’ first day of school, she got the call – breast cancer.

“My doctor told me it was curable,” Michelle recalled. “She said to remember that, even though I would be going through a lot of scary things. It was jarring to say the least. Right away I thought of both of my kids. I didn’t want to do anything that would distract them from school. I was also thinking of my husband. My life. I wanted to be here.”

“I just had an overall feeling that I was in fantastic hands.”

The day after her diagnosis, Michelle and her husband met with Amy Kirby, MD, surgeon.  Michelle was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2.

“As we were going over my plan, it felt like an out-of-body experience,” recalled Michelle. “I remember thinking I know that she’s talking to me, it just didn’t feel like I was there. I remember at one point in the conversation she told me that the plan was to get me to 95 years old. Something else will take me, not this cancer. I said, ‘I like that. I’ll do whatever I have to do.’”

After that day, Michelle felt like she was living in the “land of appointments.” Thankfully, her husband was able to manage them for her. Her care was guided by Sarah Riaz, MD, an oncologist at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. Michelle had 16 treatments of chemotherapy over a 20-week period, surgery, and finally six weeks of radiation treatments to burn out any remaining cancer cells.

Her new diagnosis: no remaining cancer.

“I just had an overall feeling that I was in fantastic hands,” Michelle said.

“My physicians, Dr. Riaz and Dr. Kirby, were warm and caring. These are very knowledgeable women and I knew I was in capable hands. I knew if I did everything they told me to do, I would be okay. They were very patient with me and answered all of my questions.

“They played such a crucial role in giving me my life back. I could tell I mattered to them.”

On Michelle’s last day of radiation treatment, her radiation therapist gave her a blue rubber bracelet with the encryption, strength.  Her son wears it every day.  He says it’s his most prized possession.

“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough,” Michelle said. “I almost see my breast cancer as an unexpected blessing. So many amazing people became a part of my life. My gratefulness far outweighs the bad experiences. Sometimes the road to getting better isn’t very pretty, but I’m going to be okay. It was important for my kids to see that sometimes life is really hard but you can always face it and get through it.”

Since Michelle’s treatments ended, she has started making more time for herself. She pays closer attention to her health and she believes she has a better outlook on life.

If you would like to learn more about St. Joseph Mercy Oakland’s cancer programs, call 1-877-712-HOPE or visit stjoeshealth.org/cancercare-breast.

Learn More

Be in tune with your body

Tanya McLeod credits God, family and St. Mary Mercy Livonia for courageous fight against colorectal cancer

Listen to your body. If something feels wrong, go to the doctor. These are the words 61-year-old Inkster resident Tanya McLeod lives by.

Tanya was feeling constipated, bloated and had stomach cramps. She felt pain near her tailbone when she walked. It wasn’t until she found blood in her stool that she knew this wasn’t merely the realities of getting older. She knew her body was telling her something so she made an appointment with her primary care physician.

During her exam, Tanya’s physician felt something abnormal and referred her for a colonoscopy. She received her diagnosis on June 24, 2015 – stage two colorectal cancer.

Accompanied by her husband, two children, mother, sister, and sister-in-law, Tanya met with radiation oncologist Samir Narayan, MD and his team at St. Mary Mercy Livonia. At this first meeting, they gained an honorary family member, she said.

“That day, we gained a family friend; more like I gained a brother. The whole staff is like my extended family.”

“I was scared and feared the worst,” recalled Tanya. “All of that fear and uncertainty melted away when I met Dr. Narayan. I felt an immediate connection with him. With a smile that is so genuine it reaches his eyes, it’s hard not to feel comfortable with him.”

“That day, we gained a family friend; more like I gained a brother. The whole staff is like my extended family,” she continued.

Tanya underwent six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. It wasn’t easy. On the sixth week, she felt something was off but was so close to being done that she pushed it aside. But she couldn’t fool the radiation oncology staff.

“They knew when I came in that something wasn’t right just by how I was walking,” she said. “The office staff put me in a wheel chair and took me up to the Cancer Center. I was admitted and spent nine days in the hospital. I’m so thankful they were all so in tune with me and cared about my well-being.”

This minor setback didn’t get her down. After being released from the hospital, Tanya finished her treatments.

While in recovery, she faced a few more setbacks. Part of her colon and intestine were removed due to the side effects of the chemo and radiation. Through it all, she stayed positive and credits God, her family and the St. Mary Mercy staff for providing the help and support needed to overcome her diagnosis and become a survivor.

“As of Nov. 30, 2017, I am two years cancer free!” Tanya exclaimed. “I am so thankful I am still here. The Lord gave me a second chance at life.”

In a letter Tanya wrote to Dr. Narayan, she expressed her gratitude for him and his staff. She wrote:

I continue to thank God for each and every one of you. I am a new creature in Christ! I am courage! I am fearless! I am a survivor! I am remarkable!”

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

Learn More

Be Courageous

Kellie finds hope and healing with the breast cancer care team at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s Cancer Center

The diagnosis – stage 3 breast cancer – left Kellie Ulloa in shock and disbelief. The 47-year old mother of four from Grass Lake thought of all the possible outcomes to her health and future. But mainly, she felt terrified.

No one in her family had a history of breast cancer. And only five months before her diagnosis, Kellie’s routine mammogram had come back normal. Yet, she knew something wasn’t right.

Kellie contacted her primary care physician and a few tests later she was diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer not regularly visible on a 2D mammogram but often caught with 3D mammography.

The terror she felt from the diagnosis melted into hope and optimism when she met with Kathleen Beekman, MD and her care team from St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s Cancer Center.

“I knew in that moment, I would make it through this storm,” she said.

Kellie’s team went over her treatment plan in detail, and answered every question sincerely and thoroughly. “They really put my mind at ease,” she recalled.

From that first meeting in 2016, Kellie underwent four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments over a sixteen-month period. Her care team was with her every step of the way.

“I cannot express to you how thankful I am for the courage you have given me along this rocky journey.”

Two years later, Kellie is in remission. She’s an advocate for mammograms – telling all her friends to choose the 3D mammography at St. Joe’s Chelsea so even the tiniest cancer located in a hidden spot can be detected early.

In addition, Kellie participates in a clinical trial that helps cancer survivors following treatment. Each week, a coach works with her to create and maintain a healthy diet and integrate exercise into her daily routine.

Kellie is grateful for Dr. Beekman and the entire St Joe’s Chelsea team for helping her through the biggest challenge of her life.

“I cannot express to you how thankful I am for the courage you have given me along this rocky journey,” Kellie wrote in a letter to Dr. Beekman.

“With your guidance and support, I knew I was never alone. You cared for me, never seeing myself as just another cancer patient, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Your quality and integrity as a doctor, and more importantly, as a person, shine through.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

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

Learn More