Santa Returns to St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Cancer Center

William Coleman, a former cancer patient beloved by his many caregivers, surprised patients, staff and physicians at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor on Dec. 19.

ANN ARBOR – When William Coleman first donned his velveteen Santa Claus costume last year, he had no idea he was starting a new tradition.

Coleman, who was diagnosed two years ago with colon, bladder and prostate cancer, completed his treatments in December 2016, and visited his infusion clinic nurses last year, cancer-free.

The visit was so popular, Coleman decided to come back, this time to the newly renovated Cancer Center, to spread good cheer to patients and to thank his doctors, nurses and other caregivers. He handed out candy canes, shared words of encouragement, and posed for photos.

Santa made the rounds through the infusion clinic, IHA offices and radiation oncology, before making his final stop visiting his colorectal surgeon, Amanda McClure, MD, and nurse practitioner, Diana Rego. 

Time is Moving Too Fast

by Lila Lazarus

Stop it. It can’t possibly be the end of the year. How did the months fly by? Where did the time go? 2019?! That sounds like some futuristic date in an Orwell novel. Yes, we’ve all heard the older you get, the faster time flies. But this was warp speed.

I remember people saying that if you do the same thing day in and day out, your days will just blend together and move faster. But that’s not my situation. No two days are alike and yet they’ve vanished. Twelve months passed in an instant! I think it slipped by because I wasn’t being a very good witness. I didn’t observe as closely as I could have.

In yoga, we’re told to stay in the moment. Be present.  You’ll be more aware, more focused and less apt to let time drift by unnoticed. I don’t do this on a regular basis,  but I’m determined to savor every last moment of 2018.  Here’s how: Continue reading “Time is Moving Too Fast”

10 Healthy Ways to Handle Excess Stress

by Taylor Lupo

businesswoman freelancer tired, asleep working at computer at ChristmasThis article was originally published on Sharecare.

We all experience stress from time to time. In fact, about 8 in 10 adults feel frequent or occasional stress in their daily lives, according to a 2017 Gallup survey. Common sources of anxiety include money, school, work, relationships or major changes like marriages, divorces and deaths.

“Stress can absolutely be normal,” says Samuel Wedes, MD, a psychiatrist and Medical Director of Inpatient Behavioral Health at St. Mary Mercy Livonia in Livonia, Michigan. “For a lot of people, it can be a motivator to help them work harder or succeed further with their goals,” he adds. In some situations, your body’s stress response can even be life-saving.

Other times, however, it can wreak mental and physical havoc, causing head and body aches, fatigue, restlessness, irritability and even depression. In some cases, stress has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, according to Dr. Wedes.

Don’t let your worries go unchecked. Get a handle on stress with these science-backed and expert-approved tricks. Continue reading “10 Healthy Ways to Handle Excess Stress”

CardiAMP® Clinical Trial Could Restore Hope for Heart Failure Patients

Ypsilanti resident is first to be admitted to innovative stem cell trial at St. Joe’s

Retired pharmacist Sam Othman knew he was only stalling the inevitable with the multiple medications he was taking for his heart failure. Diagnosed with heart failure six years ago, the 65-year-old Ypsilanti resident knew there must be something else out there to help restore his health.

“Things had been going slowly, slowly for the worst,” Sam said.

Always inquisitive about new and alternative therapies, Sam began to investigate stem cell treatment as a possible option. He felt the theory – relying on stem cells to generate healthy heart tissue – made sense.

Out of curiosity, Sam searched the web and made a serendipitous discovery that St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was accepting patients in the Phase III CardiAMP® clinical trial.

The investigational study takes a personalized and minimally invasive approach using a patient’s own bone marrow cells in the treatment of ischemic heart failure that develops after a heart attack, and is designed to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

“On a whim, I thought somewhere close, someone is doing clinical trials with stem cells,” Sam said.

Sam reached out to St. Joe’s, and after a series of screenings, he became the first patient in the CardiAMP® trial at this site and in the state of Michigan. Continue reading “CardiAMP® Clinical Trial Could Restore Hope for Heart Failure Patients”

“Music Man” Chaplain Charles Heals Spirits

He who sings, prays twice.” The words of the ancient philosopher St. Augustine come to mind when Chaplain Charles Kibirige’s sings  to patients and visitors at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

Although music was a constant in his life growing up with his now deceased musician dad Henry Kasule, Chaplain Charles said his love of music flourished while he was in seminary. He attended Katigondo National Seminary and Ggaba National Seminary in Uganda where he completed degrees in philosophy and theology respectively.

Between 2001 and 2013, Chaplain Charles served the community of Ann Arbor as an ordained priest. In 2003 he was hired as one of the Priest Chaplains at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor where served for 10 years and where he also started his career as a health care chaplain. After voluntarily leaving the active ministry, Chaplain Charles accepted his current role of full-time chaplain at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in 2014.

“I never saw myself as an entertainer but rather as someone who wanted to use my gift of music to bring comfort and healing to others,” said Chaplain Charles.  “I’ve always wanted to bring music into my healing ministry. In fact, I have been, for some time now, using music as therapy when working with patients on the Behavioral Health Unit here at SJMO and it has been well received by both the patients and the staff on the unit. However, I knew I needed to extend this further into my ministry on other units.”

Chaplain Charles started to bring his guitar to the 2 p.m. prayer service he holds in the ICU waiting room. Although he doesn’t play every time, he uses it as a way to be present with people as well as to start a deeper conversation on their presenting health issues.

Chaplain Charles recalls one of these conversations with a young mother and her 4-year-old son who were visiting a family member. He played one of the theme songs from Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. The little boy could not help but sing along with excitement. This moment opened the door to a deeper conversation with the boy’s mother and family. He prayed with the family. While walking back to his office, it struck Chaplain Charles deeply about how the Holy Spirit used a simple secular song to draw these people closer to God in a time they most needed it.

Chaplain Kibirige is known as the “music man” to patients.

Another striking example of the power of music happened this past July. A man he had never met before stopped Chaplain Charles during his rounds in the ICU.

“‘Are you Charles the music man,’ he asked me. ‘The nurse told us about you and how you play music for the patients. Would you be able to play a song for my wife?” Chaplain Charles recalled.

The man, Norm Kerr of Roseville, explained that his wife, Dianne, had suffered a stroke while at a family member’s high school graduation party in Waterford and was brought to St. Joe’s Oakland for treatment. Norm said Dianne loved the old country song from Charlie Pride, “There Goes My Everything” and asked Chaplain Charles if he could play it for his wife. Chaplain Charles agreed to look up the song and learn it.

“I went home that weekend, looked the song up, and put a little dose of my own creativity to the arrangement,” he said. “I went back the following Monday and played it for the patient. However, Norm was not present that day but his son made a recording of the presentation on his phone as I sang the song for Dianne. It was a day later that I got a call from Norm letting me know how beautiful it was and how meaningful it was to him and his wife and family.”

Chaplain Charles continued to see the family and play for them occasionally while they were in the hospital. Dianne’s condition improved from being unresponsive on their first encounter, to making nods and other nonverbal communications in the subsequent days and weeks. Eventually, Dianne was discharged and returned home to her family.

“I see in this whole experience, among other things, music’s ability to help inspire hope and healing in patients,”  he said.

Chaplain Charles and his guitar visit the ICU waiting room daily at 2 p.m. He also visits the Behavioral Medicine floor. 

Alone for the Holidays?

by Lila Lazarus

This feeling comes on every year just before Thanksgiving. It’s a big, empty feeling. There’s a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. As discussions turn to holiday plans and family dinners, I can feel my eyes start to water.

If you’re blessed with a big family living close by, you may not understand the pain. But for those of us with small families or families living across the country— or, in my case, around the world — it’s sometimes unbearable. Being without family or a tight, core group of friends can leave you feeling disconnected and depressed. This is the time of year when we count on our tribe. It’s priceless. And if you don’t have a tribe readily available, well…it’s tough. It’s hard to accept that Thanksgiving isn’t going to look like that Norman Rockwell image of the perfect family dinner we grew up with or hoped to have some day. Continue reading “Alone for the Holidays?”

Diagnosed with Diabetes? Try One of These Diets

by Debbie Koenig

This article was originally published in Sharecare.

Dr_Marcucci.JPGWhen you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, knowing what to eat suddenly becomes a Very Big Deal. Forget about casually grabbing a cookie in the break room or having a snack whenever you feel like it. Now you have to think about your eating pattern. That’s a fancy term for your diet—the foods and beverages you consume on a daily basis. Luckily, your medical team is trained to help you find the eating pattern that’s right for you.

“The best diet is one that’s tailored to the individual,” says Rachel Marcucci, MD, an internist and pediatrician at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Livonia, Michigan. Your doctor should refer you to a dietitian for medical nutrition therapy, which is covered by Medicare and many private insurance plans. “There’s really no reason not to do it,” she says.

The American Diabetes Association recommends several eating patterns for managing diabetes. These are just a few examples that you can try, based on your preferences, lifestyle and dietary needs. However, there are many other healthy eating styles that may work best for you. Your dietitian or doctor can work with you to find a plan that works with your goals and that you’ll be most likely to follow. Continue reading “Diagnosed with Diabetes? Try One of These Diets”

Join St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Nov. 15 for the Great American Smokeout

2017-11-06 14_51_39-sjmhs_smokeout_2017_event_flyer_proof2.pdfANN ARBOR – Join St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Great American Smokeout, and take the pledge to quit tobacco use.

St. Joe’s colleagues, patients and visitors are invited to take a smoke-free pledge or support loved ones taking the pledge by visiting tables at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor’s Main Entrance and Reichert Health Center.

Enter for a chance to win free drawings for holiday turkeys, vegetable trays, Couch to 5K classes and a free pair of shoes!

Be Driven

Michael McCarty, this year’s patient speaker at the annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event, credits his survival to a single, desperate message he sent from a hospital bed to transfer his cancer care to St. Joe’s.

Photo_Michael McCarty
Michael McCarty (left) was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, when his children were 13, 11 and 7 years old. Today, his cancer is managed with a variety of targeted therapy drugs.

Over the course of his six-year lung cancer journey, Michael McCarty has been to the brink of death and back. And though he accepts the sober truth that time is limited, he tells people, “it’s never too late.”

Michael was diagnosed in September 2012 with non-small cell lung cancer – a type of cancer that occurs mainly in current or former smokers. As Michael would soon learn, it’s also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers like him.

He was just 43 years old. His children were 13, 11, and 7. He was given 18 months to live. Continue reading “Be Driven”

Probility’s East Ypsilanti Clinic Opens Nov. 12

2018-10-24 09_43_43-80031_E_Ypsi_Opening_Postcard_FINAL.pdf - Adobe Acrobat.jpgYPSILANTI – Probility will open its new East Ypsilanti physical therapy clinic on Nov. 12, 2018.

The clinic, located at 1159 E. Michigan Avenue, Suite E, Ypsilanti, MI 48198is strategically placed to serve patients in the E. Ypsilanti, Belleville, Canton and Van Buren Township area.

Services will emphasize manual therapy and the treatment of all orthopedic conditions and musculoskeletal dysfunctions. For more information, call the referral line at 734-712-0570.