No Regrets

by Lila Lazarus

Lila Swing
Photo by Costello Candids

We’re moving my Mom this week to an assisted living facility. While her health is good, her mind is slipping away. It’s hard to believe just a few months ago we were talking about traveling together to Poland and the Ukraine to see the towns her parents emigrated from. There’s no chance of that anymore. She always said she was going to learn how to play bridge and mahjong. She never found the time, and now it’s never going to happen.

Thinking about all the things my Mom can no longer do is a powerful wake-up call. When I think of all the places she wanted to travel, the people she lost touch with because she was “too busy,” the hobbies she planned to take up someday… it’s painful to think about. And it’s also a major motivator for me. I don’t want any regrets. I don’t want any guilt. So, I did some thinking about how to live without any. Here’s what I’ve come up with: Continue reading “No Regrets”

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

by Abigail McCleery, Wellness Coordinator, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

Abby McCleeryChances are you have heard the term “plant-based diet,” but you may wonder what it means and if there are any real benefits. Contrary to many diets today that focus on what to avoid, a plant-based diet focuses on including more vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. From our personal health to the health of the environment, there are lots of scientifically backed reasons to include more plants in our diet, including our top 5 reasons listed below: Continue reading “Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet”

Be Your Best Self

HMR program at St. Joe’s helped 62-year-old Ford retiree meet his weight-loss goal

Pat-Shifferd_After-1377059678-1536693750867.jpgPatrick Shifferd is enjoying retirement, feeling healthier than ever. He typically starts his mornings with a glass of water, vitamins and hot cereal before taking the dog out for a two-and-a-half mile walk.

It’s an active lifestyle Patrick says would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, when he was overweight and ailing from a host of issues.

Patrick, now retired from Ford Motor Company, said his doctor advised him since 2012 to join a weight-loss program. But it wasn’t until he weighed 375 pounds, and his doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery, that Patrick seriously considered making a change.

“I had never been on a formalized weight-loss program before, and I’m not one to get surgery just for the sake of having surgery,” Patrick said.

Determined to avoid surgery, Patrick researched weight-loss programs and came across the HMR program offered at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Continue reading “Be Your Best Self”

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Oct. 7 at WCC

walk to end alzANN ARBOR – Join Team Joe’s at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Washtenaw Community College. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and the walk begins at noon. The event is held to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Learn more or sign up here.

St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Receives Gift of ‘Caring Cradle’ for Grieving Parents

DSC_2361The labor and delivery unit at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor received a Caring Cradle donation from a family hoping to bring comfort to others who experience pregnancy or newborn loss.

Jade and Gasper Rubino made the gift on Aug. 23 in memory of their daughter, Cecily Rosebriar Rubino.

IMG_20180823_105110A Caring Cradle is a bassinet with a cooling system to help preserve a baby’s body, allowing grieving families more time with their baby, and allowing hospital staff to focus on caring for the needs of the family.

The Rubino family worked with non-profit organizations Metro Detroit SHARE and SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still) to find placement for two caring cradles in local hospitals. They chose St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor as one of the recipients, stating, “We are beyond grateful to witness the supportive care they provide for their families that experience child loss.”

Chaplain Ruth Tapio gave a blessing during the dedication ceremony, and Jade Rubino shared a few words about loss.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Rubino Family for their very generous gift. This cradle will help support families during their difficult journeys, giving them more time together for creating memories,” Jennifer Schaible, director of women and children’s services at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, said.

Schaible was joined by Rebecca Kanak, perinatal palliative and loss coordinator, Rosemary Cicala, labor and delivery nurse manager, OB/GYN Dr. Bryan Popp and other senior leaders in accepting the Caring Cradle on behalf of the hospital.

Head & Neck Cancer Symposium: Oct. 26

2018-08-24 09_27_49-17080 Head Neck SymposiumCd2018-8.22.18-PRINT (2).pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Join us Oct. 26, 2018 for our annual Head & Neck Cancer Symposium for Professionals.

October 26, 2018 | 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Washtenaw Community College
Morris Lawrence Building
4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI
Registration Fee: $100
(continental breakfast, lunch provided)
4.50 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™
Register here

Be Empowered

St. Joe’s helped new mother Liz Davila-Ferrall meet her goal of having a natural childbirth

New mother Liz Davila-Ferrall marvels at how she and her husband, Mark, have adjusted to parenthood ever since they welcomed their son, Ezra, in April.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s one of the most challenging things both my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it’s an amazing experience. Rewarding, beautiful, and challenging,” she described.

Liz delivered her baby at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, where she was determined to have a natural childbirth. Through the remarkable care of the doctors and nurses, Liz said, she was able to accomplish that goal.

After taking a prenatal class at St. Joe’s, Liz and Mark opted to use nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing gas” – to help ease the anxiety and pain during labor.

“I didn’t really want the epidural, I didn’t really want the extra meds, so this sounded like a good fit,” Liz said.
Continue reading “Be Empowered”

The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now

by Lila Lazarus
The end of summer? Are you kidding me? It happens every year but somehow always catches me by surprise. I can’t stop thinking: “Where did the summer go? How are kids already going back to school? Is that a chill I feel in the air?” I’m creating a feeling of impending doom in my gut. I start imagining the misery of scraping frost off the windshield. My mind starts to wander.

But not this year. This year, I’m trying something new—and you may want to try it with me.  I’m making use of a superpower we all have. I’m staying right here in this moment. We spend so much time worrying about things to come. And it gets us nowhere. It just steals the magic of the moment. Our bodies may be rooted in the present, but our heads are hijacked and time travel into another place entirely. A wandering mind can lead to anxiety and misery. When I don’t stay in the date on the calendar, my head often fills with negativity. So, I’m celebrating this day by staying right here in the present moment without needless worries. If you’d like to join me in this moment, here are simple ways to stay right here right now without worry. Continue reading “The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now”

11 Questions for a Pediatric Physical Therapist

Santioni Daniel PT_SJA4974_resizedA pediatric physical therapist specializes in treating and caring for infants, toddlers, teenagers and young adults, and can treat conditions related to genetic, neurological and orthopedic disorders. In this Q&A, Daniel Santioni, Director of Pediatric Services, Probility Physical Therapy, answers some of the most common questions parents have about their child’s development.

    1. What kind of physical therapy does a young baby under 6 months need?
      Physical therapy (PT) can address several issues that are common under 6 months. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment is key to continued success in growth and development. Often PT at this age can address delay in motor skills, orthopedic concerns such as joint deformity or torticollis, feeding concerns and their inability to self-console.
    2. How do you know if a baby under 6 months is delayed?
      Often experienced mothers and fathers know that “this” baby is just not doing the same things their other babies did. First-time parents should pay attention to published milestones they may find at their doctor’s office. There are standardized tests to evaluate for delay, but generally, by 6 months your child should be rolling and working on maintaining sitting by themselves.
    3. I feel my child is impaired. I am an experienced parent and I know something is wrong. My child is only 8 months old, but what can I do?
      The first thing you should do is address  your concern with your doctor. Asking for a pediatric therapy referral would be a good start in trying to figure out if there is anything wrong. Your physical therapist can perform developmental , orthopedic and neurological testing to assist with any diagnosis your doctor may want to pursue. Physical therapy can often help prioritize what to focus on in terms of treatment, and help you stay focused on what you can do to help your child succeed.
    4. My baby is having a hard time feeding – they are biting instead of sucking. It takes them a long time to feed, and my baby seems exhausted after feeding. Can physical therapy can help me with this issue?
      Feeding issues and concerns are common with a young infant. Often biting or chomping instead of sucking may mean there is a physical restriction to the normal suck, swallow and breathe pattern. A physical therapist can address the physical restriction to mouth opening and closing, and can help steer you to other professionals, such as a speech or occupational therapist,  who can focus on teaching the normal feeding pattern.
    5. My baby just turned 12 months old and is not walking or even pulling up to stand. Should I be worried?
      Pulling up to stand at a surface is a 9-month skill and taking the first few wiggly steps is a 12-month skill. Having said that, you must remember there is a range in which development is “normal.” Not all children walk at 12 months. With walking there is a “normal” range of 11-14 months. Pulling to a stand also has a “normal” range of 8-11 months. If your 12-month-old child is not pulling to stand, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted. You may find, with the right intervention, your child may catch up very quickly.
    6. I have been told my child has Torticollis – is this permanent and how can physical therapy help?
      Torticollis is usually due to tight neck muscles which prevent the baby from turning their head in one particular direction. Physical therapy is a very successful tool in resolving torticollis through gentle stretching and developmental play. The sooner torticollis is addressed, the faster it is resolved. Torticollis, if caught in time, usually is not permanent.
    7. My child had torticollis and they look better. Now I notice their head is not round. Can therapy help this?
      If your child had torticollis, the resulting misshaped head is called plagiocephaly. Physical therapy can address this through positioning, developmental play and manual techniques. If the misshaped head is not corrected in 4 to 5 months, the recommendation is to get a helmet to assist in reshaping your child’s head. This would require you to meet with an orthotist to fabricate and do frequent fittings of the helmet.
    8. My child is 3 years old and has walked on their tip-toes since they started to walk. Everyone is telling me they will “outgrow” this. How long do I wait before I get help, and what kind of help can I get for this?
      Generally, as children learn to walk, for the first few months (12-18 months) they will “play” with coming up on their toes. This means they may walk flat-footed for a few steps then up on toes for a few and then back down. If your child is exclusively toe walking after the age of 18-24 months, I would recommend bringing this to the attention of your physician and get them into physical therapy.  A pediatric physical therapist can help figure out why the child is toe walking. Once the evaluation is completed,  the physical therapist  will  provide a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises to get your child walking in a normal heel-toe pattern.
    9. My child has been toe walking for years and is now “stuck” on their toes. They cannot at all get their heels on the floor. The doctors are looking at referring me to a surgeon. Can physical therapy help me now?
      Working with your doctor, a physical therapist may still be able to help in this situation. Being “stuck” on their toes may mean that their heel cord is contracted. A physical  therapist can provide a treatment called serial casting. This would involve casting the ankle and progressively lengthening the heel cord until they can move their ankle again in all directions. Once the ankle is loosened the physical therapist can then address strengthening and retraining your child how to walk with heels down.
    10. When observing other children on the playground, I am noticing my child is always falling. They are usually asking the other kids to wait for them, and at times just doesn’t want to participate. As a parent, I often wonder if there is anything I can do to help. Can physical therapy help?
      A pediatric physical therapist can perform standardized testing to see if your child is truly developmentally behind. If your child is delayed, the physical therapist will design a custom program to address the areas of development to help your child “catch up” with their peers.
    11. My 9-year-old son broke his leg. He was casted and is favoring that leg. Everyone said he would be fine, and told me to encourage him to just be himself. No matter what I try, he resists. Can physical therapy help with this?
      Yes, often after being casted, muscles  become weak, tight  and need  physical therapy to get strong again. Often children have a fear factor to overcome as well. The pain that they experienced at the time of the injury  can affect them for a long time. A physical therapist can help your child physically work out his fear while strengthening his leg. The goal of physical therapy would be to normalize his walking pattern and eliminate this “favoring” of one leg over the other.

Dan is accepting established and new patients at Probility Physical Therapy, 2058 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48104. Call 734-913-0300.

The Farm at St. Joe’s Hosts 2018 Bark for Life – Aug. 25

barkforlifeANN ARBOR – Join us Saturday, Aug. 25 for the American Cancer Society’s 9th annual Bark for Life event at The Farm at St. Joe’s. See flyer.

When: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 from 8:30 – Noon
Where: The Farm at St. Joe’s – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
More Info: or 734 834-3454

Costumes encouraged and prizes available.