Surviving Well: Margaret, Thyroid Cancer

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611Margaret Juanes has been described by her medical team as a miracle. When she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in September 2012, she began a long journey that she never anticipated.

“It was a shocking moment at that time,” she says. Margaret was not expecting such a serious diagnosis because she says she never felt sick and led a healthy lifestyle.

When she first felt a lump in her throat, she didn’t think much of it. Still, she made an appointment with her healthcare provider just to be safe. When her provider told her it looked like a cyst, she was sent to get an ultrasound and a needle-stick biopsy. When the doctor came in to give the diagnosis, Margaret says she could see in the doctor’s face that something was wrong.

“’You have cancer,’” Margaret says, recalling the doctor’s diagnosis.

Margaret was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and within a week her thyroid was surgically removed. There is no effective chemotherapy for thyroid cancer, so instead, Margaret’s surgery was supplemented with radiation therapy in the form of radioactive iodine tablets.

“It makes you sick, but, you know, if its helping you, then it’s worth it,” she says of the radiation.

After the surgery and radiation, it seemed things were improving for Margaret. She was carefully monitored by endocrinologist Dr. Leslie Gamache for the next several months. Margaret’s recovery was progressing steadily.

Unfortunately, in April 2013 it became apparent that the cancer had grown back into her trachea. In fact, a large portion of her trachea was invaded by the new tumor, so surgery was planned to remove that portion of the trachea, and possibly her vocal box and vocal cords.

Margaret was angry, hurt and frustrated. Not only was it confusing that the cancer had worsened so quickly, but she did not feel prepared to undergo the additional treatment. However, her medical team convinced her that without the treatment her life was in jeopardy. Margaret came to the realization that she needed to deal with her situation, no matter how intimidating it may be.

Rose Medical Center thyroid surgeon Dr. Kimberly Vanderveen and two specialists performed the surgery. No one could assure Margaret of the outcome until the surgery was underway, so she stayed positive and let her medical team take over.

“The toughest thing to overcome is not being able to do [everyday tasks] for yourself and having to depend on people,” says Margaret.

“It was very emotionally difficult knowing that I couldn’t be the one in charge.”

Margaret’s appreciation and gratitude for Dr. Vanderveen and everyone at Rose is truly moving. At such a frightening point in her life, Margaret says she is thankful for the staff that worked to make her as comfortable as possible.

“Oh, [Dr. Vanderveen] was there every day to see me. She was so comforting. She made me feel like somebody really cared. The hospital over there at Rose—the best place you could ever go if you have to have surgery. The best. They’re the best.”

Removing the cancer would be a very difficult procedure. During the surgery, Dr. Vanderveen and her team took special care by sending multiple biopsies and lymph glands to ensure that the cancer was completely removed. Because the surgery was so involved, it took about eight hours.

When Margaret woke up, still unaware of the outcome of her surgery, she found her sister by her side. Margaret remained in the hospital for two weeks after the procedure, spending most of one week in the Intensive Care Unit. She needed a temporary breathing tube because of swelling in her neck and the fragile state of her trachea. Rose employees took special care of her during this time.

“They were always coming to ask me if I needed anything, very helpful, middle of the night… anytime I rang the bell they were always there for me. They sent me roses, get well cards…” she trails off. “The people there are very warm and caring. What I had to go through was horrifying to me, but they made it comforting… they were very attentive towards me.”

“There’s nothing I could say to show my gratitude for all my specialists, the doctors, housekeeping, the nurses—everybody,” says Margaret.

Miraculously, the surgery was extremely successful and Margaret’s voice box, vocal chords and vocal cord nerves were spared. Aside from a slight change in the sound of her voice and some scarring on her neck, Margaret has few lasting side effects from the procedure.

“I’m so grateful, I’m glad that I even have a voice,” she says.

In July 2013, Margaret finally finished treatment and began to feel better after a very hard couple of months. During her recovery, she spent one month in a neck brace. She had trouble sleeping and remembers focusing on the future, taking it one day at a time.

“It was extremely difficult. Emotionally, physically…” she says of the whole experience.

Currently, Margaret is continuing to follow up with Dr. Gamache. Things are looking good, and she remains cancer free.

“It’s hard to talk about it without crying,” she says. “It still gets me… I’ll be sitting here in my office or at home, and I’ll just start crying, just because I can’t believe that I’m here, and everything’s fine—and I’m so grateful for everything.”

For Margaret, she found strength and courage in focusing on her life and getting it back. Becoming well again and returning to the things she loves, like spending time with her family and sewing the way her grandmother taught her, is what she turned her attention to in order to stay positive.

“Don’t let your mind take over too much of what’s going on with you, because it will drive you crazy… it will. Mind over matter, I truly believe in that. I truly do,” she says. “Be strong in your mind, and it will help your body.”

She hopes her story will help and inspire others, and she has found value in sharing her journey.

“I thought it was going to be harder to talk about, but it’s not, so I’m very happy for that,” says Margaret. “I thought I was going to fall to pieces, but I don’t feel like that, so I’ve learned something today about myself. I am stronger than what I thought I was.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. Margaret is our survivor for August.

Posted in Cancer Care, Doctors at Rose, Patient Care, Patient Stories, Surgical Care, Surviving Well, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

55 Rose affiliate physicians named “Top Doctors” by 5280 Magazine

5280_TopDocsLogo_2014The annual “Top Doctors” issue of 5280 Magazine just hit newsstands in August, and 55 Rose affiliate physicians made the 2014 list. The doctors on the list are chosen by other doctors, who are asked by 5280 to select who they would trust with their care, and that of their families. Selections are made and the resulting list names the “Top Doctors” in the metro area, divided into specialty-based categories. This year, the total list of physician-selected “Top Doctors” includes 333 doctors in 95 different specialties.

In addition to the list of recognized physicians who currently practice at Rose, the issue included a feature about Rose hematologist/medical oncologist Dr. Alan S. Feiner! In the feature, Dr. Feiner discusses the experience, wisdom and inspiration he’s gained both on and off the job throughout the years.

The following 5280 Magazine “Top Doctors” currently practice at Rose Medical Center:

  • Oscar Aguirre, Female Pelvic Medicine
  • Michael Bateman, Plastic Surgery
  • John F. Bershof, Plastic Surgery Within the Head/Neck
  • Sean Bryant, Neuroradiology*
  • Allen L. Cohn, Medical Oncology
  • Michael A. Cooper, Vascular Surgery
  • Matthew P. Dorighi, Pediatrics*
  • Wendi Drummond, Pediatric Infectious Disease*
  • Christopher Fanale, Neurology, Vascular Neurology
  • Alan S. Feiner, Hematology, Medical Oncology
  • Jonathan Fishman, Gastroenterology
  • Jeffrey Goates, Pathology
  • Alex Goldsmith, Internal Medicine
  • Kenneth S. Greenberg, Infectious Disease
  • Carrie Horn, Internal Medicine
  • Davis K. Hurley, Surgery of the Hand
  • Kristinell Keil, Female Pelvic Medicine
  • Jennifer Kemp, Diagnostic Radiology
  • Craig Kornbluth, Diagnostic Radiology
  • Bradley D. Kurtz, Pediatrics*
  • Donald J. Lefkowits, Emergency Medicine
  • Ann M. Leibold, Dermatology*
  • Meg Lemon, Dermatology*
  • Thomas M. Li, Internal Medicine
  • Mervyn Lifschitz, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Gregory Lindsay, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
  • David C. Longcope, Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Daniel R. Lumian, Family Medicine
  • Robert M. Macdonald, Surgery
  • Noah Makovsky, Pediatrics
  • Jay Markson, Pediatrics*
  • Sameer K. Mehta, Interventional Cardiology
  • David Mellman, Internal Medicine
  • Debra Minjarez, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • Gary R. Morris, Pain Medicine
  • Donald J. Murphy, Geriatric Medicine
  • Andrew W. Parker, Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery
  • Richard K. Parker, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery
  • Steven Perry, Pediatrics
  • William J. Plaus, Surgery
  • William T. Pluss, Pulmonary Disease
  • Richard Porreco, Maternal and Fetal Medicine*
  • Owen Reichman, Otolaryngology
  • Ralph R. Round, Neurology
  • Michael D. Schwartz, Critical Care
  • Graham Sellers, Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • Stuart Senkfor, Nephrology
  • Stephen H. Shogan, Neurological Surgery
  • Vijay Subbarao, Cardiovascular Disease
  • David Theil, Anesthesiology
  • Andrew Tucker, Pediatrics
  • Asa G. Yancey Jr., Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Gerald V. Zarlengo, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Yani Zinis, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Jonathan D. Zonca, Family Medicine

*These physicians also practice at other Colorado hospitals.

Congratulations to the 5280 Rose affiliate Top Doctors for 2014!


Find out more about Rose Medical Center by visiting RoseMed.com

To learn more about the physicians on the 5280 “Top Doctors” list for 2014, visit RoseMed.com and click the “Find A Doctor” tool.

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Surviving Well: Marcie, Breast Cancer

DSC_3778_SMALL“We don’t live at the edge of the world, but you can see it from here,” says Marcie Harkness about living in eastern Colorado in a small rural town named Towner. Marcie has been a wheat farmer there for the past 18 years with her husband. After living in Denver for many years, she enjoys the small-town community and slower pace of living.

Marcie knew the importance of receiving an annual mammogram, and her diligence and awareness of her health paid off in early 2013. During her routine mammogram, the doctor saw that there was a lump on her breast. Marcie’s daughter-in-law is a nurse in Denver and recommended that her mother-in-law see Rose Medical Center medical oncologist Dr. Dev Paul , who in turn recommended Rose breast surgeon Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg.

Based on Marcie’s tumor size and staging, Dr. Schwartzberg asked Marcie to participate in a clinical trial for Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT). This treatment would happen during Marcie’s lumpectomy in June, and Marcie was happy to participate.

IORT allows for an entire course of radiation therapy at the time of breast surgery, instead of through multiple appointments after the lumpectomy. It delivers a concentrated beam of radiation at the site of the tumor once it’s removed during surgery and can be completed in approximately 7-20 minutes.

DSC_3786_SMALLMarcie was extremely thankful for the opportunity to participate in the trial, given the distance between her home and Denver. Instead of driving from Towner to Denver frequently or having to stay in Denver for two weeks for radiation therapy, she had her full treatment at the time of surgery.

“I’m also happy that the radiation could be so targeted. It went exactly to the spot of the cancer and didn’t impact the tissue and organs surrounding that area, like traditional radiation can,” Marcie says.

Marcie has been feeling good after the surgery with radiation. “I take my health very seriously now,” she says. “I’ve been walking every day and lifting weights because I know it’s important to maintain a certain level of fitness in my daily life.”

“I’ve learned that the physical part of breast cancer is hard, but you do it and then you heal. But the emotional side is the real roller coaster,” she shares. Marcie is grateful for a support group in her church, friends, family and the people at Rose. Most importantly, she says, “My husband has been amazing. He’s been there for me every step of the way.”

Marcie’s story shows how early detection can make all the difference in breast cancer treatment. If she had waited, she may not have been eligible for the IORT clinical trial and her treatment plan could have been much more difficult.

“I was stunned when I found out, but I’m so glad that I kept up with my regular mammograms. That’s the lesson I share with other women – get your annual mammograms, because early detection is crucial in having treatment options like mine.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. Marcie is our survivor for July.

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Posted in Cancer Care, Doctors at Rose, Patient Care, Patient Stories, Surgical Care, Surviving Well, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving Well: Marilyn, Vulvar Cancer

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611Marilyn Sacks-Rabin is a soft-spoken clinical psychologist. She spends her free time going for walks, cooking, reading, and participating in book groups. She likes to travel, and she loves the mountains. Marilyn is happily married, with one son and one daughter, both adults now.

In June 2011 Marilyn happened to discover something a bit unsettling. She noticed a dark vaginal discharge, and knew right away that she needed to see a doctor. The very next day, she called Rose Medical Center gynecologist Dr. Wendy Berenbaum to set up an appointment. Dr. Berenbaum brought her in right away.

It didn’t take Dr. Berenbaum long to examine Marilyn’s symptoms and evaluate her condition. Marilyn was diagnosed with pre-cancer of the vulva right away, and Dr. Berenbaum set up a meeting with Marilyn and her husband for later that day.

“When I first got the diagnosis, I immediately called my husband. He, as usual, was very calming and very caring,” says Marilyn. She is very thankful for the efforts made by Dr. Berenbaum to address her needs and meet with her husband so quickly.

Dr. Berenbaum also made it a priority to contact Rose gynecologic oncologist Dr. Daniel Donato that same day. Moving things along with exceptional speed, Marilyn was scheduled to have surgery later that week.

Everyone communicated her treatment plan very effectively, so that she could begin as soon as possible. For Marilyn, the successful coordination between her doctors was an incredible gift. She says she was able to avoid a lot of stress and worry because of how rapidly she began her treatment.

Not only is it important to act quickly to treat the cancer effectively, but it also reduces the overwhelming anxiety that follows a diagnosis, says Marilyn.

Dr. Donato performed the surgery, removing the tumor during the procedure. The final pathology, however, did show an invasive cancer. The next step was to determine if any lymph nodes were involved, so a second surgery was necessary to sample the lymph nodes. The latest technique involves sampling the “sentinel nodes.” If these are negative, an extensive resection of the remaining nodes is not needed.

“The hardest part was the fear between the first surgery and the second surgery,” she says.  Whereas the time before the first surgery left her virtually no time to speculate and obsess, the days leading up to her second surgery were very hard to deal with. Marilyn waited in anticipation and tried to prepare for the worst.

When she awoke from her second surgery, Dr. Donato had visited her with the results of the procedure, but she had been too disoriented to recall what he had said. As it turned out, the cancer had not spread. Marilyn found out about the good news when she saw the look on her son’s face, she says.

Once she saw her son smiling, she knew the cancer had not spread. Everyone burst into tears.

Ultimately, she was very pleased with the level of care she received during both surgeries. It was the little efforts made by the medical staff that meant so much to Marilyn.

“Dr. Donato was always just so supportive, and so kind, and so gentle. I had a wonderful experience with him and his staff,” she says.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611During her second surgery, she was especially moved by the efforts of the medical staff to make her as comfortable as possible. Marilyn has a condition that causes her a lot of pain, and the pain tends to become much worse when she is cold.

Operating rooms are kept very cold during surgical procedures. Knowing this, Marilyn shared her concerns with the staff before her second surgery. During her second procedure, members of her medical team continuously covered her with warm blankets. When Marilyn came out of surgery, the pain she was used to feeling in her shoulder wasn’t there.

“I just appreciated that so much. I thought that was just so kind and nurturing,” she says.

The next step for Marilyn was to begin radiation therapy, which she had every day for six weeks. She was very glad to have her daughter, who often drove Marilyn to her treatments, by her side during those unrelenting visits to the hospital.

She says her experience with radiation therapy was just about as positive as it could be, and she remembers the Rose Radiation Oncology Center as a very nice and upbeat place.

At the end of her six-week radiation treatment, her radiation oncologist, Dr. Daniel Chin, decided the radiation had been successful and that she no longer needed treatment. After some follow-up with the radiation oncologist, Marilyn was able to get back to doing the things she loves.

She still visits Dr. Donato for regular check-ups, but she has been doing very well, and she is thankful for how successful her case has been. In fact, she has even been able to decrease her visits to Dr. Donato’s office, and he explained to her that after two years, the likelihood of the cancer reoccurring is very low.

Marilyn finished her treatment around October 2011, and her four-month battle with cancer was finally in the past. She remains cancer free.

“I can’t say enough good things about Rose,” she says. “It was great, they were really great. [They are] very sensitive to cancer and the specific needs of cancer patients.”

Marilyn’s family was instrumental in supporting her during those difficult months.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done without my family.  They were just absolutely incredible,” says Marilyn.

The support of her friends also gave her strength. She always felt the love and care surrounding her, even when she wasn’t well enough to talk to her friends or return their calls. To Marilyn, it always seemed that her friends and her family were feeling what she was feeling—that she was not going through it alone.

“My friends were incredible, it was like they were feeling it themselves, and I just could not ask for a better group of friends,” she says. “I didn’t know how much people could love me before this happened.”

When asked what advice she would offer to someone else battling cancer: “Just trust that people really love you and want to be there for you.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. Marilyn is our survivor for June.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611

Posted in Cancer Care, Doctors at Rose, Patient Care, Patient Stories, Surgical Care, Surviving Well, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving sleep habits challenging, but worthwhile

Rose Sleep Disorders Center clinical supervisor Robert Turner was among the professionals interviewed for a recent article on sleeping habits that was published in Counseling Today, an American Counseling Association publication.

“Tossing and turning in the digital age” by Laurie Meyers highlights the difficulties of coping with poor sleeping habits. More specifically, she discusses the rising trend of using sleep therapy techniques to supplement more traditional mental health therapies, as it seems mental health and sleeping habits are more intertwined than previously thought.

Meyers quotes a number of experts in the field throughout the article, and the general consensus seems to be the same–those who suffer from abnormal sleeping habits like insomnia may not be properly equipped to deal with the issues themselves.

She quotes Turner on this subject:

“There is a lot of access on the Internet to positive things people can try, but they don’t do it correctly. For example, they may try deep breathing, but they actually hyperventilate, or they exercise, but they do it too soon before bed.”

As it turns out, improving sleeping patterns may require more than just following a few simple tips–and addressing a sleeping problem can provoke stress and anxiety, too.

Luckily, there are positive steps that can be taken to work towards improving sleeping habits that truly do work. Meyers discusses techniques used by counselors to treat their patients, some techniques more involved than others.

Among these techniques is CBT-I, a method familiar to Turner and one that he uses to work with his patients. In short, CBT-I is a specific approach to treating abnormal sleeping patterns by first understanding the patterns, and eventually manipulating habits and making lifestyle changes to address the issues. It focuses on changing a patient’s thinking regarding the idea of sleep, too.

However, CBT-I is not the only technique used to treat those who struggle with poor sleeping habits. To learn more about treatment techniques for unhealthy sleeping habits, and to check out the rest of Turner’s contributions to Counseling Today, view the full article.


The Rose Sleep Disorders Center has been helping people in the Denver area with sleep issues for over 20 years. If you have specific questions about your sleep, please contact the Rose Sleep Disorders Center at Rose Medical Center at 303-320-7471.

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Meet Rose’s DAISY Award Winner for May – Carol Montgomery!

Carol (center) holds her award and stands with two of her colleagues.

Carol (center) holds her award and stands with two of her colleagues.

Congratulations to Carol Montgomery on becoming the seventh Rose DAISY Award winner!

As those who work in clinical healthcare know, the work is challenging from time to time. But for patients and families enduring the most difficult of circumstances, the emotional toll can be debilitating.

This is why the role of care providers extends far beyond the day-to-day tasks they perform. The significance of comfort and support from hospital staff can not be overstated.

Carol, a nurse on Rose’s 3rd floor labor and delivery unit, is a person who has a clear understanding of the importance of personal connection. Although her job is already a demanding one, she never hesitates to do all that she can for patients.

A coworker who nominated Carol for the DAISY award noted that when a family recently suffered a loss, Carol “went over and above, as she normally does” to round-up resources from around the hospital in order to accommodate their needs.

“Carol never hesitated to say she wanted to help this family. She does an amazing job, involving whomever she thinks can assist her,” said her colleague. “[She] takes her job very seriously.”

Carol was able to organize basic necessities like food, clothing, blankets and a place to stay for the family. Not only did she help provide the family with these goods, but she also worked hard to gather the Rose staff members she knew would be able to help handle the case with sensitivity.

Carol (center) and members from

Carol (center) and other members from the labor and delivery unit and the 3rd floor team.

This is just one example highlighting Carol’s tireless efforts to ensure each patient and family remains Rose’s number one priority. It is because of this commitment and genuine effort in providing the best quality of care that Carol has been named Rose’s DAISY Award winner for May.

Congratulations to Carol and the whole 3rd floor team! Thank you for all that you do.


If you want to nominate a compassionate Rose nurse for the DAISY Award, please contact us through our website or look for DAISY Award nomination forms around the hospital.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses was born to honor the skillful and compassionate care provided by nurses. DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, and nurses who receive the DAISY Award are honored in a number of ways. They receive a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful hand-crafted sculpture entitled A Healer’s Touch. The winner’s department is also recognized with a banner to display and Cinnabon® cinnamon rolls.

Posted in Maternity and Labor, Patient Care, Patient Stories, Women's Health | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving Well: David, Skin Cancer

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611All his life, David Johnson has enjoyed spending his time in the outdoors, whether that was working summers doing construction during college, going to sunny locations shooting TV commercials while working in advertising, or frequent trips to Mexico while in retirement. Sun exposure has always been a part of David’s life.

With all the sun exposure David has endured throughout his life, it wasn’t much of a shock to him that he had skin issues in his adult years. He therefore made it a point to frequently go to the dermatologist and get a skin check up. When his primary dermatologist saw some spots that were cancerous, she referred David to Rose’s Dr. Karen Sundby Johnson, a dermatologist specializing in skin cancer removal using the Mohs procedure.

The Mohs procedure removes the cancerous cells from the skin followed by a detailed mapping of the surrounding area. It pinpoints the cancer’s location and helps to protect the surrounding healthy tissue as much as possible.www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611

This year alone, David underwent surgery for 23 sites of cancerous cells on his skin. David shares that he feels like a partner with Dr. Sundby Johnson and her staff, and he has appreciated being part of the whole decision-making process.

“They regularly ask for my input so I can play an active role in the treatment plan,” David says. “After a procedure, Dr. Sundby Johnson always follows up with a call to find out how everything is going and how I am feeling.”

David is extremely thankful for Dr. Sundby Johnson and her staff for their dedication and positive attitudes. “They are the best!”

David is fortunate to have also survived a bout with esophageal cancer earlier in his life. He is very appreciative for Rose’s Drs. Robert Gleser, Alan Feiner and William Plaus, who treated that cancer. “I’ve been blessed with terrific doctors.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. David is our survivor for May.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611

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Rose patient celebrates 25 years in cardiac rehab program

Harold (front right) with his wife Roslyn and cardiac rehabilitation staff.

Harold (front right) with his wife Roslyn and cardiac rehabilitation staff.

In 1989, Harold Grueskin was the victim of a heart attack. Though his condition did not require surgery, he knew how important it was to make his health a priority. In April of that year, he began cardiac rehabilitation at Rose Medical Center and hasn’t stopped since.

April 2014 marks Harold’s 25th anniversary at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Rose. For a quarter century, Harold has been visiting the gym at Rose where he is a longstanding member of cardiac rehabilitation’s “Phase 3″ group.

Harold talks with Rose's Rabbi Jeffrey Kaye, who stopped by to say congratulations.

Harold talks with Rose’s Rabbi Jeffrey Kaye, who stopped by to say congratulations.

Patients in the Phase 3 group at Rose are in the cardiac health-maintenance phase of their treatment, and they participate regularly in fitness classes hosted by specialists at the hospital. For Harold, visiting the gym early in the morning for a good workout is just part of the routine.

After celebrating his 90th birthday last year, Harold remains dedicated to his health, often driving himself to his classes. His commitment to maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying physically active has been an inspiration to all, and both Harold and his wife Roslyn share their warmth and positive attitudes with everyone they meet.

Harold is presented with a certificate recognizing his achievement.

Harold is presented with a certificate recognizing his achievement.

Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Harold is very humble. As fellow classmates and cardiac rehabilitation patients shuffled in to congratulate him on the day of his celebration, he shook hands and thanked them for the support (after cracking a joke or two, of course).

The Rose community is exceedingly lucky to know such a kind and gentle person, and honored to join Harold in celebrating such a significant accomplishment.

After some fresh fruit, coffee and a small piece of cake, Harold turned his attention to his next class. One staff member reminded him that it was back to business come Friday. Harold acknowledged the reminder with a nod and a smile.

Harold and his wife, Roslyn

Harold and his wife, Roslyn.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Heart Care, Patient Care, Patient Stories, What's Happening at Rose | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving Well: Stefanie, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611Stefanie Jacobs is familiar with the medical industry—her mother is a retired psychiatrist, her father is a retired rheumatologist, and her sister is an occupational therapist. Stefanie is also familiar with Rose Medical Center in particular—her husband is a nurse at Rose, her daughter was born at Rose, and Stefanie herself was born at Rose.

Although the pattern would suggest that Stefanie works in the medical industry, she actually does not. Stefanie is a writer and strategic marketing consultant with her own business. She lives with her husband, 10-year-old daughter and their sweet dog.

In November 2012, Stefanie set up an appointment with a new primary care physician. She had been seeing only her OB/GYN for a while, and decided it was time to schedule an annual physical.

Her appointment went well, but her doctor noticed something odd. Stefanie’s doctor was able to feel her spleen during the exam, but showed no other symptoms. She completed a blood test and left, reassured that she was in good hands.

As it turned out, Stefanie’s spleen was quite enlarged, and her blood test revealed that her white blood cell count was extremely high.  Stefanie’s doctor called her to discuss the results.

Based on the evidence, it was determined that Stefanie likely had chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).  She immediately scheduled an appointment with Rose oncologist Dr. Alan Feiner. A bone marrow biopsy the next day confirmed their suspicions and ruled out any possible spreading of the cancer.

“I really had no symptoms,” says Stefanie.

Since she had not noticed anything indicating that there might be something wrong, her diagnosis came as a shock. It was (and still is) difficult for Stefanie to believe she was sick.  Instead, she found the silver lining and was grateful for how quickly she was able to get an official diagnosis and begin treatment.

She describes the moment she heard her diagnosis:

“[It was] overwhelming and scary and … just a whole lot of questions. I was pretty lucky because I only had to wait a very short time to get good answers. And knowing almost immediately that it was very treatable and curable was a huge relief,” she says.

“I think having a positive attitude is essential,” she says.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611The first step in Stefanie’s treatment began right away, and she was put on a heavy dosage of medication for a few days to bring down her white blood cell count. She then began a targeted oral chemotherapy for CML.

“It was surprisingly easy. Just taking a pill every day,” she says.

Her treatment continues to be relatively simple, and she has noticed very few side effects.

“It’s not time consuming, it’s really not intrusive … and literally, if I don’t tell someone I have cancer, they would never know,” she says.

Stefanie is undeniably positive, and she tends to see the good in things.  She has not been without frustration, however. During the initial phases of her treatment, it became clear that the standard dosage of chemotherapy medication was too much for someone Stefanie’s size. Her medical team continues to monitor and work to find the most effective dosage of chemotherapy medication for Stefanie, while ensuring it is something she can tolerate.

“I think the hardest part is not quite knowing if we’re getting it right. Or feeling like we’re getting it right and then not having it be successful,” says Stefanie.

She also admits that she has struggled to adjust her lifestyle. “[It] has been [difficult] adjusting to needing to take better care of myself, because I’m pretty good at going full-on, which isn’t very good for me. But it’s good for everyone else!” she laughs.

Despite the challenge of adapting to living with cancer, Stefanie remains unshaken.  She is confident in Dr. Feiner and her medical team and feels supported by her friends at Rose.

“Dr. Feiner is great. He’s smart and thorough, and he really cares.  It’s obvious how much he cares. I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Feiner and his office,” she says. Stefanie has made valuable connections with the people she has encountered.

“When you go in to get your blood checked every week, or more than once a week, it’s really nice to see friendly faces and people who care and know you—and to develop those kind of relationships.”

As Stefanie and her medical team work to perfect her dosage of chemotherapy medication, she remains grateful for the progress that has been made in cancer research and corresponding treatments.

“Honestly, I’m very lucky to have the kind of cancer that I do. I’m lucky that it’s as treatable as it is, and lucky that I found out about it when I did,” she says.

To her, the evolution of new cancer treatments is a source of comfort and inspiration. Stefanie believes advancements in any area of cancer treatment are an indication of promise for people with all types of cancer. And she is adamant that donations to cancer research – no matter the amount – are critical to the advancement of cancer treatments and cures.

“I think it’s really remarkable that cancer has come such a long way in terms of the treatments that are out there,” says Stefanie.  “About 10 years ago, my disease was a fatal one. Now, it’s completely treatable and curable. So I would say the biggest thing is not to give up hope and to know that there are options out there. That the research being done today really is changing lives … and it’s changing lives in our lifetime.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. Stefanie is our survivor for April.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611

 

 

Posted in Cancer Care, Doctors at Rose, Patient Care, Patient Stories, Surviving Well | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet Rose’s DAISY Award Winner for April – Diana Manchek!

Diana (right) receiving the Rose Daisy Award.

Diana (right) receiving the Rose Daisy Award.

Congratulations to Diana Manchek on becoming the sixth Rose DAISY Award winner! As a case manager on Rose’s medical oncology unit, Diana has touched the lives of patients and loved ones on Rose’s 5th floor. She has been nominated for the Rose DAISY Award numerous times by patients, families and physicians.

This month’s award was quite the surprise, as Diana serves on Rose’s DAISY committee and has always been involved in picking the prior winners. Her co-committee members had a very difficult time keeping this a secret!

In the award announcement, it was shared that “Diana takes the time to sit with patients and families as they come to understand, through her gentle communication, what their disease means, what they can expect in their care and assists them as they make a plan for their future.”

Diana goes above and beyond her role as a case manager by forging meaningful and trusting relationships with those she encounters at Rose. By offering her support, compassion and empathy to patients and their families, Diana helps people cope with the difficulties associated with cancer.

Diana (center) with fellow staff members.

Diana (center) with fellow staff members.

A spouse of one of the patients Diana cared for shared her appreciation for Diana’s efforts to make her husband feel comfortable during his hospital stay: “Diana helped him set up shop at the hospital,” she says in reference to the accommodations Diana helped make so that her husband could continue to work while undergoing treatment.

Rose oncologist Dr. Alan Feiner also nominated Diana: “Diana has worked to improve the whole cancer team experience for patients and families, from start to finish!”

Diana is a nurse who takes it upon herself to positively impact the lives of those she encounters, and she is truly an integral part of the team at Rose.

Congratulations to Diana, case management and the 5th floor at Rose!


If you want to nominate a compassionate Rose nurse for the DAISY Award, please contact us through our website or look for DAISY Award nomination forms around the hospital.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses was born to honor the skillful and compassionate care provided by nurses. DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, and nurses who receive the DAISY Award are honored in a number of ways. They receive a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful hand-crafted sculpture entitled A Healer’s Touch. The winner’s department is also recognized with a banner to display and Cinnabon® cinnamon rolls.

Posted in Cancer Care, Patient Care, Patient Stories, What's Happening at Rose | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment