Surviving Well: Kina, Breast Cancer

To say that breast cancer changed Kina McMillian’s life would be an understatement. To say that breast cancer changed her life in a profound and meaningful way would be more accurate.

Kina has the unique ability to find the good in most everything she sees. She has taken a difficult and overwhelming part of her life and transformed it into a tool she uses to help others. Above all, she is brave and unflinchingly passionate.

“To me, it’s been a blessing, because I’ve been able to talk to other people… and just walk them through it, walk them through my experience,” says Kina.

She has used her diagnosis as an opportunity to become involved in the fight against breast cancer.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that may be my reason of why I got breast cancer to begin with,” she says.

Since her diagnosis, Kina has been involved in a number of events in her community aimed at fighting breast cancer. From modeling shoes in a fashion show to participating in walks and speaking at luncheons, Kina has dedicated herself to the cause. And she doesn’t plan to stop.

“I’m going to do it for the rest of my life,” she says convincingly.

In 1995, Kina noticed a lump in her breast. A biopsy proved the lump to be benign, but she has been no stranger to mammograms ever since. In 2012, when she found another lump in her breast, a biopsy proved yet again that the lump was benign.

In October 2012, Kina found another small lump in her left breast. Assuming it was most likely benign like the others she had found, she didn’t take it seriously and chose not to do much about it.

It wasn’t until December of that year that Kina saw a cause for concern when she mentioned the lump to her gynecologist during her yearly check-up. Since she had already had her annual mammogram, her gynecologist scheduled her for an ultrasound.

On her way home from the doctor’s office, a lump seemed to appear in Kina’s neck. She called her primary care physician, who told her to come back to the office the following day. They ran some tests and began to suspect that Kina had lymphoma.

Kina told her doctor about the lump in her breast. Deciding not to wait for the ultrasound she had already scheduled, Kina’s doctor sent her to Rose Medical Center for a biopsy.

The biopsy concluded that Kina had Stage 4 breast cancer. It had spread from her left breast, up to the lymph nodes in her underarms and onto the lymph nodes in her neck.

“I honestly think that lump growing like that saved my life,” says Kina. The lump in her neck was the red flag that triggered a quick response from Kina and her medical team.

After Rose Breast Center mammographer Dr. John Lewin called Kina with the results of the biopsy, he proceeded to connect her with Dr. Dev Paul, who took on her case. Acting swiftly, Kina began chemotherapy in the week following her diagnosis.

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

From December 2012 to April 2013, Kina underwent six rounds of chemotherapy. In May, she had a double mastectomy by Rose breast surgeon Dr. Stephanie Miller, and that procedure was followed by radiation therapy for six weeks. Kina is currently in remission.

“I think he’s great. He’s funny,” Kina says of Dr. Paul. “I think he’s a really great doctor, and I’m grateful for him—for all he’s done for me. I guess for the fact that I’m still alive… so I guess he knows what he is doing. Even though my mom questions him all the time,” Kina says, laughing. “She’s like, ‘Are you sure she needs to be taking this medicine? Why are you doing this?’, so anyway he can put up with my mom, he’s alright with me.”

Jokes aside, Kina is grateful for all of the support her family has showed her. She has decided to pay it forward in a variety of ways, like going to sit with other patients during their treatment.

“I was so blessed because my mom and dad, my in-laws and my cousin Alexis just dropped everything and came here from Texas and sat with me—I never sat by myself. So I didn’t want anybody else to have to sit by themselves.”

The most difficult part of it all, Kina says, was watching how it affected her family.

“The radiation burnt my skin totally off, and I was in pain, but I could take that more than I could hear my brother cry,” she says.

Her brother, whom she still refers to as a “little brother” despite the fact that he is 36 years old, wasn’t the only one to take her diagnosis especially hard.

“My husband, he was trying his best to be strong,” she says, describing their first meeting with Dr. Paul. “To see him try to fight back the tears [when] he couldn’t…I had to stay strong. I never let any of them see me cry.”

Of course, Kina is not the only one relieved about the progress she has made.

“Everybody is ecstatic,” she says. Everybody, including her 5-year-old nephew.

“My brother explained to him ‘Auntie’s hair is like mine now, so don’t be shocked,’ and he was all excited because I went home after my hair started growing back, and he’s like ‘Oh! Well I see your hair is growing back!’, so I think everybody is just happy to see that I am getting healthier.”

Kina makes it very clear that the encouragement from those closest to her gave her the courage to keep fighting, and that she is thankful for the strength they gave her.

“I had the best support system ever. My family, my sorority sisters were the best, and my friends—everybody,” she says.

She also offers some support of her own:

“Stay positive because I think that, as long as you keep a positive attitude, it will get you through it. I honestly believe that,” she says. “Keep doing what you do. Don’t slow down.”

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

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

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Surviving Well: Renée, Ovarian Cancer

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611In the summer of 2012, Renée was experiencing bladder issues that she and her primary care physician thought might just be a urinary tract infection. As the discomfort increased, she knew something wasn’t right. Because Renée has worked for nearly 20 years in surgical services at Rose Medical Center, she knows many of the physicians personally and knew that she needed to be seen by Rose urologist Dr. Jeffrey Snyder to see what exactly was causing her so much pain. She went to his office for a bladder scan which was unable to detect any issue; however Dr. Snyder knew that something just wasn’t right, so he sent Renée to the emergency department for a CT scan. That scan discovered two large malignant masses that were in her ovaries and were situated on her bladder.

The following day, Renée was seen by Rose gynecologic oncologist Dr. Daniel Donato and was told that she would need to have surgery to remove the masses. After her surgery, Renée was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer as the cancer had spread to about a foot of her colon.

www.RenditionStudios.com, Laurie@RenditionStudios.com, 720.560.1611Once recovered from her surgery, Renée underwent three rounds of chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells that were in her colon. She then underwent a second surgery in November of 2012 where a peritoneal port was placed in her abdomen. Through this port, she would receive a second round of chemotherapy to kill any cancerous cells that were in her colon. Renée underwent two rounds of chemotherapy with the peritoneal port and was finished with her treatment in December 2012.

After going through two surgeries, five rounds of chemotherapy and being out of work for seven months, Renée returned to work in March of 2013. “I feel so good right now, that those seven months seem like a blur.” Renée had her first PET scan in April of 2013, which indicated that her cancer was in remission.

Renée never lost hope throughout the fight that she endured because of the support from her husband, two daughters as well as the wonderful care that she received from Dr. Donato and Rose oncologist Dr. Michele Basche. Having overcome her fight with cancer, Renée’s faith is now stronger than ever: “I know that God got me through this test so that I can share my testimony. With faith, a positive mind and spirit, you can overcome anything.”

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

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Meet Rose’s DAISY Award Winner for July – Matthew Orr!

Matthew

Matthew (center) holds his award and stands with two of his colleagues.

Congratulations to Matthew Orr on becoming the eighth Rose DAISY Award winner!

Matthew’s nomination came from an 80-year-old gentleman who was experiencing the challenge of a new cardiac diagnosis.  He said, “Matt was busy–but not too busy to take the time to discuss the pacemaker. He cared.  This is unusual in today’s world, when few take the time to help someone like me.”

Matt’s manager, Parulben Darji, says about Matt:

“He demonstrates consistency in providing excellent care to his patients on 4 Central.  Matt treats his patients like his own family.  Last week, Matt called his patient’s wife after a consult to update her on her husband’s condition, [and] the wife was really touched by Matt’s caring attitude.  He takes the time to explain everything to his patients.  It’s not easy for our patients to remember their nurses’ names but I often hear Matt’s name during my rounds for recognition from our patients and family.  [He] is truly an amazing nurse and an asset for 4 Central.  I am so proud of Matt.”

Matthew

Matthew (front right) and other members from the 4 Central team.

Matt’s connection with his patients is particularly noteworthy and important because he works at night, when his patients are most vulnerable and alone. He demonstrates a sincere commitment to the well-being of his patients, and he is an essential part of the team at Rose, which is why he is Rose’s DAISY Award winner for July.

Congratulations to Matt and all of 4 Central! And 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.

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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.

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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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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

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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.

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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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