Surviving Well: Marilyn, Vulvar Cancer,, 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.,, 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.,, 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,, 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,, 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.,, 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),, 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.,, 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.,, 720.560.1611



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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

Pain management during labor

Pregnant Woman in Labor

Guest post:

Are you starting to think about labor and wondering how you will cope with the pain?

Many women are nervous and don’t know where to begin. Whether you are planning to labor without pain medicine or with an epidural, you will experience at least some powerful contractions. It is helpful for you and your support people to have an idea of what will help. The great news is that all of us have coping mechanisms that we have used and that work for us, you just may not recognize them.

Answer these questions: When you stub your toe, bang your knee or bonk your head on the cupboard what do you do? When you are feeling stressed or ill, what do you do?

We can organize coping mechanisms into five categories, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile, visual and olfactory. Most likely you will find several modalities that have worked for you in the past.

Here is a list of various coping mechanisms and how they can be utilized during labor:

Auditory- This is a coping mechanism for you if: you tend to moan, groan, chant or even swear when you get hurt; or if you listen to or play music, meditate using mantras or talk to someone trusted when you are feeling down or stressed.

How to use it: I think this is the least recognized of the methods people use every day. A majority of people make some kind of noise when they stub their toe, but for some reason people think that labor should be a quiet process. I am not advocating screaming, but mantras or moans in a nice alto range can be very helpful. Try a gentle “oh” with exhalations. Music is great in labor. Music creates a mood, can be calming or bring energy. Bring a variety of music with you to the hospital. There are some women who even sing in labor. (Check out YouTube videos for inspiration).

Pregnant Woman with Headphones

Kinesthetic- Consider this mode if you: Jump around, rock or shake the injured limb when you get hurt or if you find exercise, hiking or walking to be soothing.

How to use it: If you are a mover, then get out of that bed! Use a birthing ball or rocking chair when you need to rest, otherwise walk or slow dance with your support person. Rose Medical Center has cordless monitors, so you can move even when your baby needs to be monitored. If you honor you natural need to move, you will find positions that will help your baby descend into your pelvis. Rhythm is a common pattern for people who cope using a kinesthetic modality. This may be simply shaking your hand, tapping your foot or rocking to music. (Look at for ideas).

Visual- When you go to the dentist or get stuck in traffic if you imagine yourself on a beach this is a good modality for you. If you light candles and dim the lights to relax, this might be your coping method.

How to use it: Women often have a favorite place that they can visualize. The more senses that can be pulled into the visualization, the more powerful it becomes. Work with your support people so that they can help you “go” to your happy place, not just what you see, but feel, smell, taste and hear when you are there. Imagery is when you “see” your contractions gently opening your cervix and your baby getting lower with each wave. You can use imagery to prepare for labor and increase confidence by imagining yourself coping well with the different stages. Consider the lighting in the room, and keep it tidy.

Pregnant Woman Foot Rub

Tactile- This will work for you if you: Rub the injury or need a hug when things go wrong. If a soak in the tub or a massage makes all your troubles go away, keep this mode in mind.

How to use it: Most of us know how good a gentle touch or loving hug can make us feel. Massage or strategically placed pressure on your sacrum can be very helpful in labor. Your support person doesn’t have to be professionally  trained–a little lotion and a foot rub can transport you away from contractions. A touch to tensed muscles can remind you to relax between contractions. Warning to support people: often women become very sensitive to touch at the end of labor. Do not take it personally if the laboring woman all of a sudden tells you “don’t touch me.” What worked in early labor may not work during transition. Hydrotherapy is incredibly effective in labor. Take advantage of the big tubs in the labor rooms at Rose.

Olfactory- If you sniff every candle in the store or have a supply of essential oils, consider this modality.

How to use it: Women are often sensitive to odors in labor. Support people, please don’t eat stinky fish or French fries in the room! Essential oils work very well for providing a lovely scent that you can easily control. A drop or two on a cotton ball is all it takes to scent a room. If the scent begins to annoy, or you want a different scent, just put the cotton in a plastic bag and take it away.

As you prepare for labor, pay attention to the things in your life that bring you peace, build your confidence, distract you and help you relax. Work with your support team to identify coping methods that can be translated into use during labor.

Best of luck!

Jennifer Fields CNM, MS 

Rose Midwifery

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

Surviving Well: Hope, Colon Cancer,, 720.560.1611Hope Hawn is no stranger to intense situations. As a victim advocate for the Lakewood Police Department, Hope responds to crisis calls to provide comfort, support and referrals. Ironically, Hope has never felt particularly comfortable around doctors. For many years, she avoided doctors altogether.

“For some reason, I’ve always had this strong fear of doctors. So I’ve resisted going to the doctor, and I hadn’t had a physical in like 22 years,” she says.

But when her mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in October 2012, Hope started feeling pressure from friends and family to finally visit the place she had long avoided—the doctor’s office.

“I always assumed if I did the right things, that I didn’t need to worry about it,” she says.

Her mother, having undergone surgery after her cancer was discovered, encouraged Hope to get a colonoscopy. Hope’s three sisters were equally persistent, and when a close friend asked her about the last time she had had a physical, she told him not to go there.

She explained her fear of doctors and remained convinced that she didn’t need a physical. Believing she was fine, and feeling just that way, she decided against going to the doctor.

Eventually, at the urging of friends and family, she finally agreed to schedule an appointment to prove them wrong.

“So I called and made an appointment, fully expecting to go in and have the doctor say, ‘Oh everything’s great, see you in about another 20 years!’” she says.

Finally confronting her fears, Hope went in for her physical. The doctor called her about a week later to tell her she had low iron and that it was probably normal for someone her age. Hope was advised to schedule her first colonoscopy, just to be certain.

She called gastroenterologist Dr. Jonathan Fishman at Rose Medical Center to set up a consultation. Dr. Fishman also believed that her low iron levels could be due to her age, and it wasn’t particularly unusual to have that deficiency. Offering emotional support, a nurse comforted Hope, suggesting she treat herself after the procedure. Expecting a clean bill of health, or perhaps instructions to take iron supplements, Hope had her first colonoscopy.

When she woke up, Dr. Fishman was with her. He explained the results of her colonoscopy, and gave her a difficult diagnosis. Hope had colorectal cancer.

“About then I almost fell off the table,” says Hope, recalling the shock.

Rose colorectal surgeon Dr. David Longcope walked into Hope’s room, and the two instantly recognized each other. They had gotten to know each other months earlier—Dr. Longcope was her mother’s surgeon too.,, 720.560.1611“Oh I think [Dr. Longcope] is outstanding. In fact, if I hadn’t had seen him in the emergency room, I probably would have gotten up and said, ‘I’m not having the surgery,’ or ran away. But because I knew him from my mom’s experience, and [because] he has a very calming effect… I think that’s the one thing that kept me from not just getting up that day and going, ‘OK, I’m not going to face this!’ or running out of the room,” says Hope.

About a week later, during a surgical procedure, Dr. Longcope removed the tumor and approximately eight inches of Hope’s colon. She has been cancer free since the surgery.

“Rose was wonderful,” she says.  “I loved the hospital. The nurses were all really friendly and very attentive to my needs.”

Dr. Longcope told Hope that her tumor was particularly aggressive and that the timing turned out to be really good. If she had waited much longer, the cancer would have likely spread outside of her colon.

“He told me I was probably one of the luckiest women on earth,” Hope says.

Recovering very quickly, Hope left the hospital just two days after her surgery. She didn’t experience any complications, and she even worried Dr. Longcope when she went without any pain medication.

“Actually it went really well,” she says of her procedure.

Hope was diagnosed in April 2013. About a week after her diagnosis, she had surgery. By September, Hope and her sister were on a plane to Paris, France, to finally enjoy Hope’s “dream trip.”

She had to postpone her dream vacation when she found out she had cancer. After her surgery, Hope was finally able to take the trip as a celebration of all that she had overcome.

Now, she keeps a picture of Dr. Longcope on her desk. He was featured on the cover of 5280 magazine as one of the “Top Docs” in Colorado, and Hope can vouch for that herself.

“People say, ‘Oh is that your boyfriend?’” she says. “I say, ‘No, that’s the doctor that saved my life.’ So then I tell them, ‘You need to have a colonoscopy.’”

Since Hope’s experience with cancer, her perspective on visits to the doctor’s office has changed. She encourages others to be proactive about their health, and she is determined to adopt the same approach.

“Now I realize the importance of keeping on top of my health,” she says.

“The medical field is so far advanced these days that if you catch cancer early, then your chance of survival is very high,” she says. “So you shouldn’t let [the] fear of getting that diagnosis stop you from going in and being checked out.”

The Rose “Surviving Well” calendar is a 12-month calendar highlighting our cancer services, physicians and inspirational stories from our patients. Hope is our survivor for March.,, 720.560.1611

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Rose ranks in top 100 hospitals in the nation

TRU_100TOP_4cp_2014Rose Medical Center has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics™ for the seventh time. Since 1993, Truven Health Analytics has been a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. Each year, the study is conducted and top-performing hospitals are recognized.

The selections are determined according to a variety of criteria based on a national balanced scorecard. There are 10 categories used to evaluate hospital performance: mortality; inpatient complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; post-discharge mortality; and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure and pneumonia.

If all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • More than 165,000 additional lives could be saved.
  • Nearly 90,000 additional patients could be complication-free
  • $5.4 billion could be saved.
  • The average patient stay would decrease by half a day.

Of course, if the same standards were applied to all inpatients, the impact would be even greater. Rose is honored to receive this recognition of efforts made to consistently improve healthcare and patient outcomes, and proud to be among the top hospitals in the country.

“Our vision at Rose is to provide insanely great care for our patients, and our continued recognition with this elite group of hospitals tells me that we are well on our way to that goal,” said Kenneth Feiler, President & CEO of Rose Medical Center. “I am so proud to work with our staff, physicians and volunteers who show commitment, passion and willingness to do what is right for every patient every day.”

Rose Frong

The winning hospitals were announced in the February 28 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine. For more information, view Rose’s news release or visit More information on Rose Medical Center can always be found at

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