Embodying the Giving Spirit: NorthShore Employee, Donor, Volunteer and Patient Diane Cole

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 9:15 AM comments (0)

Some know Diane Cole as the Senior Director of Finance for NorthShore’s Research Institute, Foundation and Department of Family Medicine, but others, including many NorthShore patients, know her as a committed and active NorthShore volunteer and donor.  

diane coleDiane’s commitment to giving back has afforded her unique insight into the patient experience at NorthShore, which was only deepened this year when she became a patient herself. Diagnosed with breast cancer in February, Diane underwent treatment at Kellogg Cancer Center. After treatment, Diane and her husband organized a paintball tournament fundraiser to support the research of Katharine Yao, MD, Director of NorthShore’s Breast Cancer Surgical Program. 

Diane tells us why giving back is so important and how it has impacted her life:  

How do you give back?
I donate through NorthShore’s Employee Combined Appeal to support Medical Education, volunteer for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk and push wheelchairs at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital. In the past, I have helped out at the Hospitals’ Gala and the American Craft Exposition (ACE), which raises funds to support ovarian cancer research conducted at NorthShore.

Why do you give back?
NorthShore is worth the effort.  It’s a good place with caring, compassionate people who work hard every day to help others. Volunteering also makes me feel useful in a personal way.

What impact has giving had on your life?
Giving back feels good.  I’ve made some exceptionally nice new friends along the way. Hosting the fundraiser gave me new appreciation for the important work that NorthShore Foundation does every day.

Is there one experience as a volunteer that stands out?
Two come to mind: When I volunteered to push wheelchairs at Glenbrook Hospital, I stood by the Ambulatory Care Center entrance near Kellogg Cancer Center. There was a lady who had just lost a loved one after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was heading out the door and broke down in tears in the lobby. I walked over to see if she was okay. She shared her story and I just listened. I gave her a hug. I can’t say I’ve ever hugged someone I didn’t know. I hope she is doing okay.

I volunteered to escort guests from the front of Evanston Hospital to the Burch Building where the Red Kite Society was hosting an event for children with autism. One little boy who attended was blind. He took my hand and we walked together from one end of the hospital to the other. I was moved by how happy he seemed. It made me think of how much I take for granted.  

What would you say to others to encourage them to give back too?  
Giving back is rewarding in ways you may not expect. You learn from other volunteers and, in my experience as a NorthShore volunteer, from the patients I’m helping.  

Join Diane in giving back here. Learn more about volunteer opportunties at NorthShore here

Giving Makes a Profound Impact: Associate Board Member Mike Jelinske

Friday, November 29, 2013 9:00 AM comments (0)

JelinskeMike Jelinske has been a member of the Associate Board of NorthShore University HealthSystem for nearly two years. The Associate Board is a group of young professionals whose philanthropic events and service programs benefit NorthShore and the surrounding community. An important asset on the member recruitment team, he has brought in many new faces and is now the board’s president-elect. In addition to his work with the Associate Board, Mike is an associate at RoundTable HealthCare Partners in Lake Forest.

Mike tells us why he is so passionate about giving back and why he would encourage others to do the same:

How do you give back?
For me, giving back is more than just a monetary commitment; it’s about providing my time, energy and skills to help an organization make a truly positive impact on someone’s life.

Why do you give back?
I give back because it’s incredibly rewarding, especially if you’re passionate about the cause! 

What impact has giving had on your life?
It has had a profound impact. My general attitude in life is to try to make the world a better place and enjoy every minute of every day. By giving and serving others, I get closer to accomplishing that goal. 

What would you say to others to encourage them to give back in some way?
The most successful relationships I have are with people and organizations I do more for than they do for me. As the proverb proclaims, “What goes around, comes around.”

Join Mike in giving back here. Learn more about the NorthShore Foundation and its auxiliaries here.  

Taking GERD out of the Holidays

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 4:27 PM comments (0)

GerdIt’s that time of year again, the time of year when moderation at mealtimes goes right out the window. Thanksgiving, office holiday parties, after-work drinks, any occasion where food brings friends and family together all make it difficult to spare a thought or two for what and how much food we’re putting into our mouths. And, unfortunately, all that immoderation can cause more than just a little weight gain by the end of the year.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, irritating the lining of the esophagus and causing the symptoms of GERD, which include acid reflux and heartburn. Acid reflux and heartburn are common but a person is diagnosed with GERD only when these symptoms begin to occur frequently, or when they start to interfere with one’s daily activities. 

Help take the possibility of GERD and its symptoms out of your holiday celebrations with these tips on GERD management and prevention from Mick Scott Meiselman, MD, Gastroenterology at NorthShore: 

Don’t eat too much. It won’t be easy with the many food-centered events around the holidays, but try to watch the amount of food you consume at each meal. Sometimes heartburn isn’t caused by what you eat but how much you eat. And it doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re eating something that is actually good for you; eating too much in one sitting increases your likelihood of suffering heartburn later.

Don’t eat too quickly. Savor your special holiday favorites not only because they taste good but because eating slowly is good for you too. Eating too quickly might be the cause of frequent heartburn. If the holidays have you running around and eating on the go, start to make a point of sitting and slowing down at each meal. This also comes with the added benefit of possibly preventing you from eating too much without realizing it. 

Don’t eat or drink too late. Reflux is overtly impacted by gravity. The majority of people with reflux have an ineffective Lower Esophageal Sphincter (or LES) which helps keep your stomach contents from moving up into your esophagus. Thus any food or liquid contents in your stomach when you lie flat will find their way into your esophagus. It is extremely important that you have an empty stomach at bedtime, so don’t eat any solid food for three hours before you go to bed, and no liquids beyond the hour before bed, and none in the middle of the night. 

Avoid high-fat foods. Another difficult directive during the holidays but many of those traditional holiday foods are high in fat and calories. High-fat foods tend to take longer to digest and sit longer in the stomach; thus, they cause more discomfort and increase the likelihood of triggering GERD symptoms. Fats also relax the LES. Moderation is key but there are also many delicious alternatives to some of your high-fat holiday favorites.

Avoid acidic foods. Acid causes heartburn. Foods high in acid, like tomatoes and citrus fruits and juices, can trigger heartburn on an empty stomach. Try to avoid them if possible or limit them if not. 

Limit coffee, caffeinated sodas, alcohol. All these drinks stimulate acid production and are likely to cause heartburn. Cut them out or keep their consumption to a minimum. Mixed drinks, like Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers, which contain juice and alcohol, would certainly be a trigger for heartburn. Consider decaf and herbal teas instead.

Limit or avoid chocolate and mint. Chocolate and mint also relax the LES, and allow reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. You should especially avoid these late at night.

Do you know what triggers your GERD symptoms?

Mind Games: Your Brain Needs a Good Workout, Too

Friday, November 22, 2013 1:08 PM comments (0)

mind exercisesEveryone knows your body needs exercise to stay in peak shape. But did you know your brain does too? Physical exercise is essential to the health of both your body and brain, but you can do even more to keep your brain in shape. Challenging your brain with cognitive exercises is another great way to keep your mind sharp.

Chad Yucus, MD, Neurology at NorthShore, answers questions and shares some ways to give your brain the workout it needs to stay sharp at any age:

Do brain teasers and puzzles actually help to keep your mind sharp? Are certain types of puzzles and activities better than others?
There are many types of cognitive activities that help to keep the brain sharp, involving word games and number games, such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, computer games and board/card games.  There is no strategy that is particularly better than another, but learning a new hobby, game and/or language is a good way to keep the brain sharp.

Why would a new hobby be helpful?
Learning a new skill or starting a new hobby that requires skills you don’t typically use can be helpful because it challenges you to keep learning and function in a way that is not familiar. It’s a great way to stay mentally active whatever your age.

Who benefits from cognitive exercises and activities?
Everyone. 

How do you keep your brain healthy to prevent memory loss?
There is no strategy to truly prevent memory loss, but there are strategies to delay the effects of any pathology (changes caused by disease) that may be developing in the brain.  This is based upon building a cognitive reserve before any problems begin to develop. These strategies include the cognitive exercises above, physical exercise, social activities—spending time with friends, planning events—regular sleep patterns and a low-cholesterol Mediterranean diet.  

How much time should you devote each day to cognitive exercise?
Think of it in terms of regular physical exercise. Your brain and the rest of your body need about the same each day, approximately 30-60 minutes of cognitive and physical exercise every day is a good place to start.

How do you exercise your brain?

The Harmful Effects of Smoking and the Health Benefits of Quitting [Infographic]

Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:51 AM comments (0)

Smoking is more than just a bad habit; it’s the leading cause of preventative death worldwide. Each year, close to 400,000 people in the U.S. will die from smoking-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. 

As part of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, NorthShore University HealthSystem has created an infographic that explores the harmful effects of smoking and the big health benefits of quitting. Make today the day you break a deadly habit and begin to look forward to many healthier years ahead. 

Click on the image below to be directed to the full infographic

smoking infographic

Childhood Epilepsy: What to Do in the Event of a Seizure and How to Prevent Injury

Friday, November 15, 2013 12:49 PM comments (0)

epilepsy smallCurrently about 325,000 American children under the age of 15 have epilepsy, with 200,000 new cases being diagnosed each year, according to the Epilepsy Foundation of America.  Epilepsy is a disorder involving repeated seizures, or episodes of disturbed brain function associated with changes in attention and/or behavior. Although some children will outgrow the disorder or can have it easily managed through medication, others may be more severely impacted throughout their lives.

Kent Kelley, MD, Pediatric Neurology, tells parents, caregivers and teachers what they should know in the event of a seizure as well as some steps they can take to prevent harm from seizures before they happen:

  • Always make sure your child is carrying or wearing some form of medical identification, if appropriate. Teachers and caregivers should be made aware of your child’s disorder and how to act should a seizure occur.
  • Monitor your child’s surroundings for potential hazards. Avoid nearby objects that could cause harm if your child were to have a seizure, such as a hot stove or lawn mower.
  • Even if your child has not experienced a seizure for some time, don’t adjust the dosage of medication without the advice and supervision of your child’s physician. In addition, before giving your child any other medication, check to make sure there will not be a negative reaction with his or her seizure medication. If you have questions, call your physician or pharmacist.
  • In the event of a seizure:
  1. Make sure that clothing isn’t restricting the neck and causing difficulty breathing.
  2. Do not try to hold the child down or restrain him or her.
  3. Remove any objects that could cause harm from around the child.
  4. After the seizure has subsided, position the child on his or her side to help keep the airway clear.
  5. Call 911 if the seizure lasts for longer than five minutes, the child cannot be awakened, or if another seizure begins shortly following the first. Depending on the type of seizure, different actions may need to be taken.

 

Drug Facts: Molly, or MDMA

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:12 PM comments (0)

drugsMolly, a supposedly pure form of the drug MDMA, is seeing a spike in use among young people. Users of Molly see it as a safe, inexpensive drug with few long-term negative side effects, like addiction. Many celebrities, including most recently Miley Cyrus, have quite literally been singing its praises.

But Molly, known previously in the 1980s and ‘90s as Ecstasy, is an illegal drug and it comes with many risks. A mind-altering drug that is a stimulant and hallucinogenic, it boosts both serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. Users of the drug report feelings of happiness, euphoria, empathy, decreased anxiety and fear, as well as enhanced sensory perception, which makes it a popular dance club drug.

Jerrold Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicology and Emergency Medicine at NorthShore, dispels some of the myths surrounding Molly:

  • Myth: It is safer than other drugs.
    Truth: A stimulant, like speed or amphetamines, it comes with many of the same dangers. It can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. It can cause tremors, cramps, nausea, chills, blurred vision and dehydration, especially if combined with hours of dancing. High doses of the drug in the bloodstream can increase one’s risk of seizure and heartbeat irregularity.  There have been cases of brain bleeding requiring surgery after use of Molly.  It has also been known to cause hyperthermia, or a rapid increase in the body’s temperature, which can cause life-threatening heat stroke. 
  • Myth: There are no after effects or long-term negative side effects.
    Truth: As the drug wears off and serotonin levels drop rapidly, users report a depression that can last for several days and range from mild to severe. And while prolonged use eventually begins to diminish users' highs, which means a relatively low risk of physical addiction, it also means that many users take larger doses to achieve a high, increasing the risk of overdose. Over time, repeated use may cause memory loss. Bleeding from the brain can be deadly, and brain surgery to prevent death carries many potential risks and complications that may result in permanent damage and neurologic dysfunction.
  • Myth: Unlike Ecstasy, Molly is pure.
    Truth: Molly is short for “molecule” and as such, it is a myth that all Molly is Ecstacy and is pure.  Those involved in the drug trade make different molecules from MDMA and call them “Molly” to evade governmental regulation and law enforcement.  Other chemicals are sold under the name “Molly” as well.  This results in a mixture of different molecules with unknown short-term and long-term effects that have not been fully studied by scientists. Additionally, it could be cut with potentially hazardous chemicals or it could be a completely different drug altogether.  There is no way for the user to know what is actually in that powder or pill.

How do you talk to your kids about drugs?

Beating the Odds: Diana Pacholski Five Years After Being Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer

Thursday, November 07, 2013 7:08 PM comments (0)

cancerApproximately 45,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and over 38,000 will die from it.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 53, Diana Pacholski was shocked to discover there is only a six-percent chance of survival of five years for pancreatic cancer patients. Now 58, Diana and Mark Talamonti, MD, Surgeon at NorthShore, discuss pancreatic cancer and how she beat the odds in this NorthShore University HealthSystem patient story.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, so this month help us spread the word about the disease and importance of continued research. 

Take Charge of Your Own Diabetes Care

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 4:53 PM comments (0)

diabetes careThere is no cure for type 2 diabetes but it can be controlled. Controlling type 2 diabetes can become a seamless part of your daily life, from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to making time for regular exercise.  Lifestyle changes like these are important to prevent diabetic health issues, but it is equally important to stay on top of appointments and health checks with your physician. It doesn’t take long for high blood sugar to damage your body, so regular testing and checkups to catch problems as early as possible are vital. 

Mary Bennett, RD, LD, CDE, Diabetes Education Outpatient Manager at NorthShore, shares a checklist of important diabetic tests and when they need to be done to help you take control of your own type 2 diabetes care:

  • A1c test. Lowering A1c reduces diabetes complications.
    How often: Every 3-6 months.
  • Blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure reduces your risk of stroke, kidney and eye problems.
    How often: Every visit.
  • Cholesterol (LDL) levels. Lowering your LDL level reduces your risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
    How often: Every year.
  • Depression screen. A diabetes diagnosis can be difficult. This test monitors your emotional health and allows you the opportunity to discuss the effect that diabetes may have on your lifestyle.
    How often: Every year.
  • Diabetes kidney function test. Catching and treating early kidney damage may prevent the need for dialysis.
    How often: Every year.
  • Eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. It can cause loss of vision and blindness. Early detection is very important.
    How often: Every year. 
  • Foot exam. Diabetes can cause neuropathy, or nerve damage. This nerve damage can lessen your ability to feel pain in your feet and extremities, which means injuries might go unnoticed and worsen over time. Check your feet daily. More comprehensive checks should be done by your doctor as well. He/she will observe your feet, check pulses and test sensation using a monofilament.
    How often: Every year. 
  • Immunizations. Some illness like the flu, pneumonia and tetanus can be very serious for people with diabetes. It is important to stay up-to-date on vaccines to prevent complications.
    How often: Every year. 

Join us November 14th at 10 a.m. for an online medical chat "Living with Diabetes: The Importance of Foot Health" with Harry Papagianis, D.P.M., NorthShore-affiliated Podiatrist. Submit your questions here. 

Fall into Wellness with Health and Fitness Tips Suited to the Season [Infographic]

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:49 PM comments (0)

Cooler temperatures are no excuse to let your health and wellness fall by the wayside. In fact, fall is the perfect time to take advantage of some of the highlights of the season, from incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet to kicking your fitness routine up a notch with fall-friendly activities. 

NorthShore University HealthSystem has created an infographic filled with fall health tips and creative fall fitness suggestions. Click on the image to see our full Fall into Wellness infographic

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