Karla Dirks enjoying the company of her family
Karla Dirks was looking forward to a great road trip to St. Louis with her sister, but it ended with an injury followed by more bad news.
While attending a Cardinals’ playoff game in 2011, Karla fell and hit the back of her head on a concrete step while returning to her seat following the seventh-inning stretch.
A follow-up CT scan revealed a brain tumor – news that left her scared and surprised since she hadn’t experienced any symptoms to hint that something was wrong. The tumor was a meningioma, which grows from the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Somewhat easing her concerns, she learned that these tumors were slow growing and often not malignant.
Her doctor referred her to Brian Russell, MD, a Springfield Clinic neurosurgeon, who explained that she had three options: brain surgery followed by two to three months off work to recuperate; do nothing and keep an eye on the tumor; or an outpatient procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery that would not require an incision. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Cancer Care, Women | Posted on 14-11-2012
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Barbi Walter, her husband, their three children, and their two grandchildren
If it weren’t for a visit to Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair, Barbi Walter is convinced she wouldn’t be alive today.
And it’s taught her to never ignore minor aches and pains because they could be warning signs of larger problems. “I had all the signs,” she said. “I just didn’t listen to them.”
The owner of Barbi’s Styling Studio in Sherman, Barbi and her preteen daughter, Molly, visited the fair in October 2011 in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. She decided to give blood at the Central Illinois Community Blood Center, which was stationed at the fair, to teach her daughter the importance of giving back to the community.
A worker told her they couldn’t accept her blood. She was “severely anemic” and was urged to follow up with her doctor as soon as possible. The following Monday at her doctor’s office, her iron level was even lower. Read the rest of this entry »
Fall is finally here, the leaves changed color and pink is everywhere. Yes, pink! October is the official month for National Breast Cancer Awareness. We all know preventing and detecting breast cancer early can help save lives.
“One of the most important actions to prevent any cancer is eating a balanced, healthy diet,” says Christina Rollins, Clinical Dietitian III at Memorial Medical Center and spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association. “And by healthy diet, I don’t mean the usual American fare that is high in processed foods and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables.”
Studies have shown that diets low in red meat and higher in fish, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive and canola oil may help protect against a number of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Secret Fall Food to Help Protect Against Breast Cancer Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Cancer Care, Women | Posted on 17-10-2012
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Jennifer with her friends
Just because you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, it doesn’t mean you’re safe. Jennifer Finley learned that when she was diagnosed a decade ago in her early 30s.
Her first child, Nicholas, was just a baby when she visited her doctor for a routine exam. Her doctor felt something that he thought should be checked out further. It turned out to be cancer and it had grown extremely fast.
“It was totally out of the blue,” the Buffalo mom of three recalls. “I’d had no family history of anyone having breast cancer.”
More than 220,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Like Jennifer, more than 85 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Wilkin and Family
On April 2, Stephen Wilkin was feeling tired. It was a Monday, and after a weekend of family time and riding his motorcycle, he assumed he was coming down with a cold or the flu. He called his physician clinic, which ordered some blood work.
By the end of the day, Stephen was an inpatient on Memorial’s 2E Oncology unit.
“His physician’s office had called back, told him they thought he had leukemia and to get to Memorial Medical Center right away,” recalled Stephen’s daughter, Ashley Creasey. “My mom and I were both in shock.”
Stephen, 56 of Girard, assumed he was coming to MMC for more tests, but he was admitted that night. Read the rest of this entry »
Angie Daniels and her family
Diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in her late 20s, Angie Daniels now hopes to share her story and encouragement with other young women after they receive the same life-shattering news.
“When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t have anyone to reach out to,” the Springfield mom of two young girls recalls. Other women diagnosed with breast cancer were older “and their situation was much different” than hers.
Today, she and a friend, a breast cancer survivor she met when she learned of her diagnosis, are working to start a support group for other young women who have been diagnosed with cancer. They’re collaborating with Bright Pink, a national nonprofit group that offers education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Cancer Care, Women | Posted on 20-08-2012
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Becky Daughtery, CNA
Even while Becky Daugherty was receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, she rarely let it slow her down as she worked with hospice patients – some of whom were losing their own battles with cancer.
Becky is a certified nursing assistant with Memorial Home Services Hospice and has worked with hospice patients for 23 years. Her cancer journey only strengthened her bond with her patients.
“They’ve told me that I have a better understanding of what they’re going through,” she said.
The Pawnee resident is one of three women who were named Super Survivors for this year’s Be Aware Women’s Fair, an annual event hosted by Memorial Medical Center that is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Rhonda Roles, RN, Memorial Regional Cancer Center nurse navigator and Kathryn Peterson, Carlinville
Kathryn Peterson first started seeing flashing lights out of the corner of her eye last December. Several weeks later, a neighbor rushed her to the hospital in her hometown of Carlinville after the lights and pain in her head intensified.
The doctor first suspected a migraine. Until a Computed Tomography (CT) scan revealed a large mass in her brain.
“He turned white as a ghost,” Kathryn said. “I was in an ambulance on my way to Memorial in minutes.”
Estranged from her family and with few friends, Kathryn felt alone. But then she met nurse navigator Rhonda Roles, RN.
Rhonda’s role as the Memorial Regional Cancer Center’s nurse navigator is to ensure patients connect to resources they need. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you know a breast cancer survivor who has been an inspiration to others? Memorial Medical Center’s Be Aware Women’s Fair committee is accepting nominations for its annual Super Survivors program, which pampers and honors three such women each October.
Nominations will be accepted until July 20 at BeAwareWomensFair.com or by mailing a completed nomination form to Super Survivor, c/o Memorial Medical Center Foundation, 701 N. First St., Springfield, IL 62781.
Three nominees will be selected in a random drawing on July 23. Each will receive a makeover that includes a visit to BJ Grand Salon the day before and on the morning of the Be Aware Women’s Fair, free admission to the women’s fair, a new outfit to unveil during a fashion show on the day of the event and other gifts. Memorial’s third annual Be Aware Women’s Fair will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Memorial Medical Center’s Regional Cancer Center has two top-of-the-line Varian TrueBeam linear accelerators to use during a patient’s radiation therapy.
Once treated through surgery, some brain tumors are now treated as an outpatient procedure – and without a single incision – using a linear accelerator.
Stereotactic radiosurgery, also known as bloodless brain surgery, “is a form of radiation therapy that can control and decrease the size of tumors without putting the patient through the risk involved with a standard open operation,” explained Brian Russell, MD, a neurosurgeon with Springfield Clinic during an interview with Bob Murray on radio station WTAX.
Memorial Medical Center’s Regional Cancer Center is one of only a few facilities in the nation to have two top-of-the-line Varian TrueBeam linear accelerators. These state-of-the-art machines shape the beams used for radiation therapy to treat cancer or to prevent additional tumor growth. Read the rest of this entry »