Super Survivor Overcomes Breast Cancer for Third Time

Posted by | Posted in Be Aware Women's Fair Super Survivors | Posted on 09-18-2014

Barb-Reynolds-Super-SurvivorBarb Reynolds will never forget her first words when she learned that she had breast cancer for the first time.

“I’m only 39 years old,” she told her doctor in October 1997. “My youngest baby is only 4.”

Since that day 17 years ago, Barb has battled breast cancer three times. She learned a year ago that breast cancer had once again reared its ugly head.

“I just couldn’t believe that after all these years I was going to have to go through it all over again,” said Barb, a speech-language pathologist at Lee Elementary School in Springfield, part of Springfield School District 186, with three grown children and two adult stepchildren.

Barb is one of three women who were randomly chosen as Super Survivors to be honored at this year’s Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The fifth annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia: What to Do When It Happens to Your Loved One

Posted by | Posted in Neuroscience | Posted on 09-16-2014

Adult-Children-with-Elderly-ParentWhile it’s hugely prevalent, with one in three seniors ultimately dying with the disease, most people don’t know much about Alzheimer’s and dementia. We’ve already learned from Dr. Therese Meyer-Cox, a neuropsychologist with Memorial Medical Center’s Neurosciences department, about what dementia and Alzheimer’s are. In this installment of our two-part series, she shares the most important information families need to know in order to cope.

What You Can Do to Prevent Suicide

Posted by | Posted in Mental Health | Posted on 09-12-2014

National-Suicide-Prevention-LifelineSuicide is a scary subject that many people don’t talk about often. However, when you worry that someone you know is thinking about committing suicide, it’s hard to know what you can do to help them.

Ben Yamnitz, director of the West Lake Center at the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois shares important information on what you should look for and what you should do if someone you know is considering suicide.

What are the warning signs to look for?

Warning signs can be expressed verbally or through behavior. Someone thinking of suicide may make statements about wanting to die, life not being worth it or other statements about being hopeless and having no reason to live. They may talk about feeling trapped or believe they are a burden to others. They may increase use of alcohol or drugs. They may start isolating themselves. There may be drastic changes in sleeping patterns, sleeping too much or too little.

Eat Your Way to the Finish Line: 5 Nutrition Tips for a Successful Race Day

Posted by | Posted in Biathlon, Exercise, Expert Tips, Nutrition, SportsCare | Posted on 09-10-2014

Finish-LineYou’ve made the decision: You’re going to run a marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, 10K or any other major fitness event, like the upcoming Memorial SportsCare Women’s Biathlon. Good for you! That’s a huge undertaking. And, while training, you might hit hurdles or hard times. You might feel like giving up. But, with the right training and some healthy efforts, you can do it. Go you! 

One aspect of training that gets lost in the shuffle but is an important, necessary part of your preparation is food. Nutrition training is as important as physical training–it can make or break your experience. Angie Sebree, a registered dietitian with Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center, offers her top five tips for training nutrition. 

1. It’s not you eat, but when you eat. 

Sebree offers this tip to those in training: Figure out what time your event will be. While training, eat two hours before that time every day. 

“Train your gut,” she said. “Treat every training day like it’s race day. If you plan to eat one or two hours before the event, eat that way when you train in that timeframe so you will feel the same way when training as you will on race day.” 

2. Make sure what you’re eating is substantial. 

If you have the ability to eat a meal two hours before the event, do that. Sometimes, however, that may not be feasible. 

“If the race is at 7 a.m., you might not want to eat a large meal at 5 a.m., so eat a snack an hour before,” Sebree said. 

Sebree’s rule of thumb for race day nutrition: About an hour to an hour and a half before the race, eat 20-30 grams of carbohydrates and 10-15 grams of protein. You can hit these numbers with a serving of chocolate milk, a Luna bar, a Nature Valley protein bar or a hardboiled egg with two pieces of toast. 

3. Decide if you’re training for speed or weight loss. 

You will need to choose, as both might not be possible. 

“If you’re training for speed, you shouldn’t be losing weight,” Sebree said. “But if you’re training for weight loss, you should know your speed might not be your best.” 

Either way, it is still important to eat within that structured schedule. You might simply need to adjust your calories. That said…

4. Be sure you get enough calories. 

“If you don’t eat enough calories or get adequate nutrition, you’re going to get very fatigued,” Sebree said. “Your weight loss might stall. There is a fine line between eating and physical activity.”

Sebree suggests tracking your caloric input and output using MyFitnessPal or a Fitbit device.

5. Hydration is everything.

“About a week before your event, make sure you’re very hydrated–overly hydrated even,” Sebree said. “A standard 64 to 80 ounces per day plus what you’re losing during your workout.”

Not sure how to quantify how much water you’re losing? Here’s a good rule to follow: For every 30 minutes of physical activity, give yourself 10-16 ounces of fluid. 

The day of the race, two hours before event, drink about 16-24 ounces of fluid, with 12 of those ounces within an hour before the event. 

“After an hour of physical activity, start using Gatorade or other electrolyte replacing fluids,” Sebree said. “Shoot for 10 to16 ounces every 30 minutes.”

Senior Life: Smoothing Over Life’s Rough Patches

Posted by | Posted in Taylorville | Posted on 09-08-2014

Senior-Life-Solutions-DulakisResponsibilities seemed to be piling up for Marilyn Dukakis, 65. She was battling Parkinson’s disease; her mother was in failing health in a nursing home; a family member was venting to her daily; and her daughter’s family was living with Marilyn and her husband, Gus.

Her primary care physician, Dr. Pavi Gill, referred her to Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions, a program that equips participants with skills and resources to better handle challenges associated with aging.

Marilyn looked forward to finding a place where she could go and talk. She attended the program three times weekly for 12 weeks and enjoyed the interaction with others. During the program, her depression lifted and she felt more confident and assertive.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Facts to Know

Posted by | Posted in Neuroscience | Posted on 09-03-2014

DementiaAccording to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans—two-thirds of them women—are living with Alzheimer’s today. One in three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. The organization estimates that, by 2050, the number of people 65 years or older could conceivably triple.

For such a common disease that affects so many, most people don’t know much about Alzheimer’s and dementia—other than how much they fear it. We spoke to Dr. Therese Meyer-Cox, a neuropsychologist with Memorial Medical Center’s Neurosciences department, about what exactly dementia and Alzheimer’s are—and how families can cope.

Tips to Reduce New School Year Anxiety

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health, Parents | Posted on 08-26-2014

Shy-Girl-Going-to-SchoolGoing back to school is an exciting time of year for most children. Some, however, experience anxiety and feel stressed as soon as they hear those dreaded words, “back to school.”

Anxious children are often overly tense and may need a lot of encouragement. Anxiety presents itself in children in many different ways. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, among the most common types are:

  • Separation anxiety: Symptoms of separation anxiety include refusing to go to school and having constant thoughts and fears about the safety of parents and caretakers.
  •  Phobia: Symptoms include extreme fear of a specificthing or situation, which can cause significant distress and interfere with usual situations.
  •  Social anxiety: Symptoms include having many worries about things before they happen and fears of embarrassment or making mistakes.

So, what should a parent do if they notice their child showing signs of back-to-school anxiety?

Finding the Right Tools Helps 80-year-old Erma Tester Regain Her Life

Posted by | Posted in Classes, Taylorville, Testimonial | Posted on 08-21-2014

Erma-Tester“Overwhelming” is how Erma Tester, 80, describes the grief she experienced when Everett, her husband of 63 years, passed away in the fall of 2012. She cried for seven months straight and couldn’t sleep at night.

The anxiety and depression grew until one night she became obsessed with the logistics of dealing with Everett’s things, including his vast array of tools. The right side of her face began to throb, and a panic took over. She called her daughter at 1:30 a.m. and went to the emergency room for tests, which came back normal.

Afterward, her primary care physician, Dr. Rick DelValle, referred her to Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions, a program that provides participants with a different kind of tool box—one equipped with resources to handle life’s challenges. Erma attended the program twice weekly for 12 weeks, and it changed her outlook for the better.

Super Survivor Overwhelmed by Huge Support from Employer, Co-Workers

Posted by | Posted in Be Aware Women's Fair Super Survivors, Women | Posted on 08-19-2014

Super-Survivor-Sue-FaganThe day before her mastectomy, Sue Fagan, a loan document specialist at Bank of Springfield, got a call asking her to drop by work for a few hours.

No problem, she thought. She was glad to answer any last-minute questions before she was off work for a while recovering after her surgery. What was waiting for her took her completely by surprise.

Her desk was decorated with streamers and balloons. A large homemade poster of Katy Perry was on her desk (Sue had adopted the pop star’s song “Roar” as her theme in her journey to beat breast cancer). A large bag was filled with books, pajamas and things to do.

The entire department had dressed in pink. And then she noticed the other departments in the branch had dressed in pink, too. But that wasn’t all. Other branches were also clad in pink and emailed their photos to encourage her.

“It is still overwhelming to this day when I think about it,” Sue said.

Biathlon Participant: ‘I want to finish strong’

Posted by | Posted in Biathlon, SportsCare, Women | Posted on 08-14-2014

Deb Whitson, left, with her friend Deb Kerley, preparing for a ride on the Centennial Bike Trail in Springfield

Deb Whitson, left, with her friend Deb Kerley, preparing for a ride on the Centennial Bike Trail in Springfield

Deb Whitson had thought about doing the Women’s Biathlon before. But she didn’t.

“I always thought I couldn’t,” she said. “I thought you had to be a top-class athlete or something.”

This year, thanks to the invitation of her friend Deb Kerley (the two friends refer to themselves as “Deb Squared”), Whitson plans to participate in Memorial’s SportsCare’s annual Women’s Biathlon on Sept. 21. Biathlon participants will bike 12 miles and then complete a 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk.

Since December, Whitson has been working to get in better shape. With the exception of a few weeks this summer when she was directing a show at Theatre in Park in New Salem, she has gone to the YMCA several days a week. As a result, she has lost 30 pounds and increased her activity, strength and endurance.

“I thought about Deb Kerley’s suggestion, and I wanted a way to maintain a structured workout routine – which I can easily fall out of with work and other activities. And I thought it would be really cool to finish a biathlon,” Whitson said.

Deb Squared signed up for the Biathlon Brigade, a new 12-week training program SportsCare introduced this year to help participants train. Athletes meet twice a week and receive direction on how to safely and effectively get in shape for the event.