Don’t let the stigma about smoking keep you from pursuing a lung cancer screening. It might save your life, said Traves Crabtree, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in partnership with Memorial Medical Center.
Dr. Crabtree recently spoke with “Morning Newswatch” host Joey McLaughlin during a segment on WTAX radio. He shared some shocking annual statistics: Read the rest of this entry »
It was the intense cramping that woke her up that cold, January morning. She had noticed some recent weight gain around her stomach and it had become sore to the touch. After taking some pain relievers, Monica Hay, then a 46-year-old employee of the state, tried to go back to sleep. However, the cramping became unbearable, and her mom rushed her to the emergency room.
News quickly came that a tumor the size of a soccer ball located in her ovary had burst and was leaking. That’s when she first heard her diagnosis: ovarian cancer. Read the rest of this entry »
The call came on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day seven years ago.
Michelle Buscher, then 42 years old, was soundly slumbering, enjoying the last day of a three-day weekend before going back to work. Her phone rang promptly at 8 a.m. The woman at the other end of the line told her that her test results came back. Michelle had lobular invasive carcinoma.
“What did you say?” she asked the woman, waking up her husband, Jerry.
“Honey, you have cancer. You need to come in tomorrow and talk to the surgeon,” the woman explained.
And that quickly, in two short minutes, Michelle’s seemingly perfect life evaporated into a nightmare. “Your whole world turns upside down in a moment’s notice.” Read the rest of this entry »
When Carol Harms went in for her annual mammogram this February and a suspicious spot was found, she didn’t give it too much thought.
There’s very little presence of cancer in her family. And she had been feeling intermittently unwell since November, so she thought the spot might be an anomaly. The previous year, her mammogram required a follow-up mammogram, which turned out to be nothing.
She was more concerned about the biopsy six days later. She recalled thinking, “I’m going to have to do this biopsy, and it’s going to hurt.” Read the rest of this entry »
Super Survivor, Kelli Fisher
As program coordinator of Memorial Medical Center’s palliative care program, Kelli Fisher has been a source of strength and stability to hundreds of patients for the last decade, many of them facing their own battles with cancer.
What she didn’t know was their own journeys would one day be a source of strength for her, after she received confirmation in 2015 that a suspicious lump in her left breast was cancer.
A Sherman resident, Kelli 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 seventh annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Super Survivor Lisa Woods
When Lisa Woods received the news she had breast cancer, she wasn’t surprised. As the seventh woman in her family to have breast cancer, she was braced to hear the news from her doctor one day.
Lisa, who’s 46 and grew up in Springfield, has had annual mammograms since she was 26 years old, long before the age of 40 when women are recommended to receive yearly mammograms.
Her mother is a two-time cancer survivor; other women in her family who have had breast cancer are her three aunts, a grandmother and a great-aunt—all on her mother’s side of the family. Her grandmother, one of her aunts and her great-aunt all lost their battles with breast cancer. Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve heard those three dreaded words: YOU HAVE CANCER.
In one sentence, your life is permanently altered. Before you have time to absorb the shock, your doctor is talking about next steps and the best course of treatment. For 40-60 percent of cancer patients, treatment involves radiation.
While we all know the term, unless you’ve walked the steps of a patient fighting cancer, you likely don’t know much about radiation therapy. Simply put, it’s high-energy X-rays that directly target and shrink tumors while killing cancer cells.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer we see,” said Daniel Ferraro, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at the Memorial Regional Cancer Center. “Lung cancer is second, followed by bone metastases (when cancerous cells enter the bones), head and neck cancers and prostate. Patients come every day for treatment, anywhere from two to seven weeks.” Read the rest of this entry »
Becca with her first grandchild, Nora
No matter how old you grow, no matter how bad the news, Mom and Dad always know just what to say.
When Becca Moots heard her doctor tell her in 2007 that she had breast cancer, all she could think was that she had been handed a death sentence. She felt hopeless.
She dreaded breaking the news to her father, a physician, but he reassured her that cancer is not a death sentence. “That helped me a lot to be able to get through this,” Becca recalled.
Becca 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 sixth annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Barbara Arenz and her grandaughter, Calli
After a long day of work last March, Virginia native Barbara Arenz decided to relax by watching one of her favorite shows—Grey’s Anatomy. It showed a patient undergoing a unique treatment, where a special drug was given to make the cancerous parts of the brain glow during surgery.
“I’d never heard of anything like it before,” said 57-year-old Barbara. “I thought it was weird but really incredible too.”
One week later, Barbara would undergo a similar treatment when it was discovered she had a four-inch tumor growing in her brain.
“What are the chances?” she said.
It started simply enough. First, it was vision problems that she just attributed to getting older. And then there was the ongoing headache she thought was just part of her chronic sinus infections. However, when she started to run into walls, her doctor told her to go straight to the emergency room—and fast. Read the rest of this entry »
Joseph Smith whips up breakfast for his four adopted daughters. The sisters squirm in their assigned seats around the kitchen island, waiting for the morning meal. Joseph’s wife, Linda, selects their clothes for the school day.
After breakfast and dressing for school, the girls stand single file, ready for their turn to have “grandpa” brush their hair. Bear, one of the Smiths’ two dogs, finds a spot of sunshine pouring through the screen door, where he can lay on his side and escape the morning hubbub.
Joseph, a 74-year-old retired ironworker from rural Cantrall and a great-grandfather, never envisioned he would be the adopted dad of four energetic girls, from 4-year-old Abby to 8-year-old Elizabeth with Carly and Isabella in between. A large wall calendar off the kitchen is covered in pencil scribblings with the times of birthday parties, ice skating adventures and tumbling classes.
The calendar is a promise of the future memories that Joseph never knew he would have when he was diagnosed in January 2014 with a rare abdominal cancer that was already well advanced. He calculated that he had 18 months to live – at best. Read the rest of this entry »