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Radiation Treatment – How it Works and What to Expect

Posted by | Posted in Cancer Care, Memorial Medical Center, Videos | Posted on 30-07-2015

Asian woman receiving radiation treatment

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 »

Super Survivor’s Dad Reassures: Cancer Isn’t Death Sentence

Posted by | Posted in Be Aware Womens Fair Super Survivors, Cancer Care | Posted on 27-07-2015

Becca with her first grandchild, Nora

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 »

A Close Call Leads to a New Lease on Life

Posted by | Posted in Heart, Memorial Medical Center | Posted on 16-07-2015


Kathryn Kramer holding her great-granddaughter

Kathryn Kramer holding her great-granddaughter

Her granddaughter was the first to notice something was off.

When Courtney called from her home in Carbondale, her grandmother, 84-year-old Springfield resident Kathryn Kramer, couldn’t finish sentences. She didn’t remember if she’d eaten, and she was sleeping throughout the day.

Years earlier, Kathryn was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a disease where her bone marrow doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Last March, her red blood cells dropped to the point that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen for her brain to function normally.

“I don’t remember much about the dip,” Kathryn said. “They said I would say, ‘Oh, I’m fine,’ but I didn’t know anything was wrong.”

Knowing her history and alarmed by their phone conversation, Courtney, drove to Springfield and brought Kathryn to Memorial Medical Center. Over the course of her six-day hospital stay, she received three blood transfusions. Tests showed she was also in mild heart, liver and kidney failure, undoubtedly caused by the MDS.

By that time, Kathryn’s daughter, Lisa Brihagen, had flown in from her home in Seattle. Together, they were approached by a representative from Memorial’s Heart Failure Clinic. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Parenting Tips to Decrease Sibling Rivalry

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health, Parents | Posted on 14-07-2015

African American sister and brother playing video games

If you grew up with a sibling, chances are you had some form of competition with one another. You wanted to be smarter, better, faster or stronger. It’s normal for the most part, but sometimes the competition can go too far and can lead to mental health struggles for children.

Here are a few parenting tips from Autumn Dunham Neubert, LCSW, lead clinician from The Children’s Center, a program of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, about dealing with sibling rivalry. Read the rest of this entry »

Staying in Shape When you Join the Over-40 Club

Posted by | Posted in Classes, Expert Tips, SportsCare | Posted on 07-07-2015

SportsCare-Older-Athlete-TrainingMaintaining an active lifestyle becomes even more important as you grow older. Physical activity can help you stay strong and keep your mind alert so you can do the things you want to do in your later years.

For adults over 40 years old, whether you’re active or formerly active, Memorial’s SportsCare offers Everyday Athlete, an adult fitness program that provides exercise and nutrition help. The next 10-week class is scheduled to begin Aug. 11.

Classes are held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday in the multipurpose room (109A) of the Kerasotes branch of the Springfield YMCA at Iles Avenue and Archer Elevator Road.

Check out the website for more details. And take a look at this video featuring Gabe Stinson, a sports enhancement specialist at SportsCare, and his work helping older adults stay fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Patient Celebrates the End of 13 Years of Dialysis with MMC’s 900th Organ Transplant

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Testimonial, Transplant | Posted on 06-07-2015

Tandra Perkins

Tandra Perkins

For the first time in nearly 13 years, Tandra Perkins of Urbana woke up and didn’t have to think about dialysis. It had been her routine three times a week, four hours at a time.

On June 10, the 44-year-old became the 900th patient to receive an organ transplant from The Alan G. Birtch, MD, Center for Transplant Services at Memorial Medical Center. The transplant program is a cooperative initiative between MMC, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Springfield Clinic.

“This milestone is another reminder of our privilege to be involved with a program that serves the needs of so many throughout central and southern Illinois,” said Marc Garfinkel, MD, surgical director of the transplant program and an associate professor with the SIU School of Medicine’s division of general surgery. “And now we’re looking forward to our 1,000th patient.” Read the rest of this entry »

TEN Helped This Nurse Zero in on Career in Nursing

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Nursing | Posted on 06-07-2015

Alison is now an RN at Memorial Medical Center

Alison Kirchgesner is an RN at Memorial Medical Center today

Alison Kirchgesner, like most high school students, wasn’t sure what job she wanted to pursue after high school, but a Memorial Medical Center initiative helped her zero in on a nursing career.

“I knew back then I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I was on the fence about nursing at the time,” the 24-year-old said.

A guidance counselor told her about Memorial’s Teens Experiencing Nursing (TEN) Camp, a free summer camp for high school students interested in a nursing career. Students have the opportunity to job shadow and interact with nursing staff on several nursing units throughout Memorial.

Kirchgesner attended TEN Camp during the summer of 2009 when she was a student at Glenwood High School in Chatham. Today, she is a registered nurse at Memorial Medical Center serving on the day shift on 7C ICU. Read the rest of this entry »

Survival Guide for Picnics and BBQs

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Loss and Wellness | Posted on 03-07-2015


Summertime celebrations often have us gathering around the grill, which can wreak havoc on our plans for healthy eating. We go to these events with the best intentions, only to leave feeling as though we’ve failed, or worse—our entire healthy-eating plan fell to the wayside.

“With a little bit of planning and strategy, healthy eating will not be as challenging at your next celebration. You will leave feeling satisfied, not starving for more,” says Erin Walker, a registered dietitian at the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center.

Walker recommends these tactics to help you stay on track: Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Noelle, the Life-Size Childbirth Simulator

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation | Posted on 02-07-2015

MCLI-Birthing-MannequinPreparation. It’s the key to a smooth childbirth.

Whether you’re a new mom finding comfort in the structure of a birth plan, a dad-to-be learning how to console his wife during labor or even the doctor in charge of delivery, preparation helps pave the way to success.

And before success comes practice. In the wild world of childbirth, things can change in an instant. Doctors and nurses must be prepared and ready to handle any scenario.

That’s where Noelle comes in. Read the rest of this entry »