By Emilee Lamorena
On Feb. 17, 2010, while I was teaching high school science in the Bronx, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. I quickly left everything — my teaching fellowship, my master’s degree program and my friends — and returned to Chicago to be with my family and my mom.
I always knew I was going to work in health care, but I wasn’t sure which route or specialty I was really interested in. While I saw my mother suffering, I came to a very big realization: There is nothing in the world harder than watching someone you love struggle for a breath. It was the most helpless feeling to not be able to alleviate any of that hardship.
After caring for her through her illness (my mother passed away about 10 months after she was diagnosed), I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people breathe and supporting their loved ones. In 2011, I entered the Master of Science in Respiratory Care Program at Rush, where my mother received wonderful care, so I could help people care for their heart and lungs.
By Angela Johnson
In a beautiful and quiet space of the 10th-floor Rush University Cancer Center, a team of integrative medicine providers helps people diagnosed with cancer heal in mind, body and spirit.
The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program team recently received exciting news: The Susan F. Lasky Cancer Foundation has provided funding so that patients with breast cancer can participate in a series of acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling or yoga sessions, at no charge. The Cancer Integrative Medicine Program team is honored to receive this donation, as it creates opportunities for people who may not otherwise be able to afford our services, with a chance to be involved in their own care.
As the practitioner of Chinese medicine for the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, I am thrilled to have this resource available to breast cancer patients. For those who elect acupuncture, the ability to receive a series of weekly treatments can make a significant impact in helping reduce the side effects related to cancer and cancer treatment. As one of the most studied forms of complementary medicine, acupuncture has been found to be safe, and play a very useful role in symptom supportive care. In research studies, acupuncture supports the immune system, and is known to help with symptoms like fatigue, depression, pain, vomiting, radiation-induced xerostomia (i.e., dry mouth), and chemotherapy-induced hot flashes.
If you or someone you know has a breast cancer diagnosis, and is interested in integrative medicine, please contact the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at (312) 563-2531 to learn more about this wonderful opportunity.
Angela Johnson, Dipl OM, MSTOM, MPH, LAc, is a practitioner of Chinese medicine with the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at Rush.
Staff and students at Rush University Medical Center gave up their hair for a good cause at the March 29 St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser, proceeds from which will go to pediatric cancer research. Learn more.
(Top row, from left) John Meyer, Preston Smith, Neal Khurana, Chris Wickman. (Middle) Dan Jeong, Kumar Madassery, Jack Laney, Paul Lewis. (Bottom) Nabeel Anwar, Christian Malalis, Mehmet Kocak, Ankur Patel. Photos by Lauren Anderson, Rush Photo Group.
Noticed a few more mustachioed medical staff members roaming the Rush corridors? It’s not your imagination. It’s Movember. On behalf of his fellow radiology residents (and a few attending physicians), Kumar Madassery, MD, explains:
All those men out there who have always had a mustache, and may feel slighted by us making mockery of a mustache, let me say we honor and are in awe of you fellow sirs. I don’t think anyone of us can go more than five minutes without feeling the itch or prickly spines of the lip grasses that we have been nurturing. Our hats go off to all of those who wear them all day, every day as part of their natural rugged good looks.
The reason for growing mustaches is that we need something to display our support and awareness of men’s cancers, specifically prostate and testicular cancer. In a sense, prostate cancer is the male version of breast cancer. Statistics from the National Cancer Institute show that between 2005 through 2009, approximately 155 out of every 100,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. To put that in perspective, the same institution reports in the same period about 124 per 100,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Men have a 16 percent lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and approximately 28,170 men will die in 2012 from it.