Go Small to Help Realize Your Resolutions

octavio-vegaBy Octavio Vega, MD

At the beginning of any new year, we often have the inner motivation to make new year’s resolutions. This is frequently the time when people decide to make positive changes in their health and overall well-being.

However, sometimes we set ourselves up to bite off more than we can chew and, unfortunately, end up abandoning the resolutions altogether. Instead of focusing on large goals that may be difficult to attain, make smaller changes that will enable you to achieve sustainable results.

Here are some suggestions for small goals that will equal big changes in your health (and could also positively affect other facets of your life):

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‘More Time to Live’ After Lung Cancer Screening

ralph-marrsBy Ralph Marrs

I started smoking at age 18. My dad was a smoker, and he quit so that none of his kids would smoke, but everybody in the family smoked anyway. We were on our own to decide when to quit. There were seven of us, and I was the sixth one to quit. I just got to a point where I thought, “There has got to be something better than this.”

I originally learned about the opportunity to have a lung cancer screening from my family doctor, Jeremy Pripstein, at my annual physical. He explained that the government had a program for a free screening for people who had smoked for a long time.

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Is a Gluten-Free Diet Right for My Child?

gluten-childrenBy Anil Kesavan, MD

Food and its impact on health is a common topic of conversation among people. There are television shows, books and countless websites dedicated to the subject. In recent years, one of the most common culprits of concern when it comes to food is gluten.

As a pediatric gastroenterologist at Rush, I often hear questions about gluten. Many of my patients’ parents ask me how a gluten-free diet can affect their child’s health or help improve different symptoms. The answers to their questions are not always simple.

What is gluten?

Let’s start with the basics. Gluten has been an integral part of the human diet for thousands of years. There is currently no scientific evidence that states gluten is intrinsically harmful to healthy children.

Here are some things you should know about gluten: Continue reading

Fashion Forward: Ninety Years of Supporting Rush

For the past 90 years, the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center has produced the longest continuously running charitable fashion show in the country. The Woman’s Board Fashion Show was described by Chicago magazine as a “being a philanthropic force” that serves as “a barometer of Chicago’s ever-changing fashion scene.”

Starting in 1926 with a benefit show for St. Luke’s Hospital, the fashion show continued as St. Luke’s merged with Presbyterian Hospital and then with Rush. The show has raised more than $32.6 million since it began keeping records of all fundraising efforts in 1974.

Here’s a sampling of Woman’s Board Fashion Show posters and program covers dating back to the 1920s, courtesy of the Rush Archives.

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In 2016, the Woman’s Board Fashion Show will support the Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush, an innovative effort that connects veterans and their families with specialized mental health care, peer-to-peer outreach, counseling and resources they need to transition from military to civilian life.

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Tyler’s Story: Treating Crohn’s Disease

kesavan-blogBy Anil Kesavan, MD

I first met Tyler Jankiewicz and his mother, Ann, in August 2013, when he was 15 years old. Tyler had been referred to Rush’s pediatric gastroenterology program seven months earlier and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation throughout the intestinal tract. People with Crohn’s experience a variety of symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, blood in the stool), as well as weight loss, inflammation in the eyes and skin, fevers and joint pain.

Tyler first started having symptoms in December 2012, and his condition had progressed dramatically. He couldn’t eat and rapidly lost 40 pounds. By the spring of 2013, his weight was down to 115, and he didn’t have the strength or stamina to play volleyball on his high school team. He was anemic, and his condition was worsening.

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Tyler’s Story: Coping With Crohn’s Disease

Tyler Jankiewicz and his mother, Ann, describe the toll of Crohn’s disease, and how doctors at Rush helped him get better.


At first, I was just having stomachaches — maybe one or two a day. They weren’t too bad, and if I went to the bathroom, they went away. This was in the fall of 2012, during basketball season my freshman year of high school. When the symptoms first started, I still felt mostly fine; I was still able to get through practices and games.

But toward the end of the season, around December, the symptoms really started affecting my physical abilities. My coach was very understanding. He said if I needed anything, like in the middle of a game if I needed to use the bathroom, to just give him a signal and he’d take me out. I couldn’t play in the last few games, though, because I would get winded quickly and felt weaker.

I had planned to play volleyball in the spring, but by then I was really sick and had lost so much weight, about 40 pounds. I’d lost all the muscle I had, so I wasn’t in good enough shape to even try out. The coach said, “If you get better, you’ll be able to play.” I sat in the bleachers and watched practice for a few weeks, but after a while I didn’t want to be there because it was too hard to not be on the court.

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A Father, a Son and a Cutlass Supreme

By Ramana K. Puppala, MD

My father, Shyam Puppala, MD, is a physician from Hyderabad, India, who immigrated to Chicago in 1976. His first job when he arrived in America was at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, working in the cardiovascular surgery department. My brother and I were both born at Rush, and our immediate family has received all of their major health care at Rush. I graduated from a Rush obstetrics and gynecology residency in 2005, and my brother, Vinaya Puppala, MD, graduated from a Rush general surgery internship in 2009.

Rush provided me and my family our health, education and livelihood. We would not be here without Rush.

A few months after I was born, my father brought me to work one afternoon for an appointment with my pediatrician. After that appointment, my mother took a photograph of my father and me next to his brand new 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme at the top floor of the Rush parking structure, with the Chicago skyline in the background.

cutlass-reenactmantTwenty years later, I found that photograph in an old family album. I wondered if I would ever be able to recreate it. My father is my inspiration. I look up to him, and I desired to follow in his footsteps. I wanted to become a doctor, work at Rush, have a child, and find that same car so I could recreate that photograph.

Just over eight months ago, my wife and I were blessed with our first child. Shortly after my son’s arrival and over a decade of searching, I located the 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that was in the photograph. It was outside of Philadelphia and was carefully transported to Chicago. Even the original license plate number was reissued.

With the baby and the vehicle, all that was left was to recreate this photograph with father, son and grandson. I contacted Rush, which helped make this a dream come true.

See a video about the recreation of the image.