Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Charlo Athletes Raise $1,977 for Cheerful Heart

Charlo High School's football and volleyball teams had a 'Think Pink' Cancer Awareness fundraiser during October 2015 and raised $1,977 for Cheerful Heart.

Students sold Fight Cancer T-shirts, quilt raffle tickets, pink footballs, pink volleyballs, held bake sales, and distributed coupons for a free breast exams from St. Luke's Hospital in Ronan. Tricia Andersen and Laura McGee coordinated the fundraiser.

A contest was held for the female and male student selling the most T-shirts. Vikings Football senior player Dugan Runkle sold $252 and Lady Vikes Volleyball sophomore player Sakoya Gaustad sold $200. Both won a $10 credit at the Charlo gym concession stand.

After researching different organizations in the county, it was decided to donate the funds to Cheerful Heart. Students and coordinators emphasized how thankful they are for the support they received during the fundraiser.

Photo: from left Barbara Morin (Cheerful Heart board member and Volunteer Coordinator), Dugan Runkle, Sakoya Gaustad and Valerie Lindstrom, Cheerful Heart board member.

Healing Touch ~ Integrative Medicine

by Kathie Folts RN CHPN

I work in the Montana Cancer Specialists clinic on the third floor of Providence St. Joseph in Polson on Tuesdays. I have worked in the clinic for the past 14 years. I am an RN with a Nursing Certification with Hospice and Palliative Care. I am currently working towards a Nursing Certification for Practice in Healing Touch. I am currently in my third year of study at Level II, plan to finish Level III in the spring, and my goal is to complete the certification at Level V within five years.

What is Healing Touch
Healing Touch [HT] is an energy healing therapy in which practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to enhance, support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and self-healing. Healing Touch utilizes light- or near-body touch to clear, balance and energize the human energy system in order to promote health and   healing for mind, body and spirit.

Healing Touch complements conventional health care and is used in collaboration with other approaches to health and healing.

What is Energy Medicine
Simply speaking, Energy Medicine is the diagnostic and therapeutic use of energy. Energy medicine is a growing field in healthcare composed of two main branches. The first is bio- mechanical in nature and utilizes electrical or magnetic devices which provide images of some aspect of the human body for diagnostic purposes or somehow stimulates[treats] a diagnosed condition…. The second branch of energy medicine is referred to as energy healing therapy, bio-field energy therapy or hands-on energy medicine. Multiple sub disciplines of energy healing therapy have developed over recent years, but are based on ancient methods of hands-on healing known throughout many world cultures

Healing Touch is now seen in hospitals, clinics, home care, hospice and is promoted and provided by the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System.

Healing Touch is non- invasive and does not require preparation medications, special equipment or specialized settings. It takes the consent of the client and the establishment of positive intention to assist the client to move to self-healing. As with most self-healing it is a process, and results may differ from person to person. Some of the methods can be taught to the client to help themselves. This therapy is not meant to be the only intervention for healthcare. It is to be a part of the healthcare.

During the past three years, I have had many experiences working with people with energy medicine. Each person shares positive feedback, and I learn about what I felt in those areas where a response is noted. Each practitioner has a niche of how they experience the flow of the energy. Some can see the energies around the patient, some have an intuition as to what is there. I tend to see colors and patterns that tell me if an area is blocked or open. It is truly a treatment done with good intentions and sharing of healer and healing patient. It is to help the patient’s body heal itself.

Source: Healing Touchl Level I Notebook from the Healing Touch Program-Janet Mentgen BSN,RN and Mary Jo Bulbrook BSN, MEd, RN. the other information is from Kathie’s learning and observations.

Kathie’s introduction to Integrative Medicine was listening to Dr. Mimi Guarneri. She can be found on YouTube TED talks. Kathie also has a Great Courses program taught by Dr. Guarneri.

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Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.
Integrative medicine is grounded in the definition of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Integrative medicine seeks to restore and maintain health and wellness across a person’s lifespan by understanding the patient’s unique set of circumstances and addressing the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect health. Through personalizing care, integrative medicine goes beyond the treatment of symptoms to address all the causes of an illness. In doing so, the patient’s immediate health needs as well as the
effects of the long-term and complex interplay between biological, behavioral, psychosocial and environmental influences are taken into account.

Integrative medicine is not the same as alternative medicine, which refers to an approach to healing that is utilized in place of conventional therapies, or complementary medicine, which refers to healing modalities that are used to complement allopathic approaches. If the defining principles are applied, care can be integrative regardless of which modalities are utilized.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cancer Treatment Options Are Changing. . .

Why are there fewer cancer patients receiving IV chemotherapy at the Polson Oncology Clinic? Today cancer treatment looks different everywhere than it did just two years ago. In the early 20th century cancer was treated by surgically removing a small localized tumor. Radiation was added to control small tumors that could not be surgically removed. Then during World War II chemical warfare research found chemical agents that killed rapidly growing cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Chemotherapy (chemo) was born. The first metastatic cancer was cured in 1956 when methotrexate was used to treat a rare tumor. Research through the past 70 years has refined and greatly improved drug therapy.

Chemo is given in a pill, liquid, shots and most often put into the blood intervenously (IV). Researchers found that combinations of drugs is often times more effective.

Currently doctors are prescribing more oral chemo drugs, drugs taken by mouth, to treat some cancers. The positives: patients can control their treatment from home without needing to travel to a treatment center except for diagnostic work and doctor exams.  Chemo taken by mouth is as strong as other forms of chemo and works just as well. Some drugs are never taken by mouth because the stomach cannot absorb them Others may cause harm when swallowed.

The major positive of oral chemo can be the major negative when the patient/caregiver are in control of treatment and do not follow protocols.  Another negative is the high cost of oral chemo drugs. Many times patients pay more out-of-pocket for oral than IV drugs.

Patients with cancers that are treated more effectively with oral drugs, and have little or no insurance coverage for the expensive oral chemo drug, can get assistance from the drug manufacturers. Patients can talk with their doctor for help in contacting the drug manufacturers.

Genetic research and immunology, the study of the immune system and how it can be used to control cancer,  will add and improve future treatment options. The oncology clinic landscape will mirror those changes.

by Valerie Lindstrom

Mutated Cancer Gene Forces Renee to be Proactive

2014 was a rough year for Renee Bassett. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and was treated with radiation and chemotherapy. At her check up five years out, at the end of 2013, her blood work revealed an elevated breast cancer marker.

In January 2014 Dr. Linda Reis, her Montana Cancer Specialist doctor, ordered a bone scan and a test for the BRCA genes. The good news was that no cancer was found in her bones, but she did have the BRCA1 gene.

Back in 2008 she was not tested for the BRCA genes. Research information on the genes was new and the test was very expensive -- $4,000. 

Upon finding that she tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation she was concerned about who else in her family had the cancer gene. Renee has two sisters. One sister tested positive for the gene and one of her sister’s two daughters also tested positive. Renee’s other sister tested negative. Renee and husband Todd have two sons. The oldest son and his girlfriend both have mothers who have tested positive for the gene. The chance is 50/50 that a child of a parent with the gene will be positive. The young couple may not have the gene but Renee says that the odds are not in their favor. They have discussed not having children. Her sister who tested positive also had a bilateral mastectomy and her healthy tissue allowed her to heal quickly.

Renee had seven surgeries last year, the first two were  to prevent the possibility of cancer. Her first in mid February was an oophorectomy, a removal of both ovaries. The second was a two-part bilateral mastectomy taking both breasts.

Renee struggled with the decision to have breast reconstruction. One son helped her make a decision to proceed with reconstruction. The breast tissue of the radiated breast did not heal as well as the normal tissue. Not only was the tissue radiated but because she was a young breast cancer patient, age 47, she was given a stronger dose of radiation which caused the breast tissue to atrophy and reduce circulation.

As a former ER Tech, Renee realized when her re-constructed radiated breast was infected. She had several surgeries on the reconstructed breast. She praises her Missoula surgeon who followed her closely, often making special trips to Polson. She spent three months in a recliner. Renee works at Salon Envy and did make an appearance at work periodically last year. She started back full-time in January 2015.

Today Renee has healed, is almost back to full arm movement, and loves being back at work. She especially feels good  that her sister is safe and that her relatives are aware and in control of their possible risk of cancer. She notes that the genetic test for the BRCA genes  is expensive but if the same company screens other family members, and as long as the defective gene is identified, the cost is around $500 for each person and most insurance companies will at least pay a portion.

“We hope technology gets less expensive and research may come up with a fix for the gene,” she says. “My grandchildren are not at an age that we need to rush this. We feel empowered by the information.”

Renee Bassett created Cheerful Touch for cancer patients. She helps patients with hair loss and skin problems.

To make an appointment with Rene call Cheerful Heart at 883-3070. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

~ Twelve years of service to Lake County cancer patients ~

In 2001 Judy and Mitchell Kinsel moved to Polson. Mitchell was battling brain cancer. They found that life would be easier if Judy had someone  to pick up groceries, run errands, walk the dogs or sit with Mitchell while she was away. After Mitchell died Judy carried through on their idea to establish a non-profit organization of volunteers for the primary purpose of helping patients and their families with the every day tasks of life.

Judy established Cheerful Heart, Inc. At first the officers of the organization were family members. In 2002 Linda Graven, Valerie Lindstrom and Mac Binger joined Judy on the board of directors. The organization received its 501 C3 status in June 2002 and went to work.

The Montana Cancer Center established the Polson Oncology Clinic in the Grandview Clinic building just west of the hospital in 2001. Cheerful Heart became a presence at the Tuesday clinic  connecting with patients to provide a helping hand.  CH found quilt makers to make “a warm gift of love” to keep patients comfortable as they received treatment.

Through the past 12 years CH services have grown and changed. The number of volunteers who give time, energy and love to cancer patients has remained stable. Volunteers connect with patients and their families at the clinic each Tuesday providing and serving soup and other refreshments. Conversation flows and laughter is easy in the caring atmosphere.

In addition to help with every day tasks and clinic support, CH services now include the Wigs, Hats & Scarves Program, a lending library, a Cancer Support Group and the Cheerful Touch Program. Cheerful Touch was established in 2012 after cancer survivor Renee Bassett followed-through on her wish to give back. Cheerful Touch services are free to cancer patients and include massage, hair and skin care, manicures and pedicures.  Renee Bassett and fellow beauticians will work from Salon Envy on 7th Street. Massage therapists are located in Polson and Charlo. Patients can get a massage either in the therapist’s business or at home. (see article on page 2)

The clinic moved to the third floor of St. Joseph Medical Center in 2005, and in 2009-10 the space was remodeled and became the Otto G. Klein Memorial Cancer Center. Cheerful Heart, Inc. donated $10,000 to the remodel project. The waiting room includes a kitchen area which gives CH work space.  A wigs, hats and scarves inventory exists to give patients a head covering for warmth, hair or adding a splash of color.

Today’s Cheerful Heart has grown but the mission remains the same, to provide free non-medical services for Lake County cancer patients.  Anyone who needs a service or would like to be part of this giving organization can call the message line 883-3070.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Clinic Change

Montana Cancer Center (MCC) established the Polson Oncology Clinic in 2001. Oncologists and chemotherapy drugs traveled from Missoula to Polson every Tuesday. Physicians at MCC operate as Montana Cancer Specialists.

In July 2013 Providence St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) became responsible for the clinic and contracted with MCC to provide an oncologist each week. Chemotherapy drugs are now provided by the SJMC pharmacy. Clinic staff members continue to be SJMC employees.

The change was a financial decision. Hospitals are reimbursed at a better rate for chemotherapy drugs than are private clinics. Dr. Linda Ries replaced Dr. Patrick Beatty who continues as a Montana Cancer Specialist (MCS) at Community Medical Center in Missoula. Dr. William Nichols was the first  MCS doctor to make the trip to Polson.

Hospitals must meet stricter safety standards than private clinics which means that patients have experienced a few minor physical changes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

~ Cancer Support Group Update ~

The current Cheerful Heart Cancer Support Group is a group of folks who share and listen to each other.  They often meet while getting treatment at the Oncology Clinic, but that is not always the case. Friends and family members of patients who have been part of the group often drop in to reconnect.

Linda Roberts and Jim Zadra met FIVE years ago while both were getting treatment for colon cancer. Linda found Jim, who had been getting treatment since 2006, was a good source of information. Their friendship has strengthened through the years. Linda and Jim are a vital part of the Cancer Support Group.

“We are not about doom and gloom,”  Linda says,  “we are all about living. We are not a boring group, we have a good time.”  The group meets from noon to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.  They can often be found later at a local restaurant enjoying lunch together.  The support group meets at the United Methodist Church located at 301 16th Ave. E. in Polson.  Attendance can vary from two to 10 depending on the day.  Drop in !!!

Organizer Tammy Walston, a breast cancer survivor and Cheerful Heart, board member, says the support group aims” to provide a warm and safe place for people to share their thoughts and experiences.”  Gatherings are informal allowing folks to drop-in when schedules and life permits