Thursday, April 16, 2015

Meet Sean Squires

Every one of us has a story we can share. Think of a past event in your life related to GBMC. Whether it’s care you received, an opportunity you have, or a loved one you remember, this event should have very personal meaning to you. What’s happened in your life since your experience at GBMC? Read Sean Squires’ story below, and share yours at www.gbmc50.com/mystory.

Sean Squires' Story: "Finding My Niche"

A few years ago, my grandfather was admitted to the Gilchrist Center in Towson. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to other parts of his body. The doctors said he would have six months or less to live, but the time frame became less and less as time went on. In a matter of eleven days from his diagnosis, my grandfather was taken away from my family, this world and myself.

After his diagnosis, most of my grandfather’s time was spent between the hospital and Gilchrist Hospice Care. The staff at Gilchrist took exceptional care of my grandfather while he was under their watch. They came in to check on him, and us, every hour on the hour. Staff members came in with smiles on their faces and brightened up the room, even when the days seemed gloomy. Not a moment went by that I was displeased with the care Gilchrist provided.

Death is always a saddening event. We fear for our loved ones, we fear for our own lives without them and, most of all, we fear for that empty place in our hearts that will never be filled again once they are gone. The staff at Gilchrist made our journey through death easier. Every time I think of what they did for my grandfather, I will be forever grateful.

My mom was working in the finance department for Gilchrist at the time of my grandfather's arrival to the Towson inpatient unit. After my grandfather passed, I spent days thinking and hoping his death was all a dream.

Then one day it hit me: I decided I wanted to give back to hospice because of the amazing care they provided for my grandfather. I knew it would be rough, especially with the recent loss of my grandfather, but I knew I wanted to be the one helping other families through this rough journey. With help from my mom and through contacting a few people, I was hired as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Gilchrist Hospice Care. To this day, receiving that job was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I have ever had.

Without Gilchrist, I would not have grown to be the person I am today. It changed my outlook on life, taught me what the priorities in life are and trained me on how to nurture and show compassion to the utmost. It is so rewarding to be there for someone's first breath into the world, and equally rewarding to experience his or her last breath as they leave this world. Without Gilchrist I would not be on the journey I am on today.

I know now, after working for hospice, that it is definitely my passion and drive. I am currently enrolled in nursing school, looking forward to graduation and beginning my new journey as a Registered Nurse providing hospice care.

I am elated and proud that I have found my niche and something that is very near and dear to my heart. Without Gilchrist I would not have been able to experience the changes I went through as a person, wouldn’t have seen the amazing things I saw or have been able to create such rewarding bonds with such amazing staff members at Gilchrist Hospice Care.

Schedule Your Child's School Physical Today!

As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, it is easy to get excited about upcoming vacations, trips to the beach or pool, Orioles games and plenty of other fun summer activities. With all of those thrilling events on the horizon, getting a school physical is one thing that might get pushed to the back burner.

If you or your friends and loved ones have kids, it is important to know that many summer camps, athletic programs and nearly all schools require that children between the ages of four and 17 have annual physicals. Before this important item gets forgotten in the rush of summer fun, and before the end-of-summer sneaks up on you, schedule your child’s annual checkup today.

There are many reasons to make sure children get annual physicals or “well checks.” During this exam, the care provider will:

  • Discuss nutritional and sleep needs
  • Order tests depending on risk factors for conditions like anemia or high cholesterol
  • Perform age- and gender-specific checks
  • Perform a physical examination
  • Review and update immunizations

Let us help with checking that item off your “to-do” list before camp and school registrations are due. If it has been a year since your child’s last checkup, visit www.mygbmcdoctor.com/todolist to request a physical for him or her. A GBMC team member will call you back within 1 business day to schedule an appointment.

If you need to select a new primary care physician for you or your child, call 443-849-GBMC (4262) or visit www.mygbmcdoctor.com.

Couch to 5K—Your Second Month of Training

In the first month of our Couch to 5K training plan, you got up and moving in intervals of brisk walking and light jogging to help build your cardiovascular base. If you’re just joining us now and missed last month’s installment, please read and complete Tips for Starting Out before jumping into the plan listed below. As always, check with your primary care physician before beginning any exercise plan.

In month two, you will progress to longer bouts of running to help you further build your endurance. A few things to note:

You will increase your running times and decrease your brisk walking times. Interval training like this has been shown to help beginner exercisers gradually increase the amount of time per increment they can safely exercise and safety is the most important element of building an exercise system.

You will be running long spans this month, but you will also be stretching more frequently – not just before and after your exercise sessions.

You will also begin cross-training, which will help you to build your endurance and make running more enjoyable.

At least once per week, perform some sort of exercise that is not running. This can be anything that gets you up and moving, including swimming, elliptical training, cardio kickboxing, Pilates, yoga or other exercises (see a list of ideas for different exercise types and descriptions of each in our article Exercises for a Fitter New Year). This is cross-training, something that continues to work your muscles and build your fitness base without focusing on the same exact movements as running.

At least two days per week, stretch only. On two days when you do not plan to run-walk or cross-train, spend a little time stretching out your whole body with your normal pre-running routine or a yoga class. Stretching helps lean out your muscles, release tension, reduce the amount of soreness related to training and improve recovery times.

Focus on a nutrition plan based upon whole foods – such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts and other natural items – to help build strong, lean muscles.

Month 2 Training - Weeks 1 & 2

  • After warming up, briskly walk for two minutes.
  • Jog for two minutes.
  • Slowly walk for one minute to lower your heart rate.
  • Repeat six cycles for a total of 30 minutes of exercise, 2-3 times per week. 
  • Stretch after your walk-run session to help improve circulation and recovery times.

Month 2 Training - Weeks 3 & 4

  • After warming up, briskly walk for two minutes.
  • Jog for three minutes.
  • Repeat six cycles for a total of 30 minutes of exercise, 2-3 times per week. 
  • Stretch after your run-walk session to help improve circulation and recovery times.

Remember to keep track of how far you’re able to go now that you are running for longer intervals! You should be able to notice whether you’re going farther, moving faster or generally feeling better. Keeping track of this will help you see where you are improving. Good luck this month, and stay tuned for Month 3 training coming in May!

To learn more about the GBMC Father’s Day 5K and to register, visit www.gbmc.org/5k.

A Quick Guide to 7 Super Foods

Healthy eating and lifestyle trends are constantly making the news, providing an ever-increasing list of “super foods” claiming to be important to health. With so many new studies promoting different foods and supplements on a daily basis, it can be difficult to know which offer potentially beneficial properties. This list of seven super foods may help shed light on the uses of a few of these possibly powerful dietary items. It's important to note that moderation is key when it comes to many foods. Before making significant changes to your diet, consider consulting with a physician or dietitian.

Açai berries (pronounced “ah-SIGH-ee”) – Açai berries are small purple berries purported to aid in weight loss and anti-aging. Açai berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which may help to fight cancer and heart disease. The berries also contain oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat that is also found in olive oil. Consume açai berries in smoothies, juices or as part of a dried fruit trail mix.

Cacao powder (pronounced “cah-cow”) – Cacao powder contains flavonoids, which may lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. It is important to source a product that has not been processed, because once processed, cacao powder loses up to 90 percent of its antioxidants. Add cacao powder to smoothies or baking recipes.

Chia seeds (pronounced “chee-ah”) – Chia seeds are nutrient-rich and known for their high omega-3 fatty acid, fiber and calcium levels. They produce a crunch when chewed, have a nutty flavor and can be easily added to oatmeal, smoothies, salads or a glass of water with a lemon wedge.

Goji berries (pronounced “go-gee”) – Goji berries contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. Though science has not yet backed the claims, Chinese herbalists say that these berries help with vision problems, poor circulation and boosting the immune system. Eat dried goji berries as a snack or add them to smoothies and juices.

Hemp seeds (pronounced “heh-mp”) – Hemp seeds are high in protein and contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs for growth and repair. They are also high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a good source of magnesium and potassium. Also of note, they contain no trace of the psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana, so there is no need to worry. Add hemp seeds to smoothies, granola, baking, juices and more.

Kale (pronounced “kay-el”) – Kale leaves contain phytonutrients that are said to help lessen the occurrence of a variety of cancers including breast and ovarian. Add kale leaves to salads, juices, smoothies and sandwiches, or bake them to create kale chips.

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) – Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein and fiber and a natural source of iron, zinc, vitamin E and selenium. These nutrients contribute to claims that consuming quinoa helps with weight control and lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It can be eaten like rice as a side dish with a meal, mixed with vegetables and proteins to create a main dish, or baked in a variety of ways.

Fiesta Lime Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and heated
3/4 cup cooked corn, heated
1 large tomato, diced
1 large scallion, diced fine
2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro, to taste
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt, to taste

Directions

In a large bowl, combine hot rice, heated corn, heated beans, tomato, scallion, cilantro, lime juice and salt if needed. Toss and serve.

Nutrition

Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories: 152.8
Fat: 0.8 g
Protein: 5.7 g
Carb: 33.7 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 1.7


Recipe courtesy of www.skinnytaste.com. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kathy Robinette's "Because of GBMC" Story

Kathy Robinette's daughter,
Katie, and her husband.
Every one of us has a story we can share. Think of a past event in your life related to GBMC. Whether it’s care you received, an opportunity you have, or a loved one you remember, this event should have very personal meaning to you. What’s happened in your life since your experience at GBMC? Read Kathy Robinette’s story below, and share yours at www.gbmc50.com/mystory.


Kathy Robinette’s Story

I would like to first thank you for the opportunity to tell my family story to such a dedicated, professional and caring intuition as GBMC. GBMC is among the very best hospitals, in my opinion.

In the fall of 2011, my daughter, Katie, lost part of the vision in her right eye during a neurology lecture. She had been married only nine months and was fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse. She was seen by a neuro-ophthalmologist at a Baltimore hospital, evaluated and sent for a brain MRI. In short, she had nine-hour brain surgery to get a biopsy and was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma, a rather rare and fatal brain tumor that was malignant and inoperable.

Katie was seen by a group of specialists at the brain tumor center at Duke. Due to the distance between her home and Duke, she had to find a local oncologist that would agree to treat and follow her. We were very fortunate to have GBMC agree to take her as a patient. Dr. Gary Cohen began to follow her for her care and treatment, which began in late fall of 2011. I can’t think of a more professional, brilliant, courteous and kind man than Dr. Cohen. He has taken such good care of my daughter, and has been a huge champion in her care and treatment as she fights to live the most normal life possible. My son-in-law is at every appointment with Katie, and it obvious that Dr. Cohen doesn’t just treat her; he is very concerned about and attentive to the well-being of my son-in-law as well.

I never thought that physicians were much on treating and caring for the entire family unit, but it’s apparent that Dr. Cohen is not the average physician by any means. He is calm, very kind, always available and continually goes beyond the scope of a physician. He has always been prompt and available after his normal business hours, which has been very reassuring to both Katie and her husband.

As for the Emergency Department staff members, they, too, have been more than amazing. Katie has had the best care, treatment and understanding from the physicians, nurses, radiology team and supporting staff members. It seems they remember her as she has unfortunately landed in the ED on several occasions over the past three years.

Katie has been cared for and treated by the oncology floor as an inpatient on several occasions. They are true professionals and have been so kind and caring when she has been on that floor; she has been there many times and for long stays as well.

On a couple of occasions, Katie has had care and treatment by a few other physicians at GBMC. They are as follows: Dr. Michael Sellman, Chief, Division of Neurology; Dr. Niraj Jani, Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Dr. Marc Dubin, Co-director, Minimally Invasive Pituitary and Skull Base Center. Again, these physicians are tremendously kind, caring and experts in their respective fields. Collectively, they have given Katie the best care and concern over any physician we have dealt with on a local level.

During her course of chemotherapy, which went on for two years, Katie was treated in the GBMC infusion center every other Friday for her IV chemotherapy. What an amazing group of kind nurses and support staff there. Calling her by first name and taking away the normal fears that a cancer patient would experience was first class all the way.

I’m not too sure where my family would be without the care and treatment my daughter has received from GBMC. We are happy to report that Katie beat all odds! She is a full-time nurse and working on a medical surgical floor in a Harford County hospital. In just a couple of days, Katie will celebrate being brain tumor-free for two years. Her past MRI scans show no tumor re-growth and she has regained her vision.

Thank you to all of the staff and support teams at GBMC for all of their care and help with what has been the most difficult time of Katie’s life. We continue to seek out treatment at GBMC and return for continued monitoring of Katie’s brain in hopes that she remains a healthy, happy and productive member of society. Lastly, I can’t think of anywhere in the Maryland area that would provide such care and genuine concern to a fragile, complex and frightened young lady diagnosed with a brain tumor. GBMC stands high on my list as the very best hospital.

My Katie is alive, working full-time and is brain tumor-free as of March 8, 2013. I have so much to be thankful for...thank you GBMC!!!

Get Screened in 2015

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which means there is no better time than now to contact your physician and set up your annual colorectal cancer screening.

While it may not be the most comfortable topic for you to discuss with your physician, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, more lethal than breast or prostate cancer, and the third most diagnosed cancer in both men and women. Unlike other cancers where screening is aimed at early detection, colon cancer screening can actually prevent the cancer from ever occurring. This is done by detecting and removing pre-cancerous growths, and that is why screenings are so important.

Colorectal cancers most commonly begin as small polyps, which are detectable through regular cancer screenings. There are no early warning signs of colorectal cancer, and most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer do not have a family history or other risk factors other than their age. It is important to note that pre-cancerous polyps may be present for several years without symptoms, and almost all colon cancers develop in these polyps. Finding and removing these polyps greatly reduces the risk of colon cancer. If removing the polyps does not prevent the cancer from occurring in the first place, and it is detected early, surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy can provide effective treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that all individuals receive regular colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50. Common screening exams include:

  • Fecal occult blood tests – noninvasive tests that examine a patient’s stool for hidden blood
  • Colonoscopy – examines the entire colon using a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny fiber-optic video camera and light at the end of it. Also allows polyps and abnormal tissue to be removed and biopsied.
  • Sigmoidoscopy – allows physicians to view the interior walls of the rectum and lower colon using a flexible, lighted tube
  • Virtual colonoscopy – produces images of the colon and rectum using special X-ray equipment and shows polyps and abnormalities
  • Digital rectal exams – a lubricated, gloved finger is inserted into the rectum to examine for abnormalities

Risk factors associated with colorectal cancer include:

  • Age – Individuals over the age of 50 are more likely to develop colorectal cancer.
  • Genetics – African Americans are at the highest risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Heredity – A history of colorectal cancer in your family puts you at higher risk.
  • History of cancers – Those with a personal history of colorectal, ovarian or endometrial cancer or colon polyps are at higher risk.

Men and women over the age of 50, or those with a family history of cancer, are encouraged to receive their colorectal cancer screening annually. For more information, visit www.gbmc.org/gi.