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#GivingTuesday—A Celebration of Generosity

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First there was Thanksgiving. Then Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now there is  #GivingTuesday, an international movement to celebrate generosity by providing an easy way to give to non-profit organizations in the true spirit of the Christmas season. Both of Affinity Health System’s foundations – Mercy Health Foundation (mmcgift.org) and St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation (affinityhealth.org/stefoundation) – are participating in #GivingTuesday on December 2, 2014.  We are asking our communities to join us in support of two very special projects that will have an immediate local impact.

#GivingTuesday gifts to Mercy Health Foundation will help Oshkosh-area women undergoing cancer treatment by supporting an updated wig boutique at Mercy Medical Center.

“Everybody’s cancer story is different,” Nancy Wilms, a cancer survivor said. “You have to grieve it and experience it your own way. Still, if some of the steps along the way can be improved, it will be a better journey.”

Nancy volunteers in Mercy’s current wig room to improve what she can for others going through cancer now. For the future, Mercy Health Foundation is raising funds to remodel the existing space to provide patients with a welcoming and private area to refresh and receive the assistance they need to feel good about themselves. Continue Reading »

Stay active longer with the ACL Sparing Total Knee replacement

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Are you an active person who wants to stay that way? If you find yourself needing a knee replacement at any point and want to keep your active lifestyle, consider getting the ACL-Sparing Total Knee now available at the Kennedy Center located in Mercy Medical Center.

With a traditional knee replacement surgery, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is almost always removed, even when it’s still healthy. The ACL is a critical ligament in the knee that provides knee and leg stability, and its removal makes staying active after surgery more difficult. Preserving the ACL is important for normal knee function and flexibility, and the ACL-Sparing Total Knee Replacement is highly beneficial to those who want to stay active. This procedure has several important benefits: your knee will have more stability and flexibility; it will feel more like your natural knee, and it will allow you to continue activities that are challenging with a traditional knee replacement. Triple win! Continue Reading »

The videofluoroscopic swallowing study – what is it and who needs it?

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We’ve all had experiences like taking a sip of water and it having it go down the ‘wrong pipe’ or struggling to get our pills down, but what if it happens regularly or is happening more often? Your doctor may suggest that you partake in a videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) to determine what’s happening while you swallow. A swallowing study can determine if medication, speech therapy, certain positioning or a change in the foods you eat will help you improve your ability to eat and drink more safely. Your doctor may recommend a VFSS if you experience:

  • Complaints of food sticking in your throat
  • Frequent coughing or choking on food or liquid
  • Frequent heartburn and/or burning in your throat
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Painful swallowing, or taking extra effort to swallow
  • Weight loss due to not being able to eat
  • Gagging or vomiting while eating

In addition, patients with certain medical diagnoses may need repeated swallowing studies to document changes in their ability to swallow food and liquid. These conditions include:

  • Stroke
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, ALS or advanced Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cancers of the head, neck and chest

Continue Reading »

Where to find affordable wigs, turbans and headscarves for chemo patients

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You may have just been told the news that no one wants to hear—you have cancer. You may feel frightened and wonder what lies ahead for you. You will need the support of your family, friends and community as you make decisions about your care and treatment process. If it is recommended that you will need chemotherapy, chances are that you are going to experience hair loss. If you are going to lose your hair during treatment, there are plenty of resources available to you for head coverings.

Some health insurance companies cover the cost of a wig or other headwear for cancer treatment patients, but if yours does not there are other options. Calumet Medical Center provides free wigs, turbans and headscarves for our chemotherapy patients; you can stop by Calumet Medical Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to try them on. St. Elizabeth Hospital and Mercy Medical Center also have cancer navigators that are available to help in the search of wigs or anything else that you may need throughout your journey. These resources are just a phone call away, and the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable about the process.

There are several websites that offer help finding affordable head covers, such as The American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org, or Tender Loving Care at www.tlcdirect.org. If you choose a wig, many of the salons in the area will cut and style your wig at no cost.

If you enjoy the outdoors, wigs, hats, turbans or scarves are important for protecting your head from sun exposure, especially in these hot summer months. How you look is certainly not as important as how you feel, but everyone deserves to feel confident and dignified, no matter what their health status is.

Cancer is the toughest fight many of us will ever face, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Calumet Medical Center has a cancer support group called C.A.R.E.S—Cancer Awareness, Resources, Education and Support Group. We meet the fourth Tuesday of each month. Call (800) 450-4042 ext. 2406 for more information.

“Fatten the Pig” fundraiser

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Affinity Health System’s mission is to live out the healing ministry of Christ by providing services that promote the health and well-being of the communities we serve, especially the poor. So when one of the diet clerks in the Food & Nutrition services department at Mercy Medical Center suggested we start a donation fund for hams to give to Father Carr’s Place 2B on Easter, our associates were ready to help.

The idea was presented at the beginning of January. We did some math and found that as long as we could get a donation of a quarter per week from January until shortly before Easter, we would have more than $150 to purchase the hams. The whole department got on board, and we decided to name the fundraiser “Fatten the Pig.”

A food service associate from the tray line brought in her pink piggy bank, which staff then “fed” donations to throughout January, February, March and the first two weeks of April to help “Fatten the Pig.” We had at least one associate contribute weekly, while another diet clerk kept track of the money we accumulated. In total, we raised $151. Continue Reading »

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