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My NICU experience


This is a guest blog post by Jenny McCollian, St. Elizabeth Hospital patient

My first child, my daughter Maya, was born 12 weeks premature, but my second pregnancy seemed just as normal as any other. Because Maya had been born early, I was getting regular checkups every two weeks or so to keep an eye on things. At a checkup a week before my son James was born, I found out that he was going to come early. He arrived at exactly 28 weeks, on September 16, 2014, and I’m so happy that we had a NICU available right in our hospital to take care of him.

I started having pains late at night on September 15 and knew something was up. We initially went to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Hospital, and when the staff on call realized that I was going into early labor, they went into action in seconds. Once the labor and delivery team came in, things were flawless, perfect. Even though my doctor, Dr. Darling, had just left to go home, he came right back to deliver James. The NICU nurses were all so sweet—truly friendly, caring and compassionate. I just loved them all.

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#GivingTuesday—a celebration of generosity


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 »

September is now “A Time To Heal” for cancer survivors


Regaining health after cancer means adjusting to a new normal, and whether you were diagnosed six months ago or 15 years ago, reaching that goal means something different to everyone. Just as survivors of cardiovascular issues undergo cardiac rehabilitation, you can benefit tremendously from post-cancer rehabilitation.

A Time To Heal (ATTH), a 12-week, holistic program for cancer survivors and their caregivers, aims to help you meet your health and wellness goals and tackle roadblocks along the way. This research-based rehabilitation program is free of charge and focuses on topics such as stress management, smart nutrition and supplementation, and dealing with anxiety. ATTH is open to people diagnosed with any type of cancer from any health care system.

Cancer and its treatment takes more than just a physical toll on survivors and their loved ones. ATTH can help survivors regain physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual health after cancer treatments. Participants will benefit from guided gentle stretching designed to promote flexibility, clearer thinking and physical strength, as well as weekly instruction by experts on health-enhancing topics that can be taken out of the classroom and used to not just survive, but thrive. Continue Reading »

Why you should consider giving birth in a hospital with a NICU


The desire for a healthy baby is shared by all, whether you are a first-time parent or you’ve gone through the experience of having a baby before. Every parent has their worries about the birthing experience, which is one reason to consider choosing a hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

As with anything in life, sometimes babies and new moms need a little extra help, and the NICU at St. Elizabeth Hospital is equipped with a caring, experienced medical team that specializes in delivery-day hiccups.

Did you know that each year, 1 of every 8 infants born in the United States is born ahead of schedule? Preterm birth, or birth prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, can sometimes mean that extra care is needed for mom or baby. In a hospital with a NICU, most preterm health issues can be dealt with close by, right after your baby is born. Preterm babies born at area hospitals are often transferred to St. Elizabeth Hospital’s NICU, making this a great local benefit for Fox Valley parents! We are lucky to live in an area with a number of great providers, including Mercy Medical Center and Calumet Medical Center, both of which St. Elizabeth Hospital is equipped to transport your baby to the NICU if need be. Continue Reading »

Navigating cancer care


“You have cancer.” Those three simple words change your life forever. Here at St. Elizabeth Hospital, we hope to make your cancer journey as easy as possible. We do this by working as a multi-disciplinary team that includes your medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, social worker and patient navigator.

By working as a team we are able to provide the best possible care, with each individual playing a unique role. As a lung cancer nurse navigator, my role includes:

  • Attending doctor appointments with patients and families so that they can attentively listen to and take in all of the information being given. I will take notes and help patients to fully understand all of the medical jargon, test results and treatment options.
  • Checking in with patients at home to make sure all appointments are made and kept, schedules are followed, medications are being taken and questions and concerns are answered.
  • Offering emotional support and encouragement when needed.
  • Arranging help with transportation, insurance and financial issues

The overall role of the nurse navigator is to extend a helping hand to patients who may be feeling overwhelmed. The goal is to guide them through the system, be a resource to patients and let them know what to expect during their treatment. Though a cancer diagnosis changes your life, at St. Elizabeth Hospital it does not mean that you are alone in that change.

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