31 Days of Health – Tips #1 & #2

2012/01/02

Happy New Year, everyone!

One of the first things I did yesterday was check my horoscope. It’s a fun thing to do, and I don’t take it too seriously – I cherry-pick the predictions that are positive and run with those.

One of those positive predictions was related to fitness. It pretty much mapped out my entire year – how long it would take for me to ramp up on a particular goal, when it would peak, and how wonderful I would feel if I challenged myself.

It got me thinking about a series I did on here about a year ago, called “31 Days of Healing.” We provided health tips throughout the month of January to help you get and stay on track with your resolutions. It was great fun to do, and many of you read the posts and even commented on some.

So I’m resurrecting the series, and it will follow the same path – tips on how to improve your health when it comes to prevention, fitness, nutrition and overall well-being!

Since yesterday was a holiday, this first post will include two health tips, which hopefully you’ll find to be very timely as they revolve around new starts:

Tip #1 – Sticking to you New Year’s Resolutions

This is a difficult one, but there are some things you can do to make it happen:

  • Lists – keep a list of your resolutions in a place where you’ll see them everyday. Tape them to the refrigerator, on your desk at work, or even to the dashboard of your car. It makes it difficult to cheat when your resolutions are starring back at you everywhere you turn!
  • Milestones – if you have a larger goal, like running a 5k, mark on your calendar when you’d like to be running a mile, and then two miles, and so forth. Aiming for and hitting these smaller goals will help you to reach your larger goals in no time!
  • Inspiration – if you’re working on your fitness or nutrition, start a scrapbook of photos that will inspire you to keep going. Years ago, my roommate and I pinned photos from fitness magazines of what we aspired to do in the new year, and we both competed in and finished our first triathlons that year.
  • Reward – once you hit your goal, or even your milestones, make sure you reward yourself. If you’re reaching for a nutritional goal, reward yourself with a few bites of food that’s not on you list. If you’re aiming for a fitness goal, reward yourself with an hour-long massage after the event.

Incorporating any or all of these tips into your quest for sticking to your resolutions will make the process more enjoyable!

Tip #2 – Start today and make a new ending

This is very much in the spirit of kicking off the new year on the right foot. Many of my friends on Facebook were passing around a link last week, and I found it to be inspirational. The article’s title, 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself, was eye-catching, and once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. It’s a short list of life-lessons on how to stop letting things and people hold you back so that you can have your best life. A few of my favorites on the list are:

1. Stop trying to be someone you’re not – it’s a very freeing concept, and a scary one also. To take a good, hard look within yourself and recognize who you are and accepting it is a momentous feat for many, but it can really help you get to where you want to be in life.

2. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments – this rang very true for me. The small moments happen all day, every day, but most of us are too busy checking our smartphones to see them. My favorite “small moment” this year was watching a patient, fully recovered from a heart and kidney transplant and looking like a new person, play sweetly with his dog while I was there to interview him for a follow-up story.

3. Stop being ungrateful – if there’s anything I’ve learned while working for such an amazing hospital, it’s to be thankful for every breath, every day and every friend in life. Nothing is guaranteed, so don’t take anything for granted.

I think we’re off to a great start – and I hope you are also!

 


First heart/kidney transplant patient, one year post-op

2011/12/07

You may have seen our earlier post about Jonathan Sadowski, Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s first heart/kidney transplant patient. It’s been over a year since his ground-breaking surgery, and this young man is thriving.

I remember meeting with him just after his transplant in 2010, and he was very frail and unsteady, getting ready to go home and continue on with the recovery process. This is what he looked like then:

Getting to catch up with Jonathan and see his progress was wonderful. This young man, who’s had three hearts in his 21 years of life, is doing fabulous. He really has come a long way.

 


We’ve reached a milestone, thanks to you!

2011/11/17

This post marks a milestone of sorts.

It’s #1,000 in a long line of posts we’ve shared with you over the last year and a half since we launched this blog.

We’ve enjoyed writing about new innovations and breakthroughs that Barnes-Jewish Hospital has been a part of, such as the Kling Center for Proton Therapy, the transcatheter aortic valve implantation, and the new stroke robot, Maestro.

We’ve also been able to bring to you many patient stories, such as the humor of brain tumor patient George Malich, our first heart/kidney transplant patient Jonathan Sadowski, and heart transplant patient Megan Moss.

But the most amazing thing about what this blog has afforded Barnes-Jewish Hospital, it’s team members, patients and community is a voice. We’ve been granted a unique way to communicate with you, and you’ve been great about sounding off to us. These are conversations we enjoy, and frankly, can’t get enough of.

So as we move forward into our next 1,000 posts, we’d like to say thanks for being a part of this conversation. Thanks for telling us what you think. And thanks, in advance, for continuing to provide us with feedback that will help us give you the information you’re looking for.

We’re listening. And we can’t wait to hear from you.

Warmly,

Kathy, Jason & Co.


Yes, Jonathan did get his wish

2011/11/08

Yesterday we told you how excited we were about the reunion today between heart/kidney transplant patient Jonathan Sadowski and his care team.

The reunion was wonderful – many of Jonathan’s nurses were in attendance, as well as his heart transplant specialist Dr. Greg Ewald, his coordinator Cindy Pasque, and Gene Ridolfi, who is Director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Transplant Center.

Both KSDK and Fox2 were in attendance, and will be showing the reunion tonight on the 5:00 news, so be sure to watch or set your DVR’s. We’ll be putting together a short video in the coming weeks with an interview with Jonathan at home with his parents, but in the meantime check out some photos from today’s very special reunion below!

Christine Sadowski (Jonathan's mom), Cindy Pasque, Dr. Greg Ewald, Jonathan, Lauren Southwick, Meredith Kuhlmann, Greg Nanos

Jonathan and Dr. Ewald

Christine presenting Dr. Ewald with an original print donated by artist & family member Ron Fleshman

Jonathan and Dr. Ewald

Nurse Greg Nanos shares a special moment with Jonathan

And the answer to the question is yes, Jonathan DID get his wish. He is back on the ice, playing hockey. And don’t worry, because it’s a no-hitting league so he’s not in any danger of getting “checked.”


Did Jonathan get his wish?

2011/11/07

A little over a year ago, we interviewed a young man who was very sick. He was on the transplant list, hoping to receive not only a new kidney, but also a new heart.

As our coworker Scott mentioned last week, Jonathan scored a “hat trick” when it comes to hearts. He’s had three – the one he was born with, a second one transplanted while he was still a baby, and his third one, which he received last year.

The term “hat trick” was made popular in the United States by way of hockey. It is used to describe a positive feat three times during a game. In the game of life, Jonathan has scored three times with three hearts.

It’s also fitting to use the term hat trick as hockey is something Jonathan loves to play. As he got sicker over the years, shortness of breath and tiredness made him take a time out from playing non-contact hockey.

Jonathan and his family are making a special trip to the hospital tomorrow, where they will be reunited with members of his care team – nurses, coordinators, physicians and more. He was a “regular” in the ICU for many weeks prior to his transplant, and as many transplant patients and families can attest to, you really get to know your caregivers on an intimate level, especially when you’re preparing for a transplant, let alone two.

It will be a special reunion for the caregivers as well – many of them don’t get to see their patients after they’ve received their transplants.

The big question is, did Jonathan get his wish to play hockey again? We’ll be filming the reunion and will have an answer for you later this week – in the meantime, get to know this special guy in the video below:

 


Gifts come in all shapes and sizes – in Jack’s case, it came in the form of a kidney

2011/09/09

Jack Lusk knows how lucky he is, and spends each day thankful to be able to spend time with his wife & family and doing the things he loves to do.

We went to film Jack’s story at his house, and as soon as we walked in the door we could feel the positive energy. Jack and his wife greeted us with smiles and open arms, and they were eager to tell the story of how they ended up at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and talk about the kind of care they both received.

Jack came to Barnes-Jewish Hospital due to kidney failure – his diabetes had ravaged his kidneys. After years of dialysis his physicians decided that he was a candidate for a kidney transplant.

One of the things that Jack talked about was how he didn’t think he would ever get off of dialysis. Due to his age, he thought he was too old to qualify for a transplant. However, if there’s anything we’ve come to understand about organ transplant, it’s that while age is a factor, it’s not the ONLY factor. Transplant candidates go through a series of medical tests and evaluations and they must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for being put on the transplant list.

Jack went through the steps, and it was determined that he was a good candidate for a transplant.

He’s since recovered, and is living life to the fullest. Like many transplant patients, Jack sees his new kidney as a gift, and a second chance at life. And he’s making the most of every waking minute of that second chance.

Check out his story below – you’ll be glad you did.

 


When having diabetes is all you’ve ever known, waking up without it can feel like a miracle

2011/09/08

Danielle Scheetz was five when she was diagnosed with diabetes. Over the next six years she dealt with the disease, until at the age of 11 when her doctor gave her some terrible news – her kidneys were failing. Danielle would need a kidney transplant in order to survive.

With the help of her doctor, she and her father chose Barnes-Jewish as the transplant hospital. One fateful day, her pre-transplant coordinator called and said that Dr. Jason Wellen, Surgical Director of Kidney Transplant and Kidney/Pancreas Transplant, had a kidney and pancreas waiting for her.

When she woke up from surgery, she was told her blood sugars were normal and she didn’t have diabetes any longer.

In one day, the disease she had lived with for as long as she could remember was gone.

That’s a pretty good thing to hear.

 


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