Healthcare Blog

Archive for August, 2015

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month! 

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 31, 2015

Shannon Miller stole the hearts of Americans in 1992, when she won five Olympic Medals in gymnastics. She then delighted the country when she led the “Magnificent 7” to gold in the 1996 Olympics and followed up with the first US gold medal on the balance beam, making her the most decorated gymnast in American history.  However, her biggest challenge yet may have been the diagnosis of a rare form of ovarian cancer in January 2011.  Shannon describes her move from Olympic athlete to advocate for the health and wellness of women and children as we asked her a few questions recently:

SML-8705-CREDIT-Renee_ParenteauCCSB Question: You were only 32 years of age when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  What were you thoughts when hearing that news?

Shannon Miller:  It was certainly a shock, as a cancer diagnosis always is. My company, which is focused on women’s health and wellness had launched the previous year. I was interviewing physicians regarding health issues on a weekly basis as host of a radio show and was involved with different organizations that raised funds for cancer research. In fact, my mother is a cancer survivor. But nothing prepares you for that moment. I was stunned, upset, resolute, and confused all within seconds of the diagnosis. My son was just over a year old and my thoughts kept coming back to one thing…..My son needs his mommy. As others around me went through denial, I began to feel isolated. For several weeks, I floundered until one day I decided I did not want to be the victim…..I was going to fight. I relied on my faith and many of the lessons I had learned through sport to give me strength during my battle.

CCSB Question:  What have you learned about ovarian cancer since beginning this journey?

Shannon Miller:  I had little knowledge of ovarian cancer at the time I was diagnosed. In fact, I had no idea I was having three of the main symptoms in the weeks before my doctor’s appointment. I was going in for a post baby appointment and gearing up to try for baby #2. I think many of us have this perception that ovarian cancer only happens to “older” women. That’s simply not the case. It’s also true that there are different types of ovarian cancer. The form I had which is a germ cell tumor, and very rare, often happens with women in their late teens and early 20’s.

I learned the primary symptoms such as bloating, stomach aches, weight loss and frequent urination. I also learned that there is no specific test for ovarian cancer. That’s why it is critical that women know the symptoms and communicate them clearly with their physician. It’s also one of the reasons I am such a big advocate of yearly exams. These yearly visits create a base line so that both we and our physician can see when changes occur. We can’t prevent a cancer diagnosis, but the earlier we catch it the more options we’ll have. In addition, you may catch other issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

What I learned was that I am not invincible. I have to make my health a priority.

CCSB Question:  What would you like to share with other women about your experience?

Shannon Miller:  Mostly I want women to know that there is hope. A diagnosis of ovarian cancer, or any kind of cancer, can be devastating. It’s critical for positive stories to be out there. Women need to know that there are new ways of battling this disease. Hearing stories of women who survived and thrived was an important part of my journey. These stories gave me hope on the most difficult days. I needed to know that I was not alone.

If you would like to learn more about Shannon’s courageous story, please check out her bio at: Shannon Miller  She also recently released her new book, It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country and Fighting for My Life.

You can help raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer, too, by wearing a teal ribbon, the symbol of ovarian cancer awareness.


Did you know that approximately 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and the survival rate is only about 30%?  If detected early (Stage 1), the five-year survival rate is more than 93%.  However, there is no screening test to detect ovarian cancer, which is why this cancer is often discovered in later stages.  The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments.

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
    • Pelvic or Abdominal pain
    • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
    • Urinary urgency or frequency

Other symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Backaches
  • Weight Gain

Talk to your doctor if symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks. You are your best advocate.


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One Life To Laugh

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 24, 2015

by Kathy Brown, RN, CSP

When you laugh you “really” live life fully in fun. Your endorphins are internally jogging your body to a happier, healthier state. Decide what “fit” means to you before everything you put on doesn’t…and you have one. He who laughs lasts! Studies show that people with a sense of humor are more resilient, cope more easily, and bounce back faster from life’s challenges . People “employ” people they “enjoy.” On my resume I should add “Plays well with others”:-)

You may have heard “What’s fun, gets done.” I truly believe that. When working as a nurse, I would get my patient to laugh and sometimes someone would put their head in the room and ask “what’s so funny?” I would them invite them to join me in lifting the patient up in their bed and then I would be happy to tell them. It worked and that made my back happy. People are attracted to laughter. Being fun doesn’t mean that you have to be a comedian. You just need to be “in fun” when something fun happens so you join in.

Laughing at ourselves is key to finding the fun in life almost everyday at our home. I told my husband that I drink coffee so that I can do stupid things faster and with more energy. Don’t get discouraged as you grow older either especially when you find gray strands of hair on Your head. Simply tell others that those are NOT gray hairs…They are strands of glitter. Just smile and stare at them. Soon they will just move on not knowing what to say which is fine. :-)

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Your Prescription for Inspiration

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 18, 2015

by Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA

We all need to regroup at times to consciously seek a dose of inspiration. People who work in healthcare know how demanding it can be. Whether you are at the bedside caring for patients or working on the periphery, it’s important to know what inspires you and helps you feel connected to purpose and the mission of the organization.

A few weeks ago I had a coaching conversation with an administrator. I could tell that the pressures of her job and the nagging political rifts were taking their toll on her. When I see this, I help them take a step back and get back to what really matters. In this case, I asked her to describe her best day. A day when she knew she was doing work that matters. She was quick to recap how a trip to the NICU always helped her get centered and rejuvenated.

She lit up as she described how those tiny patients, their parents, and dedicated nurses always put her work back into perspective. She was reminded of the organization’s mission and always reconnected to purpose during each trek to the NICU.

Each of us needs to consciously seek inspiration. Working in healthcare requires it. Just as we exercise, rest, and eat a balanced diet to maintain a healthy body, we owe it to ourselves to stay rejuvenated as well. Where do you get your inspiration? Identify it and take it in regular doses.

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Looking For Happiness? Try Saying Thanks

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 17, 2015

By Barbara Bartlein

Researchers who study positive psychology have long know that people who practice gratitude tend to be happier. They are focused on what they have, not on what they want or what others have. Gratitude is an attitude that helps people buffer the affluenza of our consumer driven culture.

After all, billions of dollars are spent on advertising every year to convince you that you need more, need bigger, and need better. And we all DO have more. Since 1960, we have added electric garage openers, computers, cell phones, flat screen TVs, microwaves, dishwashers, and hundreds of other gadgets to make our lives “easier.” We all have so much stuff now that we have to rent storage units to keep it all.

One in 11 American households, according to a recent survey, owns self-storage space–an increase of 75 percent from 1995 to present. The USA now has some 1.875 billion square feet of personal storage. Even during the recession, the storage business has grown at a dramatic rate for both personal and business use. Just how much stuff do we need?

Being content with what you have is sometimes viewed as a lack of ambition or drive. Afterall, doesn’t everyone want a brand new Lexus in their driveway for X-Mas? Not me. I noticed long ago that the more I had, the more I became owned by posessions. More maintenence, more expense and more to worry about.

These days, I’m purging and downsizing. The simpler my life, the less I have to worry about.  I am getting rid of things, stuff and negative people in my life.

You can actively build your gratitude by taking a few moments each morning and listing all that you are grateful for. The happiest people actually write them down or make a mental note. Every night as you go to bed, review what wonderful things happened to you during the day. Those great thoughts will float around in your dreams.

Some other things to do this Holiday Season:

  • Look up one of your teachers and thank them
  • Take a dinner over to an elderly neighbor
  • Go Xmas caroling around the neighborhood
  • Buy someone a cup a coffee for no reason
  • Send a card with a personal note to someone who is special

Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW is the People Pro.  A workplace culture expert, she offers keynotes, seminars and consultation to increase teamwork and productivity.  For more information on her programs and services, please contact Capitol City Speakers Bureau at 800-397-3183.

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Lead With Laughter: Using Humor To Bring The Best Out of Your Team

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 13, 2015

by Karyn Buxman

Bill GatesOne of the biggest challenges leaders face is inspiring their team to turn in a top-notch performance all of the time. Motivating people to be creative problem solvers who keep a steady focus on delivering superior customer service is hard work.

If you’re really lucky, you’ll have some people who are intrinsically motivated to continually come up with original, useful ideas. If you’re not so lucky, your role is to create a workplace culture that serves as an external motivation conducive to top performance.

That’s where laughter comes in. The use of humor by leadership accomplishes several things in the work place:

Lowers Barriers Between Team Members:
This makes free and easy communication – essential for creative collaboration, plan development and implementation.

Acts As a Form of Permission:

Sometimes it’s the funny, offbeat, or ridiculous idea that can be the real game changer for your business. In an environment where laughter is an acceptable response, it’s easier to offer up ideas that are ‘out there’.  Being laughed at isn’t viewed as a catastrophic career-ender; it’s just a normal part of the creative process.  Remove the fear of failure from the equation, and you’ll get better results from your team.

Change Perspective

If you’d asked your team who is the laziest member, how many people would eagerly volunteer to claim that role? Yet as we can see from the Bill Gates quote, “I always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because he will find an easy way to do it,” a change in perspective can help us recognize the strengths in our team members we might otherwise never notice. We have to know what our team’s strengths are before we can use them effectively!

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BUSY is a Four Letter Word

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 12, 2015

by Christine Cashen

sorry_were_too_busy_graphic1Is your life rocketing by? People often say (when I say ‘people,’ I mean me), “Where is time going?!?” Who the heck knows? Every time I turn around I get a “due for a dental visit” postcard. Wasn’t I just there last month? Six months seem to pass like six weeks. Are you with me on this? When a new season hits, it is always a surprise. Wasn’t it just Christmas? Valentine’s Day? July 4??

If you ever wonder where time is going, consider your wonder a gift. Just having the realization is key. [The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?] In that moment of clarity, STOP and evaluate whether you are in control of your time, or is your time controlling you?

The key is to look hard (really hard!) at how you’re spending your time. Me? True confessions? I’m a Mashable/ Buzzfeed junkie, which leads me to click on another story, then another…oh look, an article on 10 ways to avoid procrastinating! I also admit to an ongoing Facebook addiction, as well as a growing fixation with Pinterest.

What about you? Are you watching Law and Order reruns from 2003 when you want to learn conversational French? Are you complaining that your boss doesn’t appreciate you and wishing for a new job, but sending ZERO resumes out?

Now I truly believe we should allow ourselves SOME time for these mindless dalliances. Some downtime is good, right (check out my Downtime is not a Crime post)? But clearly I need to set limits. Do you?

So next time someone asks you what’s new and you start into your rant about how busy you are, think about what you’re really busy with! Everyone you talk to is busy. If you complain about being BUSY,stop it. You can fill your time doing a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean they are important.

The next step? Decide to do something. Recognize and stop time thieves by
Becoming a Time Tamer:

• Take a moment to evaluate time wasters and replace them with things that are important
• Activate time limits for web surfing and social media. It is easy to click your way into a 3 hour time void. Stop checking, start doing.
• Mark time for YOU on your calendar. Stop overscheduling (this goes for your kids too!) and actually schedule rejuvenators – exercise, meditation, quiet time.
• Eliminate the YES SYNDROME – you can say NO more often.
• Remember to be in the moment – it truly is a present to be in the present.

Don’t wait for time to slow down. It won’t. Take charge today and tell time what time it is! Isn’t it about time?

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Do Unto Others: The Only Leadership Advice You’ll Ever Need

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 5, 2015

by Don Yaeger

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 27:  Running back Walter Payton #34 of the Chicago Bears is honored during pre-game ceremonies in his last regular season game on December 27, 1987 against the Los Angeles Raiders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  The Bears won 6-3.   (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Walter Payton

Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is this weekend. There have been many inspiring speeches delivered at the HOF over the years, but the greatest of all time occurred in 1993 when 12-year-old Jarrett Payton quietly stepped to the podium and, in a high-pitched voice, introduced his heroic father Walter “Sweetness” Payton.

Payton (in my opinion) is the greatest football player who ever lived, and the epitome of a service-directed life. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, won a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears in 1985 and broke Jim Brown’s all-time record for career rushing yards—but it’s what he did off the field that made him so special.

“My father told me when I was young that it was your responsibility, once you’ve had some success, to reach back and bring someone with you,” Walter Payton said to me.

And these were words by which he lived. Like the greatest companies in sports and business, Payton knew his audience; he often noted that many Bears fans were blue-collar workers and could only afford to attend one game a year. He decided that if they saw him in that one game, he’d give his all for them. Payton viewed his football games as a gift to whoever may be cheering for him.

“Someone gave to you, and that is why it is your job to give back,” Payton would say to me as we were writing his autobiography.

Payton made a daily effort to serve others, such as the time he took a shift from one of the Bears’ customer service representatives so that she could spend an afternoon with her family, to meeting and encouraging local underprivileged children. Service permeated every aspect of his life.

“You cannot achieve great success without being helped along the way,” said Payton. “Do anything that might make the world a better place for someone.”


Brittney Payton (L), daughter of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, speaks to the media alongside her brother Jarrett during the Walter Payton Man of the Year Press Conference held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center on February 5, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

In February 1999, during an emotional press conference, Payton revealed to the world that he had a rare autoimmune liver disease and, without a liver transplant, he would die. Later that same year, Payton contacted me about writing his book, which would discuss the great importance of organ donation.

When I initially met with Payton, his cancer had spread to other organs, and now a donated liver would not save him. He had been removed from the organ donor list and had been told that he would die in a matter of months.

Amazingly Payton was still upbeat, and he gladly shared with me important dates chronicling his illness—such as his February press conference, the day he was informed that a donated liver would not save him—and a full day set aside to film a public service announcement that encouraged viewers to sign their donor cards.

When I examined the dates, I could not believe what I was seeing: Payton had filmed his PSA three days after he had been removed from the same organ donor list that he was promoting. He’d decided to give back by giving up one of his precious remaining days, even though it would no longer benefit him.

“We all get something in life,” he explained. “It’s not worth a nickel if you don’t give it back. Some people only take; they don’t give.”

Payton passed and it was one of the great losses in the sports world…but he lives today through his two amazing children Jarrett and Brittney, who continue to live their father’s service-minded lessons on the importance of doing unto others. Payton’s advice is also practical for any organization or professional: Anyone can make a difference. Acts of service always nurture those you are helping and can also be an excellent opportunity for a company to innovate, network and for employees to make deeper connections.

As Walter Payton said, our reputations hinge upon our treatment of others…especially those who cannot pay us back. Ultimately, doing unto others can make a world of a difference for the individuals involved—including you, the doer.

Source:  Forbes

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