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New cancer center opens at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital  (February 16, 2017)

Patients who come to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital for cancer treatment now have more options, thanks to expansion of the Downers Grove-based cancer center.
The center, adjacent to the hospital campus, is now called the Bhorade Cancer Center, after Dr. Rajeev Bhorade, a specialist in diagnostic imaging.
According to information provided by Advocate Good Samaritan, Dr. Bhorade, an Elmhurst native, is the son of doctors, and wanted to become a doctor himself—his sisters are also doctors.
He decided specializing in radiology was a way to "touch all aspects of medicine and interact with all types of patients and physicians," and to get involved in a field he says is still emerging.
The doctor had lived on both the East and West coasts, and came back to the Midwest to join the Advocate Good Samaritan staff. He had chosen to concentrate on interventional oncology, described as "a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally invasive procedures are performed using image guidance for diagnostics and treatment."
Patients served as Dr. Bhorade's inspiration and, wanting to give back, he worked with the Advocate Charitable Foundation to make a charitable gift to the hospital's oncology programs, which included the cancer center renovation.
"Making a gift to Good Samaritan Hospital was an easy decision. I see how much the hospital gives to its patients and caregivers, and I find happiness in knowing my gift is going to help so many people now and into the future," the doctor stated.
The new wing opened this past January to include chemotherapy treatments, as well as other health and wellness services.
During an open house held Thursday, Feb. 9, a number of clinical staff members were on hand to offer guided tours and explain the inside workings of the cancer center, which originally opened in 2002 to provide radiation therapies to patients.
One of the staff members offering tours was Kim Meyer, who is a dosimetrist at the center. Meaning, essentially, she is an oncology team member who has expertise in the medical equipment and its use, treatment planning and implementation of radiation therapies/protocols—to name a few—based on a patient’s particular diagnosis.
Meyer, in demonstrating how the center’s Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator operates, explained: “The goal is to treat cancer, not normal tissues,” adding that the device is like a “high-powered x-ray machine.”
The center offers advanced diagnostic technology, according to Advocate, which includes interventional radiology, nuclear imaging, digital mammography with computer-aided detection, pathology, surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology and stereotactic biopsy.
On the new chemotherapy side, there are 10 chemotherapy infusion suites, which have sliding doors that can be closed for privacy. Sheila Erasmus, Advocate’s nurse navigator, described how patients have scenic views of the woods and garden areas surrounding the campus, and may even spot the occasional deer strolling nearby.
The shades of the large windows are unrolled in the evening, she pointed out, to prevent light from escaping and disturbing nearby residents.
Another feature, Erasmus mentioned, is how the outdoor pavement is conducive to patients who wish to take a stroll—with their IV pole.
Two special rooms contain beds for those patients who must have their chemotherapy delivered while lying down, such as with certain peritoneal cancers. Also, these rooms can be used when a patient is newly diagnosed with leukemia and must undergo treatment quickly—and in a more sterile environment.
Treatment now can take place all in one convenient location, Erasmus said, instead of a patient having to go to various locations—the cancer center for radiation and the hospital or another location for chemotherapy.
That is the obvious advantage, but behind the scenes is the nurse navigator, who is like a liaison for the patient and his or her family.
Erasmus outlined how, in addition to medical treatments, the center offers a number of services, from genetic counseling to information about clinical trials, palliative care and hospice.
Exam and conference rooms are available for use by patients, doctors and other staff for a variety of services.
The nurse navigator emphasized how the center offers “psychosocial support” for patients and their family, adding, “We have a culture of addressing everything,” not just overseeing medical treatment.
While meeting with Erasmus, patients can discuss physical, social, emotional and financial issues, and she will look for resources to help address those needs—from transportation to insurance or even connecting women with wigs through the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Good” program.
The center also offers nutritional counseling, support groups and exercise classes.
The idea is to address the whole person and not just the cancer, Erasmus said, adding, “Our standards are exceptionally high here.”
And, she added, patients “respond very well to it [services]."
Dr. Arpi Thukral, medical director of radiation oncology at Advocate Good Samaritan, stated in a press release, “We are thrilled to introduce and open the Bhorade Cancer Center to the residents of Downers Grove and surrounding communities.”
“With new outpatient chemotherapy infusion suites, enhanced patient navigation and a state-of-the-art TrueBeam Linear Accelerator, the center allows our cancer patients to get the advanced care they need in one place without having to leave their community,” added the doctor.
Erasmus said the staff is “patient-centered and upbeat,” and added that plans are in the works for second-floor offices for oncology, neurology and breast cancer physicians.
Advocate figures show that roughly 30 patients have received treatment since the center opened.
For more information, call 800-323-8622 or visit http://www.advocatehealth.com/gsam-cancer.

Knit or crochet a hat for the babies

To celebrate American Heart Month, the American Heart Association, in connection with the Children's Heart Foundation, is raising infant heart health awareness through "Little Hats, Big Hearts."
Craft enthusiasts who knit and/or crochet are invited to make an infant-size red hat to commemorate the month, to donate to Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, which is participating in the "Little Hat, Big Hearts" program during February.
Heather Rodriguez, assistant manager for the Family Birthing Center, said she believes about 50 have already been distributed—one for every baby born in February.
The hats come in various sizes for infants and in different shades of red, she continued, saying that the staff hands out a hat and also information from the Children's Heart Foundation about infant heart health.
"We screen every baby for a potential heart defect," Rodriguez mentioned, adding that the test measures oxygen levels in the hands and feet. She said research has shown that the larger the gap in numbers between the two, "the higher potential for a heart issue."
"Families are so receptive," she said of the hats and literature on children's heart issues, adding that the hats also initiate conversation.
After all—rather than being pink or blue—the red hats, the manager added, "will potentially stand out."
At the same time, she concluded, seeing the red hats "also reminds the clinicians as well" about infants' heart health.
According to the foundation, congenital heart defects affect roughly one of every 100 babies (40,000) each year. The non-profit foundation raises money for research and is an advocate for children's heart issues.
For more information on how to donate a red hat, visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Little-Hats-Big-Hearts_UCM_487734_SubHomePage.jsp. 
There is also information on what types of yarn to use and the site has links to sample patterns for knit and crochet infant hats.

Pediatrician volunteers to serve the little ones  (February 9, 2017)

It’s a sight that most people don’t see in the course of a typical day: cleft palates, malformed ears, or even extra fingers and toes, but for Dr. Victoria Uribe, it’s all in a day’s work—in Nicaragua, that is.
The Elmhurst Clinic pediatrician is one of a number of medical professionals from the Illinois and Indiana chapter of Healing the Children (HTC) who have traveled to Rivas, Nicaragua, to see young patients for a variety of illnesses—and conditions that require surgery.
With her fourth trip behind her, Uribe mentioned that it was a neighbor who works for Delta Airlines who told her about HTC, as the Illinois-Indiana chapter president also works for Delta—which is used to transport children to the United States for more complex surgeries.
“I’d always heard about it from her,” the doctor continued, adding that she decided she would volunteer when her children were older.
Uribe did not enter into the mission without some experience working with patients in need, as she spent seven years in Chicago working at an inner city clinic, has worked in impoverished areas in the suburbs—where she could also put her Spanish skills to use—and also had traveled to other countries as a physician.
So, “I was pretty prepared,” she said. “I kind of expected how it was going to be.”
However, when she arrived in Rivas for the first time, it was “worse off than I thought,” the doctor recalled.
“Running water is pretty rare,” she recounted, even in the hospital, and most of the hospital and its clinic within, where she worked, had no air conditioning.
Families coming to visit patients often brought their own fans, and even food, she narrated.
Uribe said she was primarily involved in diagnostics, screening and post-operative care, and the first time she went was with an ear, nose and throat surgeon for screenings. The second trip was to return for surgeries.
Her third trip was also for screenings but this time with a plastic surgeon, and the fourth trip was to complete the surgeries.
The doctor said she saw as many as 20 to 30 patients a day; some with illnesses and some who were being screened for surgery.
“It was a mix,” she added.
Just how did she and the surgeon determine who would get surgery? She outlined that it was “more the comfort level of the surgeon,” saying that there were certain conditions that posed extra surgical risks, such as the potential for excess bleeding, that would preclude the surgeon from performing an operation.
That and the limited equipment available for treatment, the doctor said, helped factor in who would receive surgery.
“Or, if they’re too little,” Uribe mentioned, to get the necessary post-operative care.
In one instance, two siblings both had extra toes, and while removing floppy “appendages” might have been routine for a plastic surgeon, in this case, both the siblings’ extra toes had bones as well.
That, the doctor said, was “more of an orthopedic issue,” and not one for the plastic surgeon.
During her last trip in September, there were 22 surgeries, she related.
There have been a few occasions when a child’s condition warranted bringing him or her to the United States for more extensive surgery, Uribe explained, saying that it is rare, because of all the logistics involved.
“It’s a huge process to get kids to this country,” she emphasized.
First, there are Visas to obtain, finding a host family (parents typically don’t come along in the event they might try to remain in the country illegally) and finding hospitals and medical personnel who will perform the needed procedure.
She does remember one child, a 3-year-old named Daisy, who was one out of some 120 patients during her week in Rivas whose case was deemed severe enough to bring her to the United States.
She had a condition called an arteriovenous malformation, or a large growth on her upper lip, and to operate in Rivas, “It was very risky to do it there,” the doctor said.
She visited Daisy at her host family’s home both before and after the surgery, and also kept Daisy’s family back home informed of her progress.
Daisy’s surgery was performed at Highland Park Hospital. Plastic surgeons Dr. Michael Epstein and Dr. Bruce Bauer—among other medical personnel—donated their services.
That was in June 2016, and Daisy and her mom came to visit the medical staff when the volunteers returned to Rivas in September.
When the surgeons did work from the hospital in Rivas, there were “one or two operating rooms available for us to use,” Uribe said, but at the same time, “We brought quite a few surgical items.”
Companies donated equipment and supplies—such as prosthetic ears or nebulizers—and nurses and translators would bring blankets for the patients. Uribe brought teddy bears and would delight her young patients with pictures of snow in Chicago—a sight they had never seen.
The hospital’s nurses were happy to have the American doctors there, she said, and “They appreciate that we do this for them.”
So, too, do the parents, Uribe described, adding how she has seen several patients on more than one occasion, like the little girl who has a spinal deformity too complex to treat at the hospital.
“We’re trying to figure out if she can come to the states,” the doctor said.
She remembers one child, around 8 years old, with malformed ears, who was able to benefit from hearing aids.
“The parents were so appreciative,” the doctor said, and while it was rewarding for her to see this child get treatment, “For the surgeons that was tough.”
She has seen dengue fever (caused by mosquitoes), clubfoot, tonsillitis, cleft palates and burns from motorbike mufflers (affordable transportation), among other maladies, and all the while, the parents “are thrilled” at the care their children receive.
“They have no other option,” Uribe continued, saying sometimes they are referred to larger city hospitals, but “They don’t have the money to pay for things.”
“People who really appreciate what you’re doing makes a huge difference,” the doctor said, so her work there is “very gratifying.”
Uribe said she spends time trying to educate families on everything from proper hand washing to post-operative care, and tries to work through cultural barriers to dispel myths about the conditions from which their children suffer.
The surgeons also do what they can to help teach their Nicaraguan colleagues various procedures they can use to treat their patients.
Uribe said that while HTC paid for hotel accommodations for the volunteers and airfare for nurses and translators, the doctors paid their own way.
She said she knows she is among likeminded professionals who leave their jobs, paychecks and families, “people who want to do the same thing, to give back,” so she plans to return to Rivas in September.
“It’s a great organization,” the doctor praised, and when asked what she might tell others who are considering such mission work, she replied simply, “Get involved. You don’t have to speak the language…just wanting to give of your time.”
According to a press release from Edward-Elmhurst Health, Healing the Children, which is a volunteer-run organization, has helped over 250,000 children in more than 95 countries since it was formed in 1979.
For more information, visit www.healingthechildren.org.

Lombard native appears on ‘Chicago Med’ (February 2, 2017)

Matt Kissane says he is an “RTVF” guy, meaning he trained to be in radio, TV and film, and now, he can say he is accomplishing the “TV” part.
After a career that has predominantly involved being a stand-up comedian and entrepreneur, the Sacred Heart and Montini graduate earned himself a small part in the NBC medical drama, “Chicago Med,” which aired on Jan. 5.
Kissane admits he was a class clown, but said that when his family moved to the East Coast after he graduated from Montini in 1983, it afforded him the opportunity to strike out into broadcasting.
He attended junior college to study broadcast communications, and got the chance to intern for Tom Brokaw—who would end up being one of his celebrity impersonations.
Kissane attended the University of Maryland, graduating in 1988, and came back to Illinois to spend about a year at the prestigious players Workshop at The Second City.
He began doing stand-up comedy in 1989, recounting how he found self-deprecating humor from his Catholic school days.
The comedian began touring around 2001, and has performed with such celebrities as Kevin Nealon, Weird Al Yankovic, Doug Stanhope, Bobby Flay, Mike Ditka and Chaka Khan.
The Villa Park resident added a few movie credits to his name, and was part of the Chicago Bulls Matadors dance squad.
He worked at a radio station in Elmhurst, performed at the now-defunct Who’s on First comedy club and was a regular on WGN Morning News from 2002-08, recalling how “They were looking to get more lighthearted news items and even incorporate mild comedy bits just after Sept. 11, 2001.”
After a few years there, he said the shtick “ran its course” (although they still play some of his clips on occasion), and he began auditioning for commercials.
Kissane said he was in a Vehix.com commercial and in another with Eddie and Jobo, for United Auto Insurance, but one commercial helped his face become more well known to a “wider” audience.
It was a Johnson & Johnson commercial for weight loss surgery that ran for some two years, he continued, that gave him a taste of celebrity—his face was seen on TV, on billboards, in magazines and on the Internet.
The comedian—whose impersonation of the late Chris Farley’s motivational speaker Matt Foley is among his most well-known—related how he began auditioning for TV roles as the Hollywood TV-show genre began making its way into Chicago.
He described auditioning for Dick Wolf productions at Cinespace television studios, for such shows as “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire,” all with no success to speak of.
In fact, the comedian quipped that “I actually took a few extra roles just to get on set but nobody noticed or cared that the WGN goofball was here—hard to believe.”
Kissane said he did get a small walk-on part on the short-lived USA cable channel show “Sirens,” but in general, auditions were going nowhere.
He admitted feeling let down by the rejections, but for him, going to auditions is “like a job,” where some days are better than others.
“You have to build up a thick skin,” Kissane added.
“I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment,” he chuckled, adding, “You get into a groove for auditions.”
Kissane emphasized that it’s not like Hollywood— where prospective actors might audition as many as five times in a day—because in Chicago the opportunities are fewer and farther between.
So, when he got a chance to audition for a part in “Chicago Med,” playing the father of a seriously ill college-age son, he jumped on it.
The comedian recounted how he wasn’t particularly hopeful—after all, there were other actors vying for the part—but then, “I saw this kid…who looked just like me!”
“We both looked at each other and laughed, like if we don’t get this we are quitting and [going] back into insurance,” Kissane outlined, meaning that he had previously worked in the insurance business with his mom, dad and uncle.
That young actor was Joey Morgan, and both he and Kissane got their respective parts.
Kissane said it was unusual how things for him unfolded, because typically auditions are taped for viewing by the casting personnel. But when he went in for the taping, director Patrick Norris was there, along with a producer.
“They were sitting right there,” he exclaimed, reiterating the rarity of such an event.
He taped his audition and left, after which the casting director, Marissa Ross, “chased after me.”
The comedian remembers her telling him to come back and redo the scene, and this time, “be really, really dramatic.”
“That has never happened to me in the history of my life,” Kissane said of being drawn back to an audition, and to further the unusual incident, when he returned, the director told him, “I’m glad you came back.”
Within a few days he found out he got the part, which Kissane said led to a few odd coincidences; the episode was taped on Oct. 25 and 27, and his birthday was Oct. 27. The show aired on Jan. 5, the week of his deceased dad’s birthday.
He called them “these little cosmic tie-ins.”
Kissane will also have what he described a “smaller role” in the season finale episode of a new FOX police drama, “APB,” the first episode of which will air on Feb. 6.
He said he has now completed the RTVF circle, saying of his TV speaking role that it was “30 years in the making.”
When the comedian first decided to major in broadcasting, he thought he would do “quite honestly anything under that heading. I set out for all of that.”
Now, after his big moment on TV, the comedian hopes he will get more opportunities to appear on TV, and would consider the idea of playing a recurring character on a TV show—while being able to continue his comedy career.
“It would be ideal to be able to do both,” Kissane said. “I’m a rolling stone. I keep going where I’m supposed to be.”
To watch “Chicago Med,” Season 2, Episode 9, “Uncharted Territory,” visit http://www.nbc.com/chicago-med?cid=search%7cchicago-med.
For more information on Absolutely Entertainment Chicago, call 630-279-5088 or visit Facebook.com and type in Absolutely Entertainment Chicago.

Addressing conflict in schools focus of GPS program (January 26, 2017)

   According to Gilda Ross, student and community projects coordinator for Glenbard Township High School District 87, schools these days are working to strip away counterproductive, zero-tolerance discipline practices that serve to create a punitive environment. Instead, school systems and those who set policy are undertaking a different approach in which the student receiving the disciplinary measure is part of the process—thereby learning how his or her actions impact others. That is the focus of a program to be held Thursday, Feb. 2, at a program of the Glenbard Parent Series: Navigating Healthy Families called “Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice: Peer Relationships Skills for a Safe School Climate.” Ross said laws have changed regarding student suspensions, for example, and officials are taking a “restorative” approach to address conflict in our schools. The concept is called “restorative justice,” the coordinator continued, saying that the initiator of an action meets with the recipient of that action, in an effort to help the former understand how his or her actions have impacted the latter. The student learns the answer to the question, “How do my actions possibly impact others?” Ross said, adding that this approach allows the recipient of an action to convey how he or she was affected by the actions of another. The speaker for this program will be Pamela Randall-Garner, who is a senior staff adviser with the Collaborating Districts Initiative of CASEL, or the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Randall-Garner, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, started out teaching high school dance in Missouri, and went on to earn a master’s degree in education administration from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville and a doctorate in education administration from St. Louis University. She had worked as a school improvement officer in the Houston area, where she supervised and coached principals to create high quality teams and programs that focus on student academic growth, and achievement of goals, and also emphasized working with the local communities. Randall-Garner also was an area instruction officer and deputy chief officer in the Office of High School Programs within the Chicago Public Schools. She has served as an interim superintendent and principal in St. Louis, and was a graduate of the Broad Academy for Urban Superintendents, among other career highlights. Ross outlined that another component of the program will focus on social emotional learning, which is being integrated into the school curriculum. “The state has mandated that all schools teach social emotional learning,” she noted. According to CASEL, social emotional learning is defined as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Ross said that curriculum development for the classroom includes helping students “learn self awareness, social awareness, self management, responsible decision making and relationship skills.” The coordinator said these concepts might come through in such forms as “an essay in English class or learning about heroes in social studies class,” for instance. She said there is a growing awareness of how social emotional learning factors in to the “whole child,” adding that research into the concept shows “an emphasis of social emotional learning and its importance in developing healthy adults.” Ross commented that “Glenbard schools have made a commitment” to creating an atmosphere of social emotional learning both in the classroom and in the whole educational environment, and said that while educators will be likely attendees of Randall-Garner’s program, she encourages parents to attend so they understand what Glenbard is doing to educate their children beyond the “three R’s.” She believes many people don’t yet know about CASEL although the national organization is based practically in our backyard—out of the University of Illinois at Chicago—adding, “We’re very fortunate we have an expert from CASEL to share that information with us.” The program is being held at noon Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Community Consolidated School District 93 Administration Center, 230 Covington Drive, Bloomingdale. CPDUs are available. For more information, contact Ross at 630-942-7668 or gilda_ross@glenbard.org.

Resident notes Buddy’s’ antics each year to honor his ‘national’ day  

Patty Wetter has made a point of celebrating National Squirrel Appreciation Day, Jan. 21, and this year is no exception. The Villa Park resident has chronicled the antics of her backyard furry visitors, including Buddy, to send to family and friends and, yes, to the Lombardian and Villa Park Review. Last year, Wetter submitted a photo that included a giant squirrel her husband Charlie had made out of snow, but this year, she stated, “Haven't had any snow to make anything yet this year but have two months to go that usually have good snowfalls.” She said she enjoyed watching her visitors play on a bungee cord with corn cobs attached, but hasn’t been able to capture any good shots. After hanging the bungee cord from a tree, she observed how her squirrels seemed to enjoy the swinging and bouncing, and how other squirrels took notice and waited in line for a turn. “It took two days for the two ears to disappear,” Wetter related. She did capture Buddy enjoying a special treat, and as he tells it (through Patty, of course), “I’m enjoying the large pumpkin and corn on the cob. Charlie cuts the top off so that it’s easier to get at the insides and the seeds. You’d think you would end up with pumpkins growing in the yard but everything disappears.” Buddy shared that his human friend Patty made popcorn and he got to enjoy the leftovers; however, the kernels, being lightweight, would blow away in the wind. He added that while Patty offered pieces of apple, he preferred the popcorn. Whether or not you care for squirrels, the National Wildlife Federation encourages everyone to “take a few moments and learn about these nutty animals.”