Month: March 2012

Article: Molecular Analysis

Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis

Researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah report they have discovered a method to identify cancer-causing genetic material quickly, accurately, and inexpensively. The technology can be easily applied to any type of cancer caused by a translocation.

Read full article here.

Choosing Hospice is an active choice

by Gail Hamm, program director

We can all think of words that have a positive meaning for one person and a negative meaning for another. For some people hospice means “I’m giving up” or “he’s giving up”. I have heard this over and over and just read it again in a journal article. But I believe that choosing hospice is a very active choice, not a passive one. It means taking charge of one’s life, and most of us would agree that is a positive thing.

I have vivid memories of working with a gentleman with lung cancer and his wife when I worked at a local hospice. “Matt” chose not to seek treatment. He went on disability and used his last year to be with his wife and grandkids, take care of his home, and spend time with his friends.

During the year I worked with Matt and his family, Matt continued to live. He no longer went to his former job, but he kept busy at home, doing the things he loved. His grandchildren were frequently in the home, and I was able to spend time with them.

Matt’s quality of life was good for a number of months, but gradually there were changes. He could no longer hoist bags of mulch into his truck. He mowed the small patch of grass by his home, over 2 days, not in an hour’s time. Eventually, his wife mowed the grass.

Matt had time to ponder life and death. I was privileged to be a witness as he was baptized by the hospice chaplain in his home before becoming bedfast. Eventually, Matt was able to communicate less and slept through many of my visits while I conversed with his wife, listening and supporting her in the final weeks.

I never thought Matt gave up when he opted for hospice. He chose to be in charge. And he remained in charge, directing his final days, living and dying by his terms.

Cancer Services works with our clients through every step of their diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and at times, end of life care. Sometimes, in spite of the best treatment, there comes a point when no further treatment will change the course of the disease. Cancer Services’ advocates work with clients and their families to understand their options and support them in their decisions to take charge of their lives.

Pink Day at Neuhouser Garden and Gifts

Neuhouser Garden and Gifts and Neuhouser Nursery plan to host Pink Day at both locations on June 9th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10% of the sales will be donated to our organization.

Neuhouser will feature the ‘Invincibelle’ Hydrangea and every purchase automatically donates $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. A variety of other pink perennials will be on special that day, as well. Donations for Hope in a Handbag will be collected, too. Various location DJ’s will provide entertainment will at both locations. Door prizes, donated from local businesses, will be given out throughout the day as well.

The event will take place at both locations. Neuhouser Garden and Gifts located at 4605 W. Jefferson Blvd. and Neuhouser Nursery located at 8046 Stellhorn Road. You don’t want to miss this!

A young mother’s breast cancer story

Chelsa with her family at Lapper 2010

by Amber Recker

In 2010, when she was just 34 years old, Chelsa Demarchis heard four words she thought she’d never hear: You have breast cancer. At the time, her two boys were still babies, 2 years and 4 months old.

“I was nursing my youngest and we started having a difficult time,” Chelsa says. “I thought it was a blocked duct; so did my doctor at first.”

Chelsa had an ultrasound right away and then the whirlwind began. The doctor asked her to come back for a mammogram after the ultrasound and that’s when they discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer. She was having a hard time breast feeding because the tumor was a massive 6 centimeters. She started chemotherapy immediately and in early 2011, she had a mastectomy, followed by radiation treatment.

“I was completely blind-sided,” explains Chelsa. “Never in a million years did I expect this to happen to me and my family.”

Chelsa’s husband Dan took the news especially hard. He experienced an array of emotions, but mostly anger. “It took a lot of convincing on my part and from our family and friends before Dan believed I would be okay. He was so angry this would happen to me at such a young age with such young children,” Chelsa says.

Once the initial shock wore off, Chelsa, Dan and their family faced cancer head on. Dan’s parents moved to Fort Wayne to help with the children while Chelsa underwent treatment, and her mother and 3 sisters from Michigan took turns coming down to help, as well.

“We were shown incredible support from our family and friends,” Chelsa says. “My husband is a teacher at Canterbury, and that community was amazing. People prepared meals and brought them to us every night. They even showed up to watch the boys so we could enjoy some down time.”

Chelsa and Dan were open with their oldest son during the process and tried to explain it to him so he would understand. They told him cancer was like alien bugs attacking mommy’s body and the medicine she took attacked the bugs back. They also told him the medicine made her hair fall out.

“It was a big deal to me when I started losing my hair. I had thick, long curly hair. The night Dan helped me shave my head, our son walked in. I asked him if I looked pretty and he said ‘not today mommy,’” Chelsa relays, laughing at the memory. “It was an emotional moment, and he put a smile back on our faces.”

Last year, Chelsa organized a team of her family and friends to participate in Lapper. “It relieved a lot of stress knowing that Cancer Services was there for me during my cancer journey. When I needed questions answered, I simply had to call my Client Advocate. Just knowing that was enough sometimes,” she explains. “So participating in Lapper was a great way to help support the organization and also do something with my family and friends to acknowledge what we all went through with my diagnosis. I love the community feel of the event and can’t wait to participate in Lapper 2012.”

Today, Chelsa has reached the 6 month post-treatment mark and things look good. “You know, my son saved my life,” she says. “If we hadn’t found the tumor when we did, it may have been too late.”

If you’d like to join Chelsa and others at Lapper 2012, register today!

A Pitch for CSNI at Opening Fort Wayne TinCaps Game

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana will be featured at the Fort Wayne TinCaps home opener at Parkview Field on Thursday, April 5th. A CSNI client will be throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game.

The Fort Wayne TinCap’s Community Organization of the Game program showcases one community organization during each of their 70 home games. The TinCaps believe wholeheartedly in the organizations they spotlight and this is a way to involve the community and make them aware of these awesome charities.

We will have a kiosk located on the Parkview Field concourse on the third-base side of the ballpark. Stop by and find out how you can support CSNI. Don’t miss out on this night of fun!

Vote for CSNI in Rubbermaid Contest

We have been chosen as one of 10 finalists in Rubbermaid’s “Give the Gift of Organization” contest. It is now up to America to vote on who will win the $5000 makeover grant! The winner of the Contest will receive a 2 day working, organization session with a professional organizer and the Sponsor Organization team, along with the Rubbermaid Product to help with the makeover.

We assist with finding supplies, wigs, hats, turbans, and medical items for cancer survivors during their fight against cancer. Just look at the picture below, we need a better way of storing and organizing our wig salon overstock. We have boxes, bags, and totes of wigs, hats, scarves, and supplies everywhere and we need Rubbermaid’s help! A clean organized storage system for our supplies is greatly needed.

Please follow the link below to vote for us. You and everyone you know can vote one time per day and the entry with the most votes by the end of the day on March 29 will win! Thank you for supporting our cause!

Vote Here!

Rediscovering the value of “Undivided Attention”

by Dianne May, president & CEO

Well, this weekend I became one of them. You know, the people who spend all of their time paying more attention to their electronic device than the people they are with. I’m not proud of it, in fact, now that I have a Monday morning perspective, I’m embarrassed by the number of times and ways I let myself be interrupted.

The number of competing voices that want or need our attention can be overwhelming. Work, social relationships, family time—the commitments are all important. In fact, they are so important that each is frequently deserving of our undivided attention.

Undivided attention. My third grade teacher used to require our “undivided attention.” Surely, if I could learn that skill at the age of 8, I can figure out how to do it now. I’m pretty sure that my friends and family will tell me I’m not nearly as good at multi-tasking as I think I am. They deserve more and I resolve to do better.

A Look Back at Our Journey Around the World

Our annual Design on Life “Journey Around the World” celebration has landed and it was a fabulous success. It was a wonderful evening at our new location, Ceruti’s. The night was filled with friends – both new and old – stellar auction items, delicious international food and music, heart-warming testimonials and more.

Most importantly, we raised valuable donations (a 20% increase from 2011) to boost our mission. Proceeds from the event will benefit programs supporting individuals in our community who are affected by cancer. Each year Cancer Services helps over 2,300 individuals and their families by providing financial assistance, medical supplies and equipment, and emotional support.

Thanks to our generous sponsors and donors for making this event possible. Together, we continue to have a positive impact on the lives of people with cancer right here in Northeast Indiana.

Enjoy this peek into the evening’s activities. Thanks for coming along on this “Journey Around the World” with us!