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Scoliosis spine surgery for a difficult case

Kim TerBeek thought she would have to live with the pain

After suffering with undiagnosed scoliosis for years, Kim TerBeek is able to do many of the things she loved to do.

After suffering with undiagnosed scoliosis for years, patient Kim TerBeek is finally able to do many of the things she loved to do.

Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, can occur at any age—even adulthood. A primary care physician or spine specialist should be able to detect the condition. But, that wasn’t the case for Kim TerBeek.

“I saw several doctors and none of them said I had scoliosis,” TerBeek says. “I even had two back surgeries and was still taking 10 to 15 pain pills a day for the pain. I couldn’t do simple tasks like vacuuming. Then I saw a doctor in Holland, Michigan, who told me I had a 46-degree curve in my spine and that it was the worst case of scoliosis he had ever seen.

“He couldn’t help me, but he referred me to Dr. Frank LaMarca. He said Dr. LaMarca was one of only six doctors in the United States who did the kind of surgery I needed.”  Continue reading

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A little brother’s life-saving gift

16-year-old boy finds bone marrow donor in 3-year-old brother; large age gap presents unique transplant challenges

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After 16 years of fighting a rare, life-threatening disease, Derek Gropp finally met the organ donor who would save his life  –  his 3-year-old brother Christopher.

Derek was born with Kostmann Syndrome (or commonly known as Severe Congenital Neutropenia), which prevents the body from producing white blood cells critical to fighting infections and makes even a common cold or ear infection potentially fatal. The disease eventually can transform into leukemia, and his family knew that Derek may need a bone marrow transplant someday.

Then along came Christopher, who proved to be nearly a perfect match for his big brother. But the case presented unique challenges because at just 40 pounds, preschooler Christopher was nearly a third the size of his 16-year-old, 150-pound brother.

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, April 30

Get rid of those unwanted medications cluttering your cabinet!

Several containers of over the counter and prescription medications on the shelves of a 1960's medicine cabinet.

Many years ago, a new father was inspired by the birth of his first child to improve his health. He used a prescription medication to stop smoking and when he had some medication left over, he placed it in a drawer. When his child grew to be an inquisitive toddler, the child found the medication and before the parents were aware had ingested enough of these pills to be at risk for seizures and other life-threatening complications.

Fortunately, this story ended well.  Managed quickly in the hospital, the child suffered no complications and after observation was sent home.

Tragically, this is not an isolated incident.

Prescription drugs are an important part of modern healthcare.  When taken as prescribed, pharmaceuticals have great potential to help with a wide variety of ailments and conditions.  When misuse occurs, however, great problems can also result. Continue reading

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81-year-old TAVR patient’s road to recovery

A remarkable woman shares her inspiring journey to good health

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The Edwards SAPIEN 3 Transcatheter Heart Valve

Shirley Clarkson is a remarkable woman with a strong will to live. At age 81, she has undergone a multitude of health issues. This is her story of survival, thanks to recent progressions in medicine.

In 1998, Shirley was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and was treated with high does of radiation. Despite aggressive treatment, she overcame difficult odds and was able to get back to an active lifestyle that included regular workouts and miles of daily walks.

Some 10 years later Shirley’s general practitioner discovered a heart murmur during an echocardiogram and recommended she be seen at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Here, Dr. Michael Shea diagnosed her with aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, likely caused by radiation treatment. Continue reading

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Reap health benefits using the power of the plate

health benefitsYour plate can be a powerful weapon! No, we’re not talking about using it as a projectile object for self-defense. Instead you can wield your plate to prevent disease, help with recovery, manage stress, boost your memory and even slow down aging, plus so much more! Focus on adding foods that provide the benefits specific to your needs and you will likely reap additional health benefits. Continue reading

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Easter brings new life for liver transplant recipient

Photo by Chris Sonnenday, M.D., taken Easter morning.

Photo by Chris Sonnenday, M.D., taken Easter morning.

Easter was already a special day for Nelson and Carole Thulin. The Milford couple was excited to have their three adult children home to spend a meaningful Sunday together, rejoicing in the new life signified by the holiday, and the promise of spring.

This year’s holiday started early, though, with a 1 a.m. phone call: Nelson Thulin, too, would receive the gift of life this year. His new liver was ready, and he needed to head into the hospital for surgery.

“There couldn’t be a better day,” Thulin says. “People were always saying their prayers were with me, and then I spent Easter Sunday in the operating room.”

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