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92-year-old U-M TAVR patient honored

Madge Cowles makes the trip of a lifetime, thanks to her TAVR

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Photograph by Leisa Thompson.

At the tender age of 92, Weltha “Madge” Cowles still looks forward to new experiences. In fact, she recently returned from what she says was the experience of a lifetime: being honored in Washington, D.C., for her Rosie the Riveter work during World War II. Rosie the Riveter was the name given to American women who worked in factories and shipyards during WW II.

Madge became a “Rosie” at the Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti at age 18. Eventually, she was trained to perform electrical work on bomber planes, alongside her father. For three years, the pair drove from their home in Albion to Willow Run, working during the week and sleeping in a trailer, then returning home on weekends. “I enjoyed my work and fellow workers. I never missed a single day,” she says proudly. Continue reading

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Women and sexuality after bladder cancer

women and sexuality after bladder cancerRecovering sexuality after bladder cancer can be difficult for women. In December, Daniela Wittmann, Ph.D., LMSW, CST, and LaShon Day, PA-C, both from the University of Michigan Department of Urology, were the experts featured in a series of four webinars on this topic, sponsored by the Bladder Cancer Awareness Network.

The one-hour webinars are now available for viewing on YouTube for anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of sexuality and intimacy after treatment for bladder cancer: Continue reading

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Register now for the April 9 Breast Cancer Summit

Breast Cancer Summit

This year’s Breast Cancer Summit will take a look at how treatment decisions are made; in the afternoon, the focus shifts to continuing to thrive and move forward.

 

Have you wondered how decisions are made in breast cancer treatment? The upcoming U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Summit offers a glimpse into the multidisciplinary approach our breast cancer patient receives from medical and surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, geneticists, reconstructive surgeons, nurses specializing in cancer care, and more.

Breast cancer survivors, caregivers and members of the general public concerned about breast cancer and risk reduction are welcome to attend. Continue reading

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Heart device gives patient freedom during wait for heart transplant

Michael Richards feels “lucky” to be alive after heart failure diagnosis

Michael Richards, 25, has a total artificial heart controlled by wearable technology, giving him the freedom to visit Ann Arbor's Hands On Museum with his 2-year-old daughter.

“I was a nervous wreck,” says Michael Richards, Jr., 25, about the first time he and his family changed the battery for the backpack-sized device that controls his heart.

When most people hear “wearable technology,” they think of fitness trackers and enhanced glasses. The total artificial heart works on a higher level — allowing heart patients independence as they wait for a heart transplant.

The 14-pound Freedom® Driver, which Richards carries in a backpack, powers the total artificial heart with precisely calibrated pulses of air. The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the only Michigan heart program to send patients home with the wearable technology. Continue reading

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Urgent spine surgery spells relief

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When his doctors asked Samuel Jones to rate his back and spine pain on a scale from 1 to 10, he said it was 15 to 20. And it’s no surprise. Jones, a retired patent agent from Midland, Michigan, had had an operation to repair a ruptured disc in 1974 with no further problems. Then, when he came back in 2014 from a wonderful vacation with his family in Hawaii, everything was different.

“I went from a little pain now and then to excruciating pain,” Jones says. He couldn’t walk without help. He couldn’t go up or down stairs. To make matters worse, it was hard to diagnose his problem because his previous quadruple bypass and pacemaker prevented an MRI.  Continue reading

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First grade ‘Miracle Class’ earns special nickname in small Michigan town

Four Little Victors, four difficult journeys- one classroom

(From left to right) Kaine, Thomas, Maddie and Brody have given their 1st grade classroom the nickname "Miracle Class."

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Wilkinson Photography: (From left to right) Kaine, Thomas, Maddie and Brody have given their 1st grade classroom the nickname “Miracle Class.”

The first grade class at St. Joseph School has become locally famous in the rural, one-stoplight village of Pewamo.

It’s the classroom of seven-year-old Thomas Kramer, who had his first of three open heart surgeries at three days old. There’s Brody Smith, who began fighting leukemia just as he was learning to talk. Kaine Simon underwent an hours- long surgery on his skull at five months old.  And Madeline George’s biggest gift came two days after her first birthday: a new heart.

Their stories are what have earned Mrs. Connie Warczinsky’s classroom in this small town outside of Lansing an affectionate nickname: “The miracle class.”

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