After stroke: A lot of life to live

Patient Jill Weatherly grateful for the gift of life


Jill Weatherly and family

Jill Weatherly’s advice to anyone feeling the warning signs of stroke: “Get medical help when your symptoms start.” That’s what she did on July 25, 2015. Luckily, Weatherly’s husband drove her to the University of Michigan Health System Emergency Department, where the stroke team administered the clot-busting medication, tPA.

“They saved my life,” Weatherly says. “I got speech and motion back within 15 minutes. And every 15 minutes or so I could see improvement. I’m really grateful for the care.”

Weatherly and her husband were on their way to a leisurely late-morning breakfast. She was driving when she lost most of her speech and her right side went numb. With amazing presence of mind, she got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side and got in. Her husband drove the rest of the way—right to the doors of U-M Emergency.  Continue reading

Early onset prostate cancer brings out a fighter

Prostate cancer patient Peter Rich holds his granddaughter Sage

Peter Rich with his granddaughter, Sage

When Peter Rich was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer at age 59, he asked a tough question for one very distinct reason.

“I said, ‘Doc, am I going to die from this?’ When she said yes, I asked how long. I want to talk in terms of that so I can prove you wrong,” Rich says.

He has. Despite the 30-month average survival time for metastatic prostate cancer, he’s now been living with cancer for six years.

Rich has been through a number of different treatments – radiation, chemotherapy, abiraterone, PARP inhibitor, and numerous clinical trials, all under the care of Kathleen Cooney, M.D., his oncologist at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. He currently takes Xtandi (enzalutamide), which is designed to interfere with the hormone androgen. It’s four pills a day, and it makes him tired so he takes two naps each day.

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It’s Game Day: Getting ready to face colorectal cancer treatment head-on

Cancer survivor and football coach's wife refuses to let cancer change who she is

Tiffany adjusts her son's hat as he lifts his arms to cheer

Tiffany and her son at a U-M football game

Tiffany Hecklinski was used to watching her husband, Jeff, prepare for a big game. Now it was her turn.

In January 2011, Brady Hoke asked Jeff Hecklinski to follow him to Ann Arbor as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for Michigan Football. Tiffany, then 37, stayed behind to pack up the family’s home in San Diego. She was having nagging pain in her abdomen, but doctors chalked it up to irritable bowel syndrome and gave her something for the symptoms. Continue reading

Body and mind workouts help diabetic woman reverse her insulin dependence

Her message: You are not too old to make lifestyle changes to control diabetes!

Margaret Smith (right) was motivated to make life changes by her daughter, Kate (left). Margaret will be sharing her personal story of life with type 2 diabetes at the Annual Diabetes Health Fair.

Margaret Smith (right) was motivated to make life changes by her daughter, Kate (left). Margaret will be sharing her personal story of life with type 2 diabetes at the Annual Diabetes Health Fair.

Fifteen years ago, when the doctor told me I had diabetes, I just shrugged it off. I wasn’t terribly scared, but on the other hand, I was in denial and not well educated about the effects it would have – was already having – on my body. I took my diabetic medication Metformin, and that was about it.

Jump ahead 12 years. I was insulin resistant, had metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea and needed shots for back and knee pain. I had several doctors, and each suggested bariatric surgery to curb my appetite, lose weight and get my diabetes under control. Continue reading

Heart of a Hunter: Meet hunter Cleo Seay, heart attack survivor

Enjoying the great outdoors, seven years after a heart attack

Hunting small game like rabbit and quail and bringing in larger hauls of turkey and deer are important memories and adventures for contractor Cleo Seay, 62, of Flint, Mich. Cleo Seay

The desire to be in nature and enjoy the primal rush of the hunt didn’t change after a heart attack in 2006.

“Hunting season is the one time of year I get to see some of my friends,” says Seay. “We’ll eat, lie, hunt, fish. To be honest if we really wanted to kill a deer, we wouldn’t go in such a big group. Hunting deer is a quiet thing.”

Rather than a tent, he spends nights under the stars in his cork-floored Airstream, but it feels just as good to get away from it all with a dozen close friends on private land in Benton Harbor, Mich. Before loading up his gear we asked Cleo to talk about his journey with heart disease. Continue reading