Pelvic organ prolapse: How a pessary changed my life

Pessaries and pelvic organ prolapseI’ve heard pelvic organ prolapse described as a silent epidemic.  Why so hush hush for a condition that affects possibly 50% of women over 50?   I had heard of a prolapsed uterus.  But, my very large, uncomfortable, growing, fleshy protrusion in the fall of 2010 was my bladder.  Why me?  I am thin, fit and active.  A gynecologist and urologist performed the corrective surgery in 2011. Since the gynecologist believed that the uterus contributed to pushing the bladder out of place, I opted for a hysterectomy in addition to having mesh sewn into the vaginal wall to keep the bladder in place. Although I had more than 400 stitches, recovery was painless and quick.  All was well for 18 months.

In August 2012, I returned to the urologist due to spot bleeding and feeling the rough edges of the mesh protruding into the vagina and out.  He dismissed my concerns by saying that, as we age, we have weak areas of our body.  What?  I was angry, incredulous and confused.

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Violins in the O.R.? French horns in the lab? U-M Life Sciences Orchestra blends music & medicine

Free concert April 27 features U-M doctors, scientists, dentists and others

Dr. Ellen Janke, LSO

Dr. Ellen Janke checks her violin’s “vital signs”

When patients and visitors come to U-M’s medical campus, they often hear the sound of music provided by the Gifts of Art program – whether it’s a harp playing in the waiting area near the operating rooms, a guitarist visiting the room of a hospitalized child, or a jazz band playing a free lunchtime concert on a Thursday in the main lobby of University Hospital.

But on Sunday nights, some of U-M’s doctors, nurses, scientists, dentists and  students gather to make music of their own — in the Life Sciences Orchestra. For the last 14 years, the LSO has given these health and science professionals an outlet for their own musical talents — and let them meet people from across the vast U-M life science community.

This Sunday, April 27, the LSO will play a free concert for the community at U-M’s famed Hill Auditorium. Continue reading

The Positive Feedback Loop

Medical mission work and a return to U of M

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

My first medical mission trip in 1998 was one of those absolutely life altering experiences.

I had been interested in this work for some time and was approached by a friend who needed an additional surgeon for a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Working during that first trip, I really felt as if it gave me the opportunity to practice what we do as surgeons and physicians in the purest possible way. There are no other considerations but to offer our expertise to the people we see.

I’ve continued to visit this same hospital each year for 15 years, now leading an annual mission for pediatric reconstructive plastic surgery.  I am convinced that any volunteer participating in a medical mission would describe themselves asgetting more out of the experience than they Continue reading

U-M nurse anesthetist leads medical relief trip in Kenya with U-M and Henry Ford health systems

As a nurse anesthetist at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, as well as Henry Ford Health System, Elizabeth Studley closely monitors patients each day to make sure they are safe, comfortable and relaxed. But Studley’s commitment to helping others extends beyond hospital walls.

Kenya Relief medical team from U-M Health System Henry Ford Health System

The U-M Health System and Henry Ford Health System will send a total of 23 medical staff to Kenya this week to offer much-needed medical relief to local residents.

For the last five years, she has led a team of surgeons and other health care providers from both HFHS and the UMHS to provide care to people in Kenya.

This week, she will again travel to the East African country with 23 surgeons, anesthesia providers, nurses, surgical technicians and pharmacists who will offer lifesaving medical relief in a region with scarce access to health care. The volunteers will provide care to people in local communities, many who travel for miles to see a physician for the first time in their lives. The team expects to see 450-600 patients and perform 50-80 surgeries—ranging from general surgery and dentistry to pediatrics and ear, nose and throat procedures—in just three days. Studley’s team is the largest of 21 groups who volunteer with KenyaRelief.Org.

As she prepares for the trip on Thursday, Studley answered some questions about why she’s so dedicated to this work. Continue reading

Miles’ Story: Neuroblastoma Treatment at Mott Children’s Hospital

miles gundrum - neuroblastoma careSave for the general excitement of expecting a child, Angela Gundrum’s pregnancy with her son Miles was quiet and uneventful. Which is why she was blown away when she discovered days after his birth in February that things were far from normal.

“Miles was having trouble urinating” while still a patient following his birth at their hometown hospital, said his mother Angela Gundrum. Doctors found swelling in his adrenal glands and on the top of his kidneys but were otherwise stumped. They sent her and Miles to Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ypsilanti for an ultrasound. Doctors there discovered a mass and gave Gundrum further options for where to receive more advanced care. “We opted for U-M without a second thought,” she said about her and her husband Matthew’s decision to have Miles be seen at Mott Children’s Hospital.

The following day, Gundrum was on the phone with U-M pediatric urologist Dr. Vessna Ivancic, who she calls Dr. Bubbles. Dr. Ivancic had already studied the ultrasound from St. Joseph and ordered an MRI for Miles that weekend. The MRI revealed the worst. Miles had a tumor the size of an orange pressing on his kidney.

The good news was that Miles could get treatment quickly and doctors could save his kidney.

Two days later, Gundrum and her husband sat in a Mott Children’s Hospital room surrounded by a team of doctors, nurses and staff learning how Miles would be cared for over the next couple of days and further into treatment.  U-M’s unique Solid Tumor Oncology Program brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists that evaluates each patient in a single visit, reducing the need for multiple visits and reducing wasted time lost between appointments at various individual clinics.

In Miles’ case, their first consultation at Mott Children’s Hospital culminated in a meeting with their full treatment team, including pediatric surgeon Dr. Erika Newman, pediatric oncologists Dr. Steven Pipe, and Dr. Carl Koschmann, pediatric radiologist Dr. Ethan Smith, and the team’s nurse practitioner Erica Southworth.

The Gundrums learned from the team that Miles’ mass was a neuroblastoma. Though rare, it is the most common type of tumor in infants. It develops from immature nerve cells found in the body. When discovered in infancy, the prognosis is good. Miles would immediately need to undergo surgery for a biopsy and to further determine treatment.

Dr. Koschmann and Erica Southworth provided the Gundrums a detailed schedule of what to expect the next couple of days. The surgical team was able to obtain a sample from the tumor and a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, and to determine whether the cancer had spread.

In the end, doctors did not need to remove the tumor. Miles would need chemotherapy to further shrink the tumor and destroy any cancerous cells.

The Solid Tumor Oncology Program team was able to coordinate Miles’ care so that his chemotherapy treatment began just 10 days after surgery.

After two cycles of chemotherapy, Miles was declared to be in remission. Miles visits Mott Children’s Hospital for regular monitoring. He is growing and progressing normally, like any child his age.

Gundrum says her experience was made better by the many conveniences at Mott and the fact that doctors included her in communications, they taught her how to care for her son and they allowed her to stay near him during his whole course of treatment. While he recovered after surgery, nurses taught her how to change his diapers and administer medication – all activities she would need to perform at home after his discharge from the hospital.

“At first it was shocking and a little overwhelming but as I got to know the doctors, I realized they are really good people who are really great with kids,” she said.

Seemingly small things were a huge help, she added. Having a washer and dryer on site and not having to drive home for fresh clothes proved to be indispensable. Meeting other parents and having a cafeteria nearby for food were all amenities that enabled her to concentrate on being there with her son.

“We had the ability to stay with him and help care for him. I was really worried about having to leave him. It was a huge relief to be able to stay right there with him, in his room and participate in everything.”

Now at 9 months, he is a doing great. “He gets into everything,” she said. “His first tooth came in the other day. He loves dogs, horses and our cat. He’s always moving. He doesn’t like to be confined and he loves food. It doesn’t matter what it is.” “And he is really happy. I don’t think he even remembers anything that’s happened because he was so young when this all happened.”

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mott blog - BOC thumbBlock Out Cancer is a rallying cry for people from all walks of life to come together to support the fight against children’s cancers. Everyone has a role to play. Learn more about how you can help Block Out Cancer.

 

best children's hospital

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” in 2014, and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine.

Breastfeeding multiples — Yes, it can be done!

wh blog - breastfeeding multiplesWe all know that breast milk is best for babies, but when you have two, three, four or more babies, is breastfeeding possible? Yes, it is. It requires focus, dedication, planning and help.

Start right. Bring your babies to your breasts as soon as possible after they are born. If the babies are in the NICU or for some other reason unable to nurse immediately, start pumping and saving your breast milk. If your babies are born at under 34 weeks, they will need fortified milk. A mineral-rich supplement can be mixed with your breast milk and given with a bottle for two or three feedings each day, depending on what your doctor recommends.

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