Leaving a Legacy

Richard Floyd, MD

Richard Floyd, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, retires after 29 years of service at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group.

Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Dr. Richard Floyd was inspired by his father to become a surgeon. Following in his father’s footsteps, he completed medical school and training in cardiothoracic surgery.

“I loved the technical aspect of surgery,” said Dr. Floyd. “I watched my father enjoy what he did for his career, and that’s what convinced me to pursue it as well.”

Dr. Floyd knew once he completed his education that he wanted to stay local with his practice. He began working in his hometown with Saint Joseph Hospital in 1991, where his father had worked, too.

“My name is familiar at Saint Joseph Hospital,” said Dr. Floyd. “When I retire, it will be the first time in 60 years that a Richard Floyd hasn’t been on staff.”

A Fulfilling Career

Through the years, the longtime surgeon was able to watch the hospital develop and grow with the arrival of new physicians, innovative technology and minimally invasive procedures. What remained the same was the quality of the medical staff and their dedication to meeting patients’ needs.

“I was fortunate to work with an outstanding team of health care providers throughout the years,” said Dr. Floyd. “The people I work with at the hospital, as well as the interactions with patients, are what I’ll miss the most about my job.”

Looking back, Dr. Floyd’s greatest accomplishment was to help improve the lives of his patients.

“People came to me with a specific problem, and we had to find the solution,” Dr. Floyd said. “Being able to operate and help people heal and have a better quality of life is what I’m most proud of working at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group.”

Family remained a priority through Dr. Floyd’s career, and will continue to be the center of his retirement. He plans to move cross-country to Utah to live closer to relatives. Excited about the extra free time, he intends to spend the next stage of his life traveling, hiking and playing basketball.

“We are privileged as health care providers to be able to take care of patients and earn their trust. The relationships I’ve formed here have been rewarding,” said Dr. Floyd.

To find a specialist in cardiothoracic surgery, visit our Find a Provider directory.

Partners for Life

CHI Saint Joseph Health team members, dressed in red for the Go Red for Women Luncheon.

CHI Saint Joseph Health and the American Heart Association (AHA) Lexington are dedicated to improving the cardiac health of people in central and eastern Kentucky.

Heart Disease does not discriminate, impacting men and women and sometimes even babies—and it is the leading cause of death in the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“It is important for us to have the support of the medical community to reverse that trend,” said Joey Maggard, executive director, AHA Lexington.

Community Care

Together, AHA Lexington and CHI Saint Joseph Health lead educational programs in the community and host events to raise awareness, including the annual Heart Ball in February, the Heart Walk in May and the Go Red for Women Luncheon in November. They also collaborate to enhance quality improvement programs, such as Get With The Guidelines.

“When medical professionals apply the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines, patient outcomes improve,” Maggard said. “That’s the simple truth behind the drive for continuous quality improvement. Our comprehensive suite of programs can help you advance further and faster in the quest for ever-better care.”

To learn more about the American Heart Association Lexington, visit heart.org/en/affiliates/kentucky/lexington.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Screening Saves Lives as Colon Cancer Affects Younger Adults

Woman outdoors smiling

If you’re a young adult, chances are that getting screened for colorectal or colon cancer isn’t on your list of priorities. But you might want to reconsider that perspective following a recent study by the American Cancer Society. The study found an alarming growth in the number of colon cancer cases in adults under age 50 in the United States. In fact, we’re seeing more and more colon cancer cases with patients in their 20s and 30s.

Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. that affects both men and women. This type of cancer occurs when abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. These polyps are often precancerous and can turn cancerous over time. Colorectal cancer screenings allow doctors to find and remove the growths before they turn cancerous.

Colon cancer screenings are especially important because the disease doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms. When they do occur, symptoms may include blood in the stool after bowel movements, stomach aches or pains that don’t go away, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. If you’re experiencing any combination of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician and ask about colon cancer screenings.

The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening starting at age 45; while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening starting at age 50. Certain groups are at a greater risk for developing colon cancer and should be screened earlier. This includes people with a family history of colon cancer. Lack of regular exercise, diets low in fruits and vegetables, and frequent alcohol or tobacco use can also increase your risk for the disease. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor and ask if they recommend a screening.

The most common screening tests administered to find precancerous polyps include stool screenings, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. These tests are quick and easy, and cause minimal to no pain. A stool screening allows doctors to detect any traces of blood or cancerous cells in the stool. Flexible sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies both use a thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine when you should be screened, and which procedure is right for you.

If you or a loved one suspect you have colon cancer symptoms, have a family history of colon cancer, have several risk factors or are over the age of 45-50, schedule a colorectal cancer screening today.

To learn more about colorectal cancer screening and treatment, contact your primary care provider or call 859.313.2255 to schedule an appointment or receive assistance with a provider referral.

Dr. Monte Martin

Monte Martin, MD

Dr. Martin is with the Cancer Care Center at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Oncology and Hematology.

A Profession of Faith

Rev. Rachele Holmes

Growing up the daughter of a Disciples of Christ minister, Rev. Holmes knew she would never pursue a career in ministry.

“My dad experienced the ups and downs that go along with taking care of other people,” Rev. Holmes said. “I saw how that affected his family life, and I did not want anything to do with it.”

Instead, Rev. Holmes majored in English before accepting a scholarship to law school. But she could not ignore a calling to serve others through ministry.

“Throughout life, I went to church camp where songs and music became an important part of my spiritual life, supporting me through some challenging times,” Rev. Holmes said. “The more I went to camp, the more I realized I had a deep love for people. God was telling me to use my hardships to help others.”

Changing Her Path

Following her spiritual revelation, Rev. Holmes attended Lexington Theological Seminary, launching a journey that would take her into ministry in a variety of settings, including hospice care in Lexington.

“Hospice is where I started seeing a correlation between music and spirituality,” Rev. Holmes said. “Music was able to soothe terminally ill people in a way that I could not.”

A shift in staffing at the hospice where she worked led Rev. Holmes to Saint Joseph East and then to Saint Joseph Berea, where she works in pastoral care. “I love the work I do here,” Rev. Holmes said. “When a person allows me into a part of their life, it is very humbling and rewarding.”

To connect with Rev. Holmes, speak with your Saint Joseph Berea health care provider.

When the Caretaker Becomes the Patient

In October 2018, Saint Joseph Berea chaplain Rev. Rachele Royale Holmes experienced a stroke while in the car with her husband and knew immediately where she needed to be taken for care.

“He rushed me to Saint Joseph Hospital, where I received the clot-busting medication, tPA,” Rev. Holmes said. “They took me to a bed in a room where I had counseled terminal patients, and I cried, thinking I was dying, as well.”

Clinicians with Saint Joseph Hospital discovered a hole in Rev. Holmes’s heart that had contributed to her stroke and were able to correct the abnormality.

“It is amazing that I was taken to the right place at the right time,” Rev. Holmes said. “I am back enjoying time with my family, staying healthy and even ran the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation’s 5th Annual Yes, Mamm! 5K one year after my stroke. I am so grateful.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Kidney Stones are Common and Painful, but Preventable

Man Speaking with Provider

Urinary tract issues like kidney stones are a growing problem in the United States. It is expected that 1 in 10 adults will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Therefore, it’s important to learn the warning signs for kidney stones and know how to manage your risk. Regular check-ups with your physician can reduce your chances of having complications from a severe kidney stone by detecting the issue early.

The kidneys are an important organ that process approximately 200 quarts of blood in order to remove two quarts of waste and excess water daily through the urine. This process can be disturbed by the presence of kidney stones, which harm the kidneys and urinary tract.  

Kidney stones are hard mineral and salt deposits that form inside the kidneys, but they can affect any part of the urinary tract. Kidney stones often have no definite cause, but can be linked to several risk factors. Dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and metabolic disorders can increase a person’s risk for developing kidney stones.

Symptoms of kidney stones often include pain in the sides and lower back, below the ribs, as well as the lower abdomen and groin. Pain may occur during everyday activity or while urinating. Patients might also experience discoloration in the urine, a persistent need to urinate, urinating small amounts, nausea and vomiting.

Simple diagnostics tests such as blood and urine testing, image testing with X-rays, ultrasound testing and computerized tomography (CT) tests, can detect the presence of kidney stones. Once diagnosed, a doctor will choose a treatment option for kidney stones based on their severity.

In most cases, patients can usually pass kidney stones with proper medical care. Passing kidney stones can be painful, but normally causes no permanent damage. A physician may prescribe pain medication and alpha blockers, which relax the ureter and ease the passing process. They may also recommend more water intake. If left undiagnosed and untreated, kidney stones will become more severe and require surgical removal.

The good news is that kidney stones are preventable. Drinking plenty of water daily is an excellent start for improving your kidney and urinary tract health. Reducing the amount of salt and animal-based proteins in your diet can also help minimize your risk. Based on your history of kidney stones, your doctor may also recommend a medication to mitigate the compounds that cause stones to form in the kidneys.

If you are experiencing symptoms of kidney stones, contact your physician right away for testing. Even with preventative measures, you may still be at risk for developing kidney stones. Ask your doctor if they recommend that you be tested and be sure to have yourself checked for early signs of kidney stones on a regular basis.

To learn more about urology care, contact the CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group or call 859.313.2255 to schedule an appointment or receive assistance with a provider referral.

Dr. Andrew McGregor is with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Rheumatology.

Millennials and Colorectal Cancer

Man with glasses sitting in windowed room.

Rates of colorectal cancer are on the rise in young adults. Adults born between 1981 and 1996, also known as millennials, are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer than adults born in 1950, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In recent years, rates of colon and rectal cancer have doubled and quadrupled, respectively.

“Those numbers are alarming, but there is a high chance colorectal cancer is curable if it is found early,” said Monte Martin, MD, hematology and medical oncology medical director at CHI Saint Joseph HealthCancer Care Center at Flaget Memorial Hospital. “It can also be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

3 Steps to Help Prevent Colorectal Cancer

  1. Quit smoking. The ACS reports that smoking increases your risk of colorectal cancer, as well as numerous other health concerns. Quitting smoking will improve your overall health and decrease your cancer risk.
  2. Watch your weight. Obesity has been linked to colorectal cancer risk, especially in younger adults. Increasing your physical activity and eating a healthy diet may help reduce your risk.
  3. Talk to the doc. Annual screenings can help your provider catch colorectal cancer in its earlier, more treatable stages. Discuss other risk factors, such as your family history, with your provider. Together, you can decide when you should begin screening for colorectal cancer.

To learn more about our colorectal cancer services, speak with your primary care physician or request an appointment by calling 859.313.2255.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Addressing Mental Health

Woman with clasped hands

Prioritize Your Psychological Well-being

Mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, affects one in five adults in the U.S. every year. While it can be tempting to put your mental health on the backburner, this can often cause symptoms to worsen and/or manifest in other ways.

“Your mental health and physical health are intrinsically linked,” said Brian Kelty, MD, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “Research has found that individuals with mental health diagnoses have a higher risk of certain medical issues, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. You cannot simply neglect one and focus on the other; you have to care for both.”

Seeking Help

If you ever question whether what you are feeling is normal or start experiencing symptoms that are more severe (thoughts of self-harm, for example), Dr. Kelty suggests discussing your concerns with your primary care provider. He or she will be able to assess your symptoms and determine whether treatment, such as medication and/or talk therapy, would be beneficial, and if any further testing is necessary to ensure that your symptoms are not the result of an underlying medical condition.

In addition to clinical support, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to better care for your mental health. These include eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, spending time outside in the sunlight as much as possible and maintaining a consistent routine.

“I tell people, ‘Imagine the happiest, healthiest person you can and ask yourself what kind of lifestyle that person has,’” Dr. Kelty said. “‘Now, try to emulate that lifestyle for yourself.’”

Visit our behavioral health care page for information on behavioral health care at CHI Saint Joseph Health.

Is Winter Bringing You Down?

Many people experience a temporary change in mood during the winter months. For some, however, this change is more persistent and/or severe. This is known as major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern or “winter depression.”

“It shares many of the same symptoms as major depressive disorder, but you experience them exclusively or more intensely during the winter months,” said Brian Kelty, MD, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “It is often associated with reduced exposure to light, but there are also environmental factors. For instance, when it is cold and dark outside, you may be less likely to exercise, eat healthy, go outside and socialize. Sticking with these healthy habits year-round can make them easier to maintain during the wintertime and help keep symptoms under control.”

If you have questions or concerns regarding winter depression, it is important to discuss them with your primary care provider. To find one, visit our provider directory.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

A Good Steward

Dr. Haley Busch

For Haley Busch, PharmD, her first-of-its-kind job combines personal and professional passions with one goal: saving lives.

In June 2019, Dr. Busch made history: She became CHI Saint Joseph Health’s first clinical pharmacist specialist in opioid stewardship and pain management, and the first at a community health system in Kentucky. Her job places her in the thick of the campaign to curb the Commonwealth’s opioid crisis.

“I provide education, consultation and updates to policies and procedures to ensure the health system manages pain appropriately, according to the latest evidence-based literature and guidelines,” Dr. Busch said. “My program seeks to prevent prescribing opioids to patients who have never before been exposed to them, if possible, calls for safe use and monitoring of opioids when indicated, promotes and integrates the use of nondrug and nonopioid methods of pain control, and fosters compassionate and comprehensive care for patients with opioid use disorder.”

How a Project Led to a Career

Dr. Busch traces her passion for opioid stewardship and helping people with addiction to an honor society project during her third year of pharmacy school at the University of Kentucky. As the society’s president, she and other members set up a distribution table for naloxone — a drug that reverses the effects of opioids to prevent overdose — at a local health department. Once a week, they provided the lifesaving drug free of charge, along with patient counseling. Dr. Busch and the other pharmacy students extended similar services to shelters, halfway houses and police departments.

“We worked with media and film students at the university to create two public service announcements that aired at local movie theaters and on radio stations to educate the public about naloxone and destigmatize addiction,” Dr. Busch said. “We also published an academic article about the benefits of pharmacy student-led naloxone counseling.”

Meaningful Moments

Like so many other health care roles, Dr. Busch’s is about people. Certain moments she shares with patients underscore that — and keep her passion for what she does burning bright.

“When speaking with a patient about naloxone use at the health department, the individual said, ‘I have never before been treated like a human by any other health care professional. Thank you for making me feel human today, and for taking the time to show that you care about me,’” Dr. Busch said. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to help save lives through my work both inside and outside of the hospital.”

“All patients are worth our time, attention and respect, no matter what choices they’ve made.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

Overcome Pain and Depression from Fibromyalgia with Treatment

Physician and patient having conversation

Many people are currently suffering from a chronic pain disorder called Fibromyalgia, which causes those affected to feel unnatural pain and an increased sensitivity to pain. Fibromyalgia affects more than 4 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although it is clear that Fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory or autoimmune disease, the cause is still unknown. 

Fibromyalgia causes wide-spread muscle pain and tenderness all over the body. The pain can shift areas or occur in many places at once. The intensity of the pain may change from day to day, or even hour by hour. Those with fibromyalgia may describe the pain as aching, deep, shooting or tingling. In addition to pain, other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include body stiffness, fatigue, trouble thinking or concentrating, and even memory loss.

Although there is no known cause, certain factors can put you at an increased risk for developing fibromyalgia. The disorder is typically diagnosed in middle-aged people, but can sometimes affect children. Women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Repeated injuries can cause or worsen the condition, and there are reported links between developing fibromyalgia and experiencing traumatic events, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the CDC.

The two most common complications of fibromyalgia are depression and poor sleep. The presence of consistent and chronic pain takes a heavy toll on the mental state of those with fibromyalgia. This often coincides with feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Lack of sleep can intensify these feelings, which often go untreated if a patient has not already been diagnosed. This can worsen depression.

If you’re feeling depressed or have thoughts of suicide due to chronic pain, talk to your doctor right away or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, visit your physician for further testing. A physician, typically a rheumatologist, will diagnose fibromyalgia by excluding similar conditions through a series of physical examinations, blood tests, X-rays, and by reviewing a patient’s medical history.

Once fibromyalgia is diagnosed, it can be treated with a combination of medication and self-management strategies. It’s important to note that there is no role for opioids to help manage the pain. Muscle strengthening classes, such as aerobics, can also help to mitigate symptoms. Stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation and massages can improve mental health difficulties associated with fibromyalgia. Symptoms of fibromyalgia may vary. Therefore, patient education and individual pain management programs are crucial to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes.

Living with fibromyalgia is completely manageable with the right treatment plan.

To learn more about fibromyalgia and rheumatology care, contact the CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group or call 859.313.2255 to schedule an appointment or receive assistance with a provider referral.

Travis Sizemore

Travis Sizemore, DO, MPH

Dr. Sizemore is with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Rheumatology.

Critical Care for Chest Pain

If you experience the warning signs of a heart attack, do not delay. Seek help immediately.

When it comes to health, you may be the kind of person to put on a brave face and push through the pain. But if you feel sensations typical of a heart attack, getting timely medical care could mean the difference between life and death.

“The earlier we can intervene, the better your chance of a good outcome,” said Jennifer Chism, MSN, RN, interim vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer with Saint Joseph Mount Sterling. “In the case of heart attack, time is muscle.”

The most serious type of heart attack is known as an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or a STEMI. This event occurs when a blood clot partially or totally blocks an artery that supplies blood to the heart. As a result, heart muscle begins to die.

Warning signs of a STEMI include:          

  • Chest pain          
  • Dizziness          
  • Nausea          
  • Sweating

Cardiac screenings are an important step to stay in tune with heart health. Learn more about cardiac screenings here.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.