A ministry of care

Dr. Kathleen Martin

Kathleen Martin, MD, strives to provide a culture of quality care.

Dr. Martin remembers nuns at her Catholic school taking her under their wings after her father died. They would often tell her, “you should be a doctor when you grow up.”

“Becoming a doctor was ingrained in me when I was a little girl,” said Dr. Martin, now a gastroenterologist with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group.

While she considered engineering, her love for biology pulled her into medicine.

When Saint Joseph East was looking for a gastroenterologist several years ago, Dr. Martin contacted Laurie Haas, MD, about opening a practice. They approached the administration with the idea and eventually opened a practice on that campus.

While medicine is a serious business, Dr. Martin believes it is important to lighten situations. In addition to asking about medical problems, she said it is vital to open with an icebreaker question to calm people down when they are getting a procedure done.

“It’s so affirming to find that, just by listening to people and trying to understand what their challenges are, I can really make a difference in their lives,” she said.

That attitude extends to other team members, and Dr. Martin credits a range of colleagues at Saint Joseph Eat — surgeons, nurses and radiologists, to name a few — as key to the ministry of care she strives to provide.

“It’s a culture of, if somebody is sick, we’re going to take care of them,” she said. “We’re going to do it efficiently, skillfully and with a pleasant attitude. It really makes my job rewarding when I have good people I can depend on to help treat patients well.”

While Dr. Martin says being a physician means she’s almost always on call, if she weren’t, “I wouldn’t get the satisfaction of knowing I’m taking good care of people.”

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.

Circulation station

man walking dog

Staying active can keep your blood flowing properly.

A sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain and conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, but did you know it can also lead to problems with blood circulation?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) affect the way blood flows through your body. Complications from PAD and DVT can reduce the amount of oxygen your muscles receive and can also result in dangerous blood clots.

You can prevent the development of PAD and DVT, however, with simple lifestyle changes and advice from your primary care provider.

Go With the Flow

PAD occurs when plaque builds up in your peripheral arteries, which move blood and oxygen from your heart to your limbs. This plaque can narrow your arteries and interfere with blood flow. Pain and cramps, particularly in your legs, are symptoms of PAD.

Watch the video below to hear Moses Kim, MD, vascular surgeon with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Surgery, explain the symptoms that can arise from disease in the leg arteries.

“Lifestyle is the biggest contributing factor to PAD,” said Nick Abedi, MD, regional medical director and general and vascular surgeon at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. “Poor dietary habits can lead to plaque buildup early in life, and other risk factors, such as tobacco use, can also lead to accelerated plaque buildup.”

These same risk factors also contribute to DVT, which is a blood clot that forms within a vein and is often the result of an extended hospital stay or long trips on airplanes and in cars – circumstances that restrict movement. Varicose veins can also raise your risk for DVT, but they are easily treated with an outpatient procedure.

“Movement helps circulate blood in the veins,” Dr. Abedi said. “When people aren’t active, they have an increased risk for developing blood clot to their legs. If a a clot moves upward, it can become lodged in the lung, a potentially deadly condition known as a pulmonary embolism.”

The most common symptoms of DVT are pain and swelling in the arms or legs. You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice these symptoms.

Get Moving

woman riding bike in park

Though DVT requires medical treatment with blood thinners to dissolve the clot, surgical treatment to remove it or an implant to hold it in place, treatments for PAD are usually unsuccessful without long-term lifestyle changes.

“Diabetes management and tobacco abstinence need to happen before medical intervention,” Dr. Abedi said. “We like our patients to do 30 minutes of intentional walking every day to start their exercise regimen.”

Exercising, avoiding tobacco and eating a balanced diet that is low in fat and sodium can help reduce your risk of PAD.

Minor PAD symptoms cannot be permanently resolved without a heart-healthy lifestyle, and advanced symptoms, such as ulcers or infections, may require urgent or emergency treatment.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.

A familiar face in our halls

Jill Clark, RN, with Flaget Memorial Hospital, Lisa Smith, RN, with Saint Joseph Hospital, Todd Linley, a volunteer with Saint Joseph Hospital, and Norris "Chip" Hollon, PharmD, a pharmacist with Saint Joseph Hospital

Lisa Smith, RN, was working with patients as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at the hospital in Corbin when it hit her: “I thought right then and there, ‘this is what I should be doing.'”

Lincoln Memorial University began offering a CNA to RN program at the hospital, so Smith followed her heart down the path leading her to nursing. She moved to Lexington soon after finishing nursing school, but something felt off.

“I was a little bit disheartened when I came out of nursing school,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if it was me or the environment, but something wasn’t right.”

That changed the minute she came into Saint Joseph Hospital, she said. “It was a different world – the warmth, the compassion – everybody made me feel like I was already a part of it. That was a totally different feeling from what I had in my previous position.”

That was 24 years ago. Smith has worked on the floors, with cardiology patients and in the emergency room at Saint Joseph Hospital. Today, she is a medical/surgical float nurse, which gives her the opportunity to work in many different areas of the hospital and learn more about nursing care.

“I never thought that after 24 years in nursing I’d be able to continue to learn, but there is still so much to learn out there,” Smith said.

And Saint Joseph Hospital is where she wants to do just that. She has many friends who are part of the nursing team and have also been there a long time.

“Walking the halls, people know your name, you know their names,” she said. “The atmosphere is totally different than any other hospital. And it’s not a small hospital; we’re pretty big. To be able to have that still is pretty amazing.”

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.

Laying the foundation for a successful joint replacement

portrait of cyclist

After letting joint pain keep you from the activities you love, you consult with your orthopedic surgeon and decide to have joint replacement surgery. Now it’s time to get ready.

Preparing for a knee or hip replacement in the weeks and months before surgery can go a long way toward determining the speed of your recovery and overall success of the procedure. Here’s a look at some of the steps you can take.

Improve Your Health

You want to be as healthy as possible by the time your surgery day arrives, so work with your primary care physician and others to manage chronic conditions, especially diabetes.

selecting produce at the grocery store

Stable blood sugar levels can help prevent postoperative infections, according to Liz Lyons, RN, orthopedic nurse navigator at Saint Joseph Hospital. Smokers are more likely to experience poor wound healing and other complications after surgery, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, so if you smoke, kick the habit.

Lean in to Prehab

Ask your surgeon if prehabilitation – an exercise or physical therapy program that takes place prior to surgery – is appropriate for you. The fitter and stronger you are before joint replacement, the easier recovery is likely to be. Prehab can help patients have shorter hospital stays and courses outpatient rehabilitation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Make Your Home Recovery Friendly

“When patients return home, safety comes first,” said Tammy Fugate, RN, orthopedic nurse navigator at Saint Joseph East. “Before surgery, it’s important to remove area rugs, which can be tripping hazards, install benches and handrails in the shower and bathroom, and ensure walkways throughout the home are clear and well-lit. Have gates or create on hand to keep pets from getting underfoot.”

Visit the Provider Directory to find an orthopedic surgeon who can tell you about nonsurgical ways to relieve joint pain or help you decide if joint replacement surgery is right for you.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.

Group – It’s a good thing

Cindi Gardner

The first time Cindi Gardner walked into the Rosie Ring, she felt comfortable.

“We share. People listen. We get understanding without those sad looks we get from people who haven’t experienced cancer. I don’t feel the stigma of cancer – we all have it or are recovering from it,” she said in a recent testimonial. “It isn’t the dirty word or the elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge. I don’t have to reveal that I have cancer – that’s why I’m there!”

About Rosie Ring

Rosie Ring is a networking and support group for women facing breast cancer offered through CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center at Saint Joseph East. Since 2013, women in the group have been gathering to discuss everything from the side effects of medicine to coping strategies to quality of life.

“It’s a great combination of incredible women, a social worker who gets it and is open to whatever topic comes up, and a place I can go where I don’t feel like the sick one,” she said in a recent testimonial. “I DON’T FEEL LIKE THE SICK ONE.”

Support Activities and Tools

The group meets for different activities that expose them to tools they can use while coping with their diagnosis, treatment and fear of reoccurrence, according to Stacy Florence, MSW, CSW, OSW-C, manager of Business Operations, Oncology Services.

cindi attending rosie ring support group

“Group has been where I’ve learned so much – about treatment, recovery, resources, coping strategies, … Oh my! I realize physicians can’t give me a list of every possible side effect, information about alternative treatments, or share personal stories of patients,” Cindi said. “I’m amongst a group of women – intelligent, proactive women – who have educated themselves about self-care and cancer and are willing to share. I can show up at Group and ask, ‘Has anyone????’ and most likely someone has and is willing to talk about it.”

The women do yoga. They take cooking classes. They’ve done a drum circle. They’ve focused on things such as combatting fatigue, physical therapy, eating well, medication management and advance care planning.

“Our activities and outings – from meditation, restorative yoga, dog kennels – are a great combination of fun, distraction, and still with that common bond of cancer” Cindi said. “If someone needs to take it slow, no one complains. Good news/results, not so good news/results – it’s all OK. Bald heads, compression stockings, lopsided chests – it’s all OK.”

For Cindi, it’s more than the group meetings. She’s made new friends, who often check in with her and they meet regularly for lunch. That includes a special friend “who lets me whine and complain about the side effects of the aromatase inhibitor I am taking. She also deals with the same issues, and we support each other through emails, dinners, and texts. She is a huge support – which shows that Group extends outside of our scheduled gatherings.

“There is just something about the Rosie Ring that is special. I can’t quite put my finger on it and put it succinctly. I just know it works,” she said. “We are a group of women going through treatment and recovering from treatment – living with that shadow of recurrence that no one else quite gets.

“Group – it’s a good thing.”

Learn more about Rosie Ring and other Cancer Care support groups at Saint Joseph East.

Maggie’s Light

maggie's light

Emily and Kevin Turner turned the grief that swept over them as they held their lifeless newborn daughter into a mission to help others facing the devastating loss of a child and to honor the memory of their stillborn daughter, Magdelena (Maggie).

“Maggie changed my mission in life, to help guide others, to help others learn to walk with grief,” Emily said.

The couple started Maggie’s Light, a nonprofit that raises funds for bereavement kits that include comforting books, a handmade blanket, journals and more for families who have lost a child. They recently donated bereavement kits and a cuddle cot for stillborn babies to Saint Joseph East through the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. The cuddle cots are valued at $3,000 each.

Debbie Gibbons, RN, a labor and delivery nurse at Saint Joseph East, runs the hospital’s bereavement program, which she started in 1999.

No other Lexington hospital has a bereavement program as extensive as Saint Joseph East, Gibbons said. They offer a prayer service and burial for miscarried babies every other month at Calvary Cemetery. Since the service began in 2015, more than 500 remains have been buried. They also offer palliative care to families who have received a diagnosis that is life limiting to their baby.

“Emily has been able to take that pain, that sadness and really keep moving forward with it,” Gibbons said. “Not everybody is able to do that. It takes a special person.”

Emily said her faith in God helped her through her pain, and she shares that with others who are in similar situations. In addition to Maggie, who would be 5 this year, Emily and her husband have three kids, Vaughn, 16, Morgan, 4, and Isaiah, 3.

“If I have a mom who is struggling a bit, I can connect her to Emily and Emily will be able to talk with her and offer encouragement,” Gibbons said.

Maggie’s Light is now raising money to make more bereavement kits available at every CHI Saint Joseph Health hospital. She hopes to provide these kits next to the Birthing Center at Saint Joseph London.

How to dine out successfully when trying to lose weight

group enjoying lunch in restaurant

It’s no secret that when you’re trying to lose weight or make healthier food choices, dining out can cause its fair share of temptations. From portion sizes to added ingredients, dessert options and peer pressure, it can be tough to navigate the dining experience and still feel in control.

The journey to healthier eating, however, doesn’t mean you have to forego an evening with friends or miss out on the new restaurant everyone is talking about. Instead, a little bit of planning and understanding common food traps can help you feel satisfied and still on track to reach your goal.

Below are a few tips to help you dine out successfully.

Dining Out Tips

First and foremost, don’t feel pressured to eat like everyone else. Other diners may order larger portions or unhealthy meals – don’t let that deter you or make you feel bad for choosing to eat healthy. Also, consider substituting side dishes. Instead of ordering the customary French fries or mashed potatoes with your meal, ask for a salad or steamed vegetables. Most restaurants offer these substitutions at no (or very little) additional cost.

A salad can be a great option, but sometimes the dressings and other sauces can turn a healthy meal into a not-so-healthy meal. When dining out, ask for these on the side. That way you can control the amount you consume or find a lighter alternative.

It’s also important to know how your food is prepared, and avoid foods that are fried. Choose dishes that are:

  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Roasted
  • Steamed
  • Stir-fried
  • Poached

These preparations are typically healthier options; and if the menu isn’t clear, ask your server how the dish is prepared before you order. Some menus also offer a “light” menu section.

healthy meal with grilled chicken

Consider that most restaurant portions are two to three times what a serving should be and that many times when we receive a full portion, we’re tempted to clean our plate. One way to help stop that temptation is to order a smaller portion. If that’s not an option, ask for a to-go container at the beginning of the meal and put half of the meal away for later. Out of sight. Out of mind.

Finally, if you want to order an adult beverage, try a glass of red wine as a lower-calorie alternative to heavy beers and mixed drinks.

Conclusion

If you enjoy eating out, don’t let your weight loss goals keep you from enjoying that experience. There are different steps you can take to help you order from the menu with confidence, knowing that you’re still on track! Substituting side dishes, asking for lighter options and assessing portion sizes, are just a few ways you can dine out successfully.


By CHI Saint Joseph Health – Weight Loss & Surgery Associates

Find more weight loss articles like this one. If you’ve been considering weight loss surgery and would like to learn more about the options available and if it’s right for you, join us for one of our free weight loss surgery seminars.

Cancer treatment close to home for Bardstown resident

twyman clements of bardstown, ky

Twyman Clements of Bardstown had just graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2009. He was beginning to plan the next steps in his career when a regular physical for his Type I diabetes changed his world.

At age 22, Twyman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer which they’d worried had metastasized. Doctors told him that if they hadn’t caught it, he would have been dead before the end of the year.

Immediately, he began treatment at Flaget Memorial Hospital. The cancer center had not yet been built, so he took his chemotherapy inside the main hospital.

“I was thinking I was going to die,” said Twyman, who is now CEO, President and Co-Founder of Space Tango, a Lexington-based company which manufactures high value products in microgravity via the International Space Station.

When you’re wrestling with life and death, Twyman said, you don’t want to have to worry about incremental stresses like traveling away from home.

Having the comfort of being in Bardstown, where his mom knew the nurses and the drive home was 15 minutes at most was a relief, he said.

For more inspiring stories of hope or to learn more about Project Hope and how you can get involved, visit Flaget Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Dr. Smotherman’s story of hope

Dr. Robert Smotherman

In August 2017, Dr. Robert Smotherman and his wife Janice were eating breakfast when Dr. Smotherman realized something was wrong.

He was starving, but he wasn’t able to swallow the food. Each bite was getting stuck in his throat.

Worried, Dr. Smotherman, a retired Bardstown City Schools Superintendent, made an appointment with his friend Dr. Mickey Anderson, a surgeon at Flaget Memorial Hospital. That appointment included a scope that revealed a tumor in Dr. Smotherman’s esophagus.

That day was the start of more than a year of cancer treatment and surgery. Dr. and Mrs. Smotherman and their four kids met with Dr. Kristie Paris and Dr. Monte Martin at the CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center at Flaget Memorial Hospital, and they walked away confident in his treatment plan.

“They were all so supportive,” Mrs. Smotherman remembers.

Dr. Smotherman received five chemotherapy treatments and 25 radiation treatments. That was capped off with a nine-hour surgery in February 2018 to remove what remained of the tumor.

Dr. Smotherman is now cancer-free and is recovering from a whirlwind year and a half. He said he can’t say enough about the care he received at Flaget Memorial Hospital. Dr. Paris would bring him protein packs and other foods to help him stay nourished. The nurses would encourage him, and celebrated with big cheers and gifts when he finished his treatment.

“I have no regrets about choosing Flaget,” Dr. Smotherman said. “They were great.”

Eight simple tricks to mindful eating

Eating is such a significant part of our daily lives, yet it’s so easy to get disconnected from it. One moment our plates are full, and the next moment, they’re empty and we’ve hardly tasted or enjoyed one bite.

Practicing mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, plus insight into the roots of health and contentment. So what is mindful eating and how can we achieve it?

Below we explore what it means to eat more mindfully and steps you can take to help focus on your food.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is having awareness of physical and psychological sensations associated with eating, which includes:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities available through food preparation and eating by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
  • Learning to be aware of physical hunger and fullness cues to guide your decisions to begin eating and to stop eating.
  • Acknowledging responses to food without judgment – Someone who eats mindfully acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.

Tips to Eat More Mindfully

  1. Chew 25 times: There is reliable scientific data that extra chewing results in less overall food intake.
  2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand: Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to what you’re doing. Start slow by just doing it for breakfast and snacks.
  3. Put your fork down between each bite: This is an excellent complement to the chewing habit. Setting your fork down forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite.
  4. Tune in: Take your first bite with your eyes closed and tune into the sound of the bite and swallowing. This will help you to slow down as you consume your meals.
  5. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal: This is a great way to focus on the present moment.
  6. Put your food on a plate: This may sound obvious, but eating out of a bag is not practicing mindful eating. Get in the habit of placing small snacks on a plate before you eat them. This forces you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.
  7. Sit at a table: This formalizes a dining experience, helping you draw attention to your food and eating habits.
  8. Eat in silence: Put away your phone and turn off the TV. Eat distraction free so that you can focus on the taste and smells of your meal.

By CHI Saint Joseph Health Weight Loss & Surgery Associates